Wednesday, August 19, 2009

wishful Wednesday - outdoor cookery

Back when I lived in Olympia, just before I moved here, I was renting a room from my friends Beth and Karen. One day when I was walking around the neighborhood, I found a nice, well designed, old-style, Weber kettle barbecue out on the curb with a sign that said FREE. I though this would be a good thing to salvage, even though B&K already had a similar barbecue, this one would be mine, and if we all wanted to have a BIG party we could...

When I moved here to Acorn Cottage, I mostly moved things in my little station wagon Nimblefoot (now exanimate) with a bit of help from Maeve and her big truck. Somehow I forgot to move the barbecue that winter, and when I remembered, when the weather warmed up again, my former housemates had gotten rid of it. Sigh. Since Acorn Cottage has no fireplace, it would be useful to have a way to cook food outdoors, either for fun, or if needed in an emergency. I do have a little backpack camping stove, but it takes disposable butane canisters, and is, well, tiny.

I already own a Kelly Kettle, basically a tiny wood-fired hot water heater that burns twigs and suchlike. It heats up the contained water astonishingly quickly,which is great of hot drinks or washing dishes...

Several of my friends have made firepit type barbecues from large restaurant size woks, which is one option. I never see woks at the Goodwill or thrift stores any more, but I know that Portland has a number of used restaurant equipment stores. A tripod type framework is needed to stablise such a contraption - there is probably a reason that the folks I know that have this option are all folks with a blacksmith in the family (odd that I know so many smiths?)

A different option would be a small rocket stove, which could be placed at tabletop height on a suitable tiled base... I am fascinated by the high concept, and relatively low tech, of the rocket stove, and like the idea that it burns various sorts of organic easily salvaged fuel, and is very efficient. There is lots of information about rocket stoves online, and Aprovecho, down in Cottage Grove, has been researching and developing safe cleaner-burning stove technology for decades. They also sell readymade stoves, and the profits go to help fund their work around the world. I'm pretty temped by this option.

I'd eventually like to have a space outdoors, maybe outside the back door, maybe in the carport, where outdoor cooking could happen.

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