I'm excited to try out a thermal cooker

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/16/im-excited-to-try-out-a-ther.html


We received this as a present a while back. It’s not great for slow cooking (you are better off with an actual slow cooker and/or a rice cooker) and can imagine it would be a pain for camping. What it IS great for is for bringing hot food to potluck dinners, chili cook-offs, etc. and have it remain piping hot for hours.

Ours did come with a little cookbook in Chinese and English with some extremely strange recipes for things like sea cucumber stew. The strangest though were for what was labelled as “Western Style Food”. Must be what people in China feel like when they encounter American Chinese food.


A ‘thermal cooker’. You mean, like a stove and a pot.


As opposed to a… non… thermal cooker?


This one is just an insulated container for your pot after you get past the stove portion.

So more of a heat retention device for extended cooking times after removal from thermal heating elements.

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It’s hearing that someone is excited to try out a thermal cooker that makes me feel young.


Leia ~ "50,000 no less."
C3PO ~ “The mighty Jabba asks why he should pay 50,000.”
[Leia takes out the thermal cooker]
C3PO: “Because he’s holding a thermal cooker!”
[Jabba laughs]
Jabba ~ “This bounty camper is my kind of scum, fearless and inventive.”


I’d say that the existence of ceviche(which exhibits protein denaturing very similar in effect to that achieved thermally; but produced chemically at room temperature) suggests that non-thermal cookers aren’t as transparently preposterous as ‘non-hertzian frequencies’; but I’ll admit to a very similar reaction. Even things like microwaves are indirectly thermal in their cookery.


I feel like it’s going for “Thermos,” but it can’t actually say “Thermos” because that’s trademarked.


So it cooks with temperature?


Mmmm, delicious salmonella!

Thermal cooking? You know you can just use strong acid or straight lye, right? You don’t have to mess about with all that dangerous thermodynamics type tomfoolery.


Wait? Aren’t all cookers thermal?

I will use this as a PSA opportunity. Lime/lemon juice and sun don’t mix. If you get the juice on you and then spend time in the sun you could get some very serious chemical like burns. My uncle ended up hospitalized after making ceviche barehanded out on a boat – and then spending the rest of the day on said boat.

Link: http://www.today.com/health/limeburn-citrus-sun-leads-nasty-rash-t38686


Please post scans or photos of this “Western Style Food” section!


Exothermal or endothermal?

Cool! It’s a modern haybox cooker.

Being obvious about it, but preheating the pot before adding food and keeping the pot in an insulated, cosy container (bubblewrap if you’re cheap, some of that lovely foil-cored thermal fleece stuff they make oven mitts from if you’re not) will make it pretty efficient at keeping food at a safe temperature. Might even come with one.

Phillipino style stews (as that’s what I’ve been cooking at home recently!) would work well. I reckon Pork Mechado or Chicken Afritada would be winners.


Always fun to see comments by folks who don’t have a clue about the topic. Thermal cookers that use retained heat of many sorts have been used for thousands of years around the world. Current versions are a great convenience as well as a way to reduce cooking fuel consumption. Well respected brands like Thermos Shuttle Chef and TigerPot are vacuum insulated and work very well- just search those names for examples and recipes. Other brands like the one in the original article generally use foam rather than a vacuum for insulation and may work but not hold the heat as well.

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I remember reading about this type of cooking in an old copy of The Mother Earth News magazine from the Seventies.

The article described bringing the contents of the pot to a boil, covering it with a tight-fitting lid, and placing the covered pot into a thickly blanket-lined cardboard or wooden box, folding the blankets over the top of the pot, and then putting a lid on the box or closing its flaps.

Do whatever you can to prevent or slow down heat loss and let it sit for a couple of hours, hopefully slow-cooking the meal the rest of the way.

It’s supposedly a pioneer (and older) kind of thing and was supposed to be a way to cook meals using less fuel, like proper stir-frying is supposed to do.