No Knead & No Oven Bread – cooked in a thermal cooker.

Dave Knowles  has posted a great No Knead bread recipe for the thermal cooker on his thethermalcook blog. You should take a look!

No Knead & No Oven Bread – cooked in a thermal cooker.

This recipe is adapted from the now famous no knead bread recipe developed by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, Manhattan.

It was first published in the New York Times in November 2006 and has become one of the most talked about recipe on the Internet.


  • 1½ cups of bread flour.
  • 1 to 1½ tsp of salt (depending on your taste).
  • ⅛ tsp of instant dried yeast.
  • 1 cup of tepid water.

You also will need a tin to bake the bread in that will fit into the inner pot of the thermal cooker. A round cake tin will do fine. This tin needs to be greased.


  1. Mix all the dried ingredients together in a bowl before mixing in the water. You don’t need to beat.
  2. Cover the bowl with cling film. Leave it in a warm place for around 12 hours.
  3. Sprinkle a good layer of flour onto a piece of parchment paper and flour your hands well before scooping the dough out of the bowl and putting it onto the parchment paper.
  4. Spread the dough out a bit and simply fold the dough sides over each other. Then fold the bottom to the top.
  5. Turn the dough over and shape it gently so it fits in the tin before placing it on a trivet in the inner pot and putting the lid on.
  6. Put the inner pot into the outer pot. Shut the lid and leave for 2 hours to rise again.
  7. After two hours remove the inner pot.
  8. Remove the tin from the inner pot and make sure it has risen before covering it with either recycled aluminium foil (Eco care or similar) or baking parchment paper. Remember to make a handle to lift it out once cooked.
  9. Put it back into the inner pot and fill with hot water to come ¾ up the side of the pan before putting on a heat source and bringing it to the boil.
  10. Once boiling turn down to a simmer for 20 minutes.
    Put the lid on the inner pot and put the pot into the outer pot for 2 hours.
  11. When cooked remove and turn out onto a rack to cool.

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Thermosrecipe: A super bowl recipe for your thermal cooker-


Written by kmcgra
Monday, 22 September 2008

Step into any Mexican Restaurant in the the Southwestern United States and you will find Green Chili on the menu.  My favorite are green chili burritos, and I decided to make these to chow down during the superbowl.  It was a great game, and my wife and I had great food.

We got ourselves a “thermal pot” shortly before Christmas, and I wanted to give a go at making green chili in the thermal pot. The cooking process for green chile calls for a long simmer to allow the meat to break down and become tender. Once it is tender then you can shred it with a pair of forks.

What better way to do tenderize the meat than in the thermal pot. Temperatures are kept just below boiling point for long periods of time during the cooking process.

The one thing I was concerned about was that the chili would come out with too much liquid. The pot seals tightly, and does not allow steam to escape. Thus, there is no chance for the liquid to boil down.  I like my chili to be a little on thick side. This concern turned out to be a valid one, but there is a simple work around. The overall cooking time in a thermal pot was a little longer, but I did use less energy than using the stove.

First, cut about about 3 pounds of pork into 1 or two inch cubes. I used a pork loin roast, with some of the fat trimmed off.  Place the meat in the inner pot, Pour in equal parts of chicken broth, water, and your favorite beer.  Yes, beer.  Put in just enough liquid to cover the meat.

Cubed pork in beer and spices

Cubed pork in beer and spices

A variet of spices were used in this batch of green chili

A variety of spices were used in this batch of green chili

I am serious about spices, and I use a wide variety in my chili.  I drop a little bit of each of the following:

A Bay leaf
Celery salt
A dash of powdered chicken bullion
Black pepper
Red pepper
Chili powder

Other ingredients you will need:
A can or bottle of your favorite beer
6 or 7 or 8 – 4oz. cans of green Chile peppers. 
Chopped cilantro
Chicken broth

Also, if you can get your hands on Mexican oregano, use that as well. Mix all the spices with the meat, water, broth, and beer, yes beer, together well. Put in whatever else you may like. Place the inner pot on the stove and and bring to a boil. I let it boil for a few minutes. Then I placed the inner pot into the thermal pot and sealed it.  I let it sit for 3 hours in the thermal pot. Do not open it to check! Just let it go. The thermal pot is extremely well insulated and will retain a nearly stationary temperature for that time period with no use of electricity.

Still steaming after three hours in the thermal pot

Still steaming after three hours in the thermal pot

After three hours I opened the pot, and I was greeted with a steaming hot pot. It was as if I had never taken it off the stove.  Now, remove the meat from the liquid and place it into a large bowl.  Place the inner pot on the stove and start to boil some of the liquid off.  This is how I dealt with the excess liquid.  Grab two big forks and shred the meat in the bowl.  With a three hour cook time at around 200 degrees, the meat will be very tender and pulling it apart should be easy.

