Solar cooking uses sunshine for cooking. We can cook
food without electricity, gas, firewood or any fuel that
costs money or needs to be gathered. Sunshine is free and
available to everybody in many parts of the world all year round.
The altiplano of Bolivia has ..... days of sunshine in a year
with clear skies.
A solar cooker or a solar oven
concentrates the solar energy and heat to focus it on a small
area. While solar powered cooking takes longer than
conventional cooking, the food tastes different, never gets burnt,
and does not need to be watched so it is possible to do other
chores while the sun is cooking the food. Solar powered
cooking does not pollute the atmosphere or generate carbon
dioxide gas that is generated by combustion.
In December 2000, Gral. Oscar
Escobar Quiroga was given a Solar Box Cooker. Enthusiastic
people who were new to solar cooking, but understood the theory
of operation, attended the first demonstration at his home.
They started by putting frozen meat, fresh vegetables, potatoes
and other food items in the pot. The day was overcast, not
really suitable for solar powered cooking, but when the box and
the pot were opened four hours later, everyone was impressed that
the meat was defrosted, and steam was rising from the pot.
After personally experimenting with different foods, and
developing different solar cooking recipes, he publicly
introduced the Solar Box Cooker
at the Totora Founder's Day celebaration Fair on June 24, 2001.
An explanation of the physics of solar cooking given to the town
Mayor, Commissioner, and the general public is shown in a video
clip. Enthusiastic people were interested in the theory of
operation, the capability, and the limitations of solar cooking
recipes and solar cooking devices. Since representatives of
different towns in the surrounding area attended the fair,
the Solar Box Cooker received widespread exposure to leaders who
further distribute the information to their communities.
The video clip shows Gral. Oscar Escobar Quiroga describing the
principle of operation, his success in cooking fish, different
kinds of squash, pumpkins, potatoes, meat and eggs; he mentioned
that the only thing it could not do was deep fried cooking, and
that things did not overcook.
The Bolivian Army provides
military training to the youth of the country who do not have the
chance to go for higher education. An important
purpose is to educate and provide technical skills training to
recruits and trainees. The practical skills taught can be
applied to serve the community and to help earn a living when the
trainees return to their home towns or villages. Such
skills include carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, and auto
mechanics. Through his ties with the Bolivian Army,
Gral. Escobar brought Solar Box Cookers to the attention of the
officers, who introduced it into the training curriculum of the
Army in Cochabamba. The curriculum included all aspects of
Solar Box Oven cooking, including the theory of operation,
construction, effective use, and further research in trying
out new designs. The training began with the 2001 May
session and was introduced to ....... trainees, who in turn will
introduce it to their families, friends, and townspeople by
actual application. Their enthusiasm and interest has
resulted in changes to the basic oven, and also to modifications
to use local material and improved performance, and the
development of new solar cooking devices and solar cooking
recipes. It is expected that training will be expanded to
other training camps of the Bolivian Army in the future.
The Solar Box Cooker is one
way of using sunshine to cook food. Information on this and
other solar cookers, and the history of solar cooking can be
found in The Solar Cooking Archive of Solar Cookers International