A Year of Research

by BC
(St. Louis, MO)

It was a dark and stormy night…when I discovered solar ovens.
I am uncertain how I was brought to this new concept. Was I browsing book titles in the online catalog of my local library, as I am wont to do? Was I perusing websites of bloggers committed to helping me survive an earthquake/solar flare/EMP blast? Was I trying to determine my family’s odds of making it through an economic collapse? Was I trolling around prepper sites, getting ideas for surviving the surely forthcoming zombie apocalypse?
I honestly can’t remember; that was nearly a year ago!

Yes, folks, I have been researching and learning more about solar ovens for a year before my initial purchase. I move i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-y slowly when it comes to making decisions.

First, I checked out some books about solar cooking (with recipes!) from my local library. These enabled me to see that I could be a solar cooker, too! Doesn’t look too hard. Next, to find the perfect oven…

A tricky thing, perfection. As much as I want it to, it doesn’t exist here on earth. Even my husband—bless his blue-eyed heart—who is the most perfection-seeking person I know, can’t reach this pinnacle.
Case in point: Even in marrying me, he had to settle for a little less than perfection. What can I say? I have a temper. So, that oven will need to withstand a lot! I don’t believe any oven could fully meet my standards (even if I build it myself), but I can get close—much like hubby did with me! I’ve narrowed down the field of contenders to two ovens: the American Sun Oven, and the SunFlair.

I like the SunFlair because it is less expensive and because it folds down to a very compact and easily transportable size. Perfect for camping! Not that I do camp, but should I decide to take it up, this would be a great idea for cooking meals while hiking or napping or running from black bears. A couple of cons are that it doesn’t seem very sturdy in windy weather, and the thought of all that plastic off-gassing phthalates into my food makes me cringe.

I also like the Sun Oven because it seems very sturdy and large and the construction seems to be devoid of anything that could off-gas or be potentially toxic. I appreciate that I can put all of the items--entrée, side dish, and dessert—into it and have everything come out cooked and perfect (!) at the same time! My slow cooker doesn’t do that! To have the same items at one meal, I’d have to fire up my slow cooker, range burners, and oven to achieve the same results. The downsides are that the Sun Oven is expensive and bulky to store.

After a year of debating with myself, researching, and just ruminating about the possibilities of solar cooking in general, I’ve made the decision to purchase. The only problem is that now that I’ve discussed it with my husband, HE wants to research them for the perfect oven, too! Maybe we’ll have our final decision by Christmas. And hopefully the zombie apocalypse won’t happen in the meantime.

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