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Cooker for Workshop

 
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Bill Bradley



Joined: 26 Nov 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Springfield MA USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:40 pm    Post subject: Cooker for Workshop Reply with quote

We are leading a cooker building workshop that consists of two two hour sessions. The question that I would like the groups opinion on is: What is the best cooker to build? There are 12 people signed up for the workshop.

I generally like to build cookers out of more durable materials, but for this workshop we will be using cardboard and aluminum foil. We have built several simple cookers including Teong Tan's Sunny Cooker and Fun Panel, the CooKit, a modified Pravati/DATS cooker, and a modified version of the AIT cooker that was featured in the latest Solar Cooking Review. We built the tried and true CooKits at a previous cooker building workshop, but some of the newer cookers appear to be more effective cookers. Later we will do some instrumented tests comparing the different cookers but will not have time to do these tests before the upcoming workshop. Has anyone done comparison cooking tests with these cookers? We have our own EB cookers www.earthboundtech.com that are very efficient cookers, but since they require a stand we did not consider them for this workshop.

We think that the Pravati/DATS cooker probably is the most effective of these cookers, but we are not sure that everyone could finish one in the allotted time and a panel cooker where the pot sits firmly on a flat surface may be better for beginners. At the moment, we are leaning toward the AIT cooker with some modifications we have made to make it more efficient, but are open to other suggestions
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Moe



Joined: 04 Oct 2008
Posts: 1
Location: 40º N

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is/are the purpose(s) of this workshop?

What is the mathematical and scientific education and experience of your audience?

More importantly, why did they sign up? What do THEY expect to get out of the workshop?

You have experience using the CooKit in a previous workshop. Describe for us that audience, and the pros and cons of using that cooker for that audience.

How is this workshop different and why is the CooKit not suitable for this one? "some of the newer cookers appear to be more effective cookers" seems to be just academic greener grass chasing.

I can understand not wanting to use the CooKit if the same people who attended your last workshop are signed up for this one. In that case, they probably expect to graduate to a box cooker like Heavens Flame in this workshop.

Those are my recommendations for short workshops... CooKit for introductory/panel cooker workshop and Heavens Flame for intermediate/box cooker workshop. You might want to go to more permanent cookers in longer (weekend long) workshops.
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Brit from Norway



Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 17
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you have chosen good cookers for the workshop. You might also try a ROB (reflective open box). They are a little less effective than the Parvati, and they need turning fairly often, but they are by far the most easy to build, and they work well when you are as far from Equator as 42 degrees.
I wish you good luck with the workshop!
regards
Brit from Norway
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Bill Bradley



Joined: 26 Nov 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Springfield MA USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:10 am    Post subject: Cooker Workshop Reply with quote

This is in response to some of Moe's questions. The workshop is for beginners in solar cooking. Most of the participants are seniors.

I have seen too many cooker building workshops where the participants build a cooker that does not work very well and hence they get discouraged. That is why we are always looking for simple cokers that are easy to build but that cook quite well. The cookit is a good basic coooker and I have used mine to cook many meals. However, if we can find a cooker that is more effective (cooks faster) and is not much harder to build, it may be a better choice for beginners.
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SharonID



Joined: 24 Jun 2007
Posts: 74
Location: northern Idaho

PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Cooker Workshop Reply with quote

Bill Bradley wrote:
This is in response to some of Moe's questions. The workshop is for beginners in solar cooking. Most of the participants are seniors.


If most are seniors, they probably mostly live alone or as couples, so the EZ-3 might be a very good cooker to build. It only cooks up to about a quart of food (though with the right pot and getting out early in good sun it can reach to 6 cups of some foods), but it does it very, very well and is so easy to use, and with two or three of them a couple can make a nice, complete meal (cornbread, stew, and a brownie, for example). The triangular shape gives it a nice, sharp shadow in terms using the shadow to aim it. You do need a 3-4 cup (.75-1L) backpacker pot (many of the ones made today are already black inside and out, requiring only the top of the lid to be painted) if you want to use it for baking (it will do cake, cornbread, yeast bread, a fat chocolate chip cookie or muffin, brownies, a great little scone, and more), but for soups, stews, fruit, veggies, etc., pint and quart cooking jars work very well. The EZ-3 can even be used to heat commercial prepared foods, such as soup and chili, right in the cans—just vent the can by opening slightly and slide it into a thin, black, cotton-blend sock. Foods and skies vary, but with the exterior booster in place and getting food out reasonably early, most cooked-from scratch foods are done in 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours, and prepared foods or reheated leftovers can be hot enough for palatability in less time than that. The book isn't out yet, but there is enough info on the web page so that anyone who has at least some experience making cardboard cookers can figure it out. http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/EZ-3_Solar_Cooker

Bill Bradley wrote:
I have seen too many cooker building workshops where the participants build a cooker that does not work very well and hence they get discouraged. That is why we are always looking for simple cokers that are easy to build but that cook quite well. The cookit is a good basic coooker and I have used mine to cook many meals. However, if we can find a cooker that is more effective (cooks faster) and is not much harder to build, it may be a better choice for beginners.


Well, the EZ-3 is very easy to build (short form directions—cut out box corner the right size, foil, make simple exterior booster panel) and within its capacity parameters is very efficient. I've nested two to improve the insulation and double-bagged them and cooked in January in the snow with ambient temperatures in the 20s, and the double EZ-3 held at 225F for over four hours. So check it out. For kids, singles, and couples, the EZ-3 is an excellent workshop choice, and even larger families will find it useful for foods they want to cook in small amounts (including special diet foods needed by one person in the family).

There are already some EZ-3 scaled recipes in the Recipes section (including solar coffee and Solar Project Soup), but if you decide to go for it for a workshop, drop me an email and I'll send you a few more recipes from the upcoming book.

Regards,
SharonID
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Bill Bradley



Joined: 26 Nov 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Springfield MA USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sharon,
I checked out your EZ-3 cooker and will probably build and test one when I have time. I have built a ROB cooker that is simalar to the EZ-3 except that the pot rather than the whole cooker is put in the oven bag.

For now, we decided to stick with the CooKit and the Parvati. The first two hour session of my cooker building workshop was today and we have five CooKits and two 0.8 Meter (31.5 inch) Parvatis under construction.

Bill Bradley
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