It has been a long time since we talked about one of my wife’s favorite cooking tools and that is her wonder ovens or thermal cookers. She has several and loves them. It is something that you can make at home that will save you fuel in an emergency and can even be used as a cooler.
I have written several blogs on the subject of wonder ovens, but keep returning to the subject because they are so useful in an emergency. The food is heated over a fire or other heat source, and then when it has reached a sufficient temperature, you take the food off the heat and place it in one of the Wonder Ovens. From here, it requires no additional fuel or heat source.
Because the oven uses the retained heat, it can’t burn the food and because it is contained in a plastic tub, it holds in cooking odors when the lid is in place. This helps you keep secret the fact that you are cooking food. The same heat retention device that does the cooking can be used as a cooler. My wife uses ours all the time, especially in the summer. She will heat a pot roast or stew and then place it in the Wonder Oven. This shortens the time on the stove, save fuel and does not heat up the kitchen.
When we go camping, she puts a meal in the Wonder Oven and takes it with us. When we get to our destination, we have a hot cooked meal all ready.
A wonder oven is simple an insulated box into which you insert the already heated food and it continues to cook with the retained heat. We made our Wonder Box out of two large cushions placed in a 20-gallon plastic tub with a lid. There is a top and a bottom cushion, filled with beanbag filler. You can use also shredded foam, shipping popcorn, Styrofoam or wood chips. With wood chips, you will have to empty the cushion before washing. Here is a link to instructions on how to make one for yourself. WONDER BOX OVEN/COOKER.
The history of these cookers is long they were used as long ago as the 1700s, when they were called hay boxes. Once you understand the principal they can be improvised from a variety of items, such as blankets, hay, carpeting or anything else that provides insulation.
Here are some additional links to prior posts that I have written on this subject. Fireless Cooking, also Known as the Wonder Box The Wonderful Wonder Oven/box Cooking with a Wonder Box WONDER BOX COOKER, A MUST HAVE!!