I’ve been counting down to the Winter Solstice at my blog since Nov. 25th with other romance authors--mostly because I’ve been caught up in writing a post-apocalyptic series. So, Winter Solstice is around the corner, translating into: what did those Pre-Columbians think? Are you ready to survive and thrive because the world is supposed to end? Well, I’ve been working with some fellow authors to ensure readers have something to read (paperbacks) when hiding out after whatever ends the world as we know it on the 21st. Not that the world will end, more like if it ends…So, I thought I’d share some of that life-saving information and some stocking stuffers! And what’s better than a Christmas gift of knowledge?
ARE YOU READY?: KITCHEN MAGIC-INSIDE & OUTSIDE
So, I'm from the Houston area and suffer from hurricanes often. It's one of those interesting situations where you get the heck out of Dodge early or you dig in and wait--using the BBQ pit for days. Hurricanes rarely relocate your large cast-iron pit. And if you're a local, you know to keep lighter fluid, charcoal, and matches on hand because...I remember eating what we called Dog Food (canned hamburger hash) after heating it up on the pit after Hurricane Alisha. I'm not into slimy baked beans or standard pork 'n beans. It's a slime thing for me. I do eat Ranch Style Beans, refried beans, and the standard beans--kidney beans, pintos, chick peas, butter beans, and field peas. Variety makes life nice, even when the lights are out 3-7 days. So, hurry. Go buy plenty of canned beans to stock that variety in your pantry. Besides, who wants to hydrate and cook dried beans just to eat them? ***I have used a solar oven to cook dried beans. It's AMAZING. Everyone needs a solar oven. OMG, its initial cost is all you pay for the contraption, and you don't heat your house up while cooking. Let me see, I baked cornbread, cooked rice, shrimp, sausage, stewed vegetables, etc. But hydrating beans requires water. When you're in an emergency situation, you need to save your water for drinking. UNLESS...
Dry vs. Canned Beans:
There is one exception to keeping dry beans on hand: bean sprouts. Bean sprouts are the Prepper's salad and produce section at home. You will need quite a few bags of these little magic beans to turn your windowsill into a garden. I even sprouted popcorn. Not microwave popcorn. I used the seed for use in a hot-air popcorn popper. The only things you should never sprout are tomato seeds and potato seed (the eyes of potatoes). Both are poisonous. So, you might need a bean sprouter lid to make things easier.
Using a Solar Oven:
Now, that said, if you have enough water and can soak your beans through the night, you will be amazed at how they cook in the solar oven with the greenhouse effect. I highly recommend solar ovens. They were invented in the 70s and have been in use around the world in countries where firewood is one of those rare precious things. You know, to cut the tree down or not to cut the tree down...Aye, there' the rub.
So, I bought a S.O.S oven just because I write futuristic (post-apocalyptic) romance and the scientist in me had to try using one. If you buy the S.O.S oven, everything you need comes with it, including a cookbook, two dark pans with lids, an oven thermometer, and a water purification thermometer. I haven't tried boiling water to kill what could be in it yet. But one day...The thing to remember is that a solar oven is like a crock pot. It can heat up fast and cook at up to 400 degrees F. I saw my oven's internal temperature rise to 350 degrees numerous times when I used the reflectors to elevate the heat inside the oven. So you will want to be certain you buy a quality oven with all the parts (and reflectors) to ensure your oven lasts.
A trick for using Solar Ovens:
If a sudden cloud burst sweeps in, you can use a medieval trick. You need an old insulated box (for us 21st-century folk, use an ice chest) packed with an old comforter, towels, or blanket. You want to be able to quickly transfer your unopened covered pot from the oven into the next of cloth and cover with more cloth then close the ice chest. This maintains the inner temperature of the covered pot. And the food will continue to boil/cook!!!
SKHYE'S CONTEST: DO OR DIE
. I’m also giving away a $25 Kindle gift certificate to that lucky person. You can also pop over to my blog to get in on the rest of the madness (ending the 21st).
About the Author: Aside from muscled men in fur, leather, denim, or kilts, I love cultural ecology, cultural evolution, cultural relativism, and natural processes. Big ideas. Simple concepts that manifest in world building to crazy people like me who studied anthropology and geology before turning to writing romantic fiction. My rule of thumb is to love the good, the bad, and the ugly of every culture in my tales so every aspect of my stories resonates as real as possible.