I received a thermal cooker for Christmas and was eager to give it a test drive. The concept is simple. The inner stainless steel pot is placed on the stove and is used in the traditional way. When the contents is fully heated the pot is removed from the stove and sealed up inside a slightly larger highly insulated container that retains the heat for many hours. Because the heat doesn’t escape the food continues to cook without any additional fuel. It’s completely passive and non-electric. It functions like a crock pot for slow cooked recipes like soups and stews that can be started then ignored until mealtime.
I had a group of friends coming over for dinner. Some were vegetarians so I made a sweet potato, chick pea, faro, and kale soup. Total hippy fare, but it wasn’t half bad especially after I added some coconut milk and red curry paste.
I spent about twenty minutes getting the eight liter batch up to a full boil and then closed it up. That was around 2 PM.
Later that night I went about setting the table, putting out bread, and making salad.
When I opened the lid at 8 PM the soup was fully cooked and piping hot. This method works just as well with braised meats, rice, and even certain baked goods like carrot cake or soft moist biscuits. I’ll be trying some of those next.
I’ve placed the thermal cooker in the same growing category as many other aspects of my life. It’s a practicle item to use on a regular basis and can be pressed in to service for camping trips or for transporting food to a pot luck, etc. But it has the added benefit of being particularly useful in emergency situations where fuel may be limited. It wouldn’t take much propane on an outdoor grill to cook a large meal. It could also be used on a wood stove for a short time and then free up the fire for heating water or baking bread. So two thumbs up for the thermal cooker.