Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to the problems of bugging in. In all reality, I think that the majority of us will end up bugging in. This will be the result of many factors, including age, family, lack of transportation and somewhere to go that is better than where you are. However bugging in comes with a whole host of problems, including cooking odors, and other indicators that you are better off than your neighbors.
The problem that I want to discuss today is cooking odors and how to minimize them. The smell of food cooking wafting through the neighborhood would quickly compromise you. Everyone would know that you have food. Unless it was cold out, even the smell of wood burning will cause your neighbors to ask questions.
Propane, canned fuel, and camp stoves will eventually run out. Eventually you will have to resort to firewood. The smoke then becomes hard to hide. Now for the purposes of this article I am assuming that you live in a urban residential area with relatively small lots.
First, have some food that can be eaten without being cooked for circumstances where you have to be extra cautious. Second have a Wonder Box or thermal retention cooker. Simply bring your food to a cooking temperature and place in the wonder oven. The plastic lid on the wonder oven helps keeps the odors down. If you cook large batches that are enough for a day or two this will reduce your chances of being found. Here are two posts on thermal cookers including the instructions on how to make them, WONDER BOX COOKER, A MUST HAVE!! WONDER BOX OVEN/COOKER.
A third option is a solar oven; they eliminate fuel and smoke odors. But be careful that what you cook doesn’t give off a lot of odor.
If you have a substantial amount of freeze-dried food, you just have to add water let it rehydrate then eat it. This can be done either hot or cold.
Foods like beans with onions and meat items give off stronger odor when cooking. Rice and grains without onions or strong seasonings product less odor while cooking.
If you are burning firewood and don’t want to draw attention, your wood should be as dry as possible to reduce smoke. Woods like, oak, beech, maple and the different types of birches will produce some smoke when added to the fire but will produce very little once they’ve come up to temperature.
Softwoods like pine will produce more smoke and will generate a much more detectable pungent smell.
If you have to cook outside consider the use of a Dakota fire hole. I will write a post on how to build and use one in a few days.