Add the shredded meat back to the liquid, along with 6 or 7 cans of green Chile peppers.  If you like more, than add more. Let everything cook down for about another hour. Add a little cilantro near the end.

If you think the sauce still has too much liquid then add a little cornstarch to a cool cup of water, and mix it into the chili while it is boiling. That will help it thicken. 

Serve the green chili on a warm tortilla with a little lettuce, tomato, cheese, and whatever else you like.

Cooking Rice in your thermal cooker « Thethermalcook’s Blog

Cooking Rice in your thermal cooker « Thethermalcook’s Blog.

Cooking Rice in your thermal cooker

Rice fields in Indonesia

Probably like you, many of the meals I cook, involve serving them with rice. If you own a thermal cooker there are two way to deal with this.
If your thermal cooker has only one inner pot (some thermal cooker have two) I can either put a trivet in the bottom (its legs in the food) and put something like my cake tin containing part boiled rice on the trivet or cook your rice about 30 minutes before I want to eat in a separate saucepan. If you on the other hand have a Mr D’s top pot you can follow the recipe and then put the top pot in the inner pot before placing the inner pot into the outer container.
In the past I have tried many methods of cooking rice. These include Jamie Oliver’s rice cooking method from his book “Ministry of Food” and Madhur Jaffrey’s methods from her book “Illustrated Indian Cookery”. All of these work but take far more time than my method and do not seem to be any better.


  • 1/2 cup of rice per person. I always use Basmati rice except for when I am cooking Thai food. With Thai I prefer Jasmine rice.
  • 1 cup of water for each 1/2 cup of rice.
  • Salt to taste.


  1. Add the water to a saucepan.
  2. Add salt tasting the water until you can taste the salt. Vary the amount to your taste but remember if you can’t taste the salt in the water your rice will tend to be bland.
  3. Bring the water to the boil.
  4. Pour the rice into the boiling water and bring it back to the boil.
  5. Boil it gently (a rolling boil) for 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan.
  7. Leave for about 30 minutes and you then will have perfectly cooked rice.
  8. Before serving fluff up with a fork.

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Soaking beans with baking soda water – Nutrition

Soaking beans with baking soda water – Nutrition.

I’ve read that lye water made via wood ash is used very beneficially with corn in Mexico and South America and it increases the nutritional value of the corn quite effectively. I’ve also read that some healthier villages will use lye water to soak their beans in to do much of the same thing.

However, I’ve read in places too that using alkali water (baking soda) for soaking beans and such can also cause problems with destroying some vitamins which would be bad, but… it also destroys the phytates and tannins in beans and seeds that prevent the assimilation of vitamins, minerals and proteins which is very good.

One study ( mentions the use of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in cooking peas and found there was no difference in the vitamin content when using it, though the peas cooked faster.

The study is a little old but it goes to some of the conflicting information I’ve found on the pros or cons of using alkali water for soaking.

From what I can gather, even though the levels of thiamine are reduced from the use of alkali water, the benefits from soaking of reduced toxins such as phytates, tannins and other anti nutrients which reside in the shell or hull of the bean significantly out weigh the loss of a B vitamin and may actually help the body absorb and use the vitamins and minerals in the beans, lentils and peas that would normally be blocked if soaking in an alkali water wasn’t performed.

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Shuttle Chef follows Aunt’s advice and keeps cooking on the move moist – Information Articles Go See Australia Directory

Shuttle Chef follows Aunt’s advice and keeps cooking on the move moist – Information Articles Go See Australia Directory.

Shuttle Chef follows Aunt’s advice and keeps cooking on the move moist

Corned beef with vegetables
Corned beef with vegetables

By Garth Morrison Editor GoSeeAustralia and New Zealand

The Shuttle Chef Thermal Cooker we have been living with for the last month brings back savory, succulent, wholesome memories of my Aunt Jean Anderson’s cooking. I loved my aunt but as boys are always hungry I admit her cooking played a strong part in that.

She was a country woman who had been an Army nurse. I discovered that when I found her pictured with her fellow sisters in the Second World War publication Soldiering On. It’s a famous picture, it can be seen at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. To me it’s something like the wonderful insightful study, Lancaster Crew, done in April-May 1944 by Australian artist Stella Brown.

It is all in the crews’ eye, sadness, courage, their youth and fragility shows. Six Australians and one Englishman flying with 460 Squadron into Friedrichshafen at night on April 27 1944, of the crew only one Flying Officer T.J.Lynch survived when they were shot down near Lahr.

Simple stew Shuttle Chef style
Simple stew Shuttle Chef style

The war shaped everything then. My Uncle Gil survived too in the difficult circumstances of the Western Desert and married his Jean Morrison when battered but unbowed he got back home.

He had been a mountain cattleman and loved the land so he put up for soldier settlement near Derrinallum in Victoria’s Western District (a far cry from the desert) and got 2000 acres – with water.

He shone like the sun when he came home to tell Aunt Jean of his good fortune.

