Beets and onions in my All-American Sun Oven
Even if you don’t have a wood stove, summer cooking in sweltering North Carolina really heats up the house, and then it takes extra energy to cool it back off to a tolerable temperature. That’s energy I neither want to fork over money for, nor want to pay the ecological consequences of using. When we built the house, we planned from the beginning to move cooking outside for the hot months (April-October). This is an historical adaptation. Many houses in the South had outside summer kitchens before the advent of air conditioning.
Also, we felt the resilience factor of heating and cooking with home-grown wood was important. But the budget was too tight to make the house big enough to accommodate both a wood cook stove and a regular stove/oven, and we couldn’t really afford duplicate appliances anyway. So we have no regular electric or gas stove.
For summer stir fries and breakfast eggs, I currently cook on the patio on a dual-fuel Coleman that has been with me since I lived in my truck, long before I was married and saddled with these beautiful kids. It burns about 5 gallons of gasoline per year. I have my eyes on some very compelling rocket stove options to utilize small-diameter wood (which our land produces in near infinite quantity), but I haven’t yet done extensive testing.
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