They lived in the woolshed on Morriander at first until the house was built and Aunt Jean, with no apparent effort, fed family (four girls) and any who came hungry, which included me, on school holiday visits to the farm.

One day while cooking a mighty roast with all the trimmings my aunt did something rare in a time when men were fed and women cooked. She talked to me about cooking well. To the huge farmhouse wood-fired slow combustion stove we went.

Boiled fruit cake
Boiled fruit cake

She opened the big oven door and rich, rounded, roast aromas from uncle’s quality cut (he killed his own meat) grabbed my senses and flooded my taste buds. Then Aunt Jean gave me the key to good cooking.

I can hear her now – “add water”, she said. “You must cook slowly and keep the cooking moist to get the best flavour and keep the goodness”.

Which is just what the twin containers of the Thermos Shuttle Chef slow cooker achieves. Thermos was a name we knew when aunt was alive but hot and cold tea, drinks and soup went into the Thermos then.

It is called Evacuated insultation technology and it became a household name around the world after it was invented by Thermos more than 100 years ago.

Now we have worked through part of the Shuttle Chef recipe book. Rice, brown or white takes on a rich fluffy finish which would do credit to any Chinese chef. It stays hot too. It can be varied in flavour with vegetables, chopped onion and grated carrot.

Tasty Spicy Baked beans
Tasty Spicy Baked beans

Stews start simple and quickly become a statisfying variation of the basic theme. Pasta in all its varieties is prepared so quickly it is better to have your sauces ready first.

The roasts will never match Aunt Jean’s. Nothing could.  But they certainly compete with honour.

And I have to say with a great deal less attention to detail. Fish, curries, chicken, pork, cakes and desserts are all within the Shuttle Chef’s cooking range.

The Shuttle Chef has two containers. One is an inner clad stainless steel pot. It is for direct heating.

The outer insulated container shuts in the heat for hours and continues the cooking process. The inner pots design allows it to heat throughout its surfaces.

Cooking a meal is a matter of heating it on a stove in the inner pot for the period laid down in the recipe book. Put the 4.5 litre (CC4500S version tested) inner  pot  inside the vacuum insulated outer container. Close the lid. Take it with you and serve a hot meal up to eight hours later.

The inner and outer pots clean  easily
The inner and outer pots clean easily

The actual length of cooking depends on the recipe and the quantity and moisture of the ingredients in the inner pot.

Meat cooks beautifully. Less expensive cuts definitely benefit from the cooker. Vegetables keep their shape.

As aunt said “keep it moist”. Meals retain their goodness. Food can’t be overcooked. There is a real energy saving as the meal is prepared in minutes and cooks (free) for hours.

The quality of the inner pot allows easy cleaning and it can be put through a dishwasher when you have a full load to save on water. Or cleaned on campsite with a soft sponge and hot water.

The outside of the Shuttle Chef remains cool to the touch.

We used it at home and in the company Retro Sahara 4WD held firmly upright by an elastic safety net. It makes an excellent companion for our reliable WAECO fridge.

Shuttle Chef cooks up a stew
Shuttle Chef cooks up a stew

In the Shuttle Chef Thermos has come up with an airless vacuum space between to stainless steel walls.

The result is a heat loss of only 3-4deg C an hour.

It is the hottest or the coldest for hours.

There are four versions of the product ranging from 4.5 litres to 6 litres  with a choice of inner pot combinations.

The Shuttle Chef comes with a five year warranty. The (CC4500S version tested)  retails for $249, (AUS) the bigger version with 2 inner pots  is $359.  The Shuttle Chef can be delivered anywhere in Australia freight free via this website.

Shipment of Shuttle Chef to New Zealand can be arranged through the same website.

Allan Rush  of Thermal Cookware can offer a $NZ28 freight cost for New Zealanders wanting delivery.
He says Thermal Cookware will be exhibiting at the Snow and Outdoor Traders Association Show in Canberra this month this is for both Australian and New Zealand retail outlets.
All Shuttle Chef prices are quoted in Australian dollars and when people purchase over the web it should charge their credit card in Aussie Dollars.
The currency conversion has the CC 4500 S as $281.00 New Zealand Dollars (it is normally $249.00 Australian Dollars)

Here are some recipes from Thermos:

Thermos Corned Silverside.

1 ½ to 2 kilogram piece of Corned Beef (choose a square cut piece to fit easily)

2 Bay leaves

1 large Onion

3 strips of Orange peel

4 Cloves

2 tablespoons of Brown Sugar

1 cup of Balsamic Vinegar

1 tablespoon of Mustard

½ a tablespoon of Peppercorns

Water to cover.

Simmering time on the stove top: 30 minutes

Thermal Cooking time: 3 to 4 hours minimum.

Place all the ingredients into the inner pot.

Bring the contents to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer.

Simmer gently for 30 minutes with the lid on.

Turn off the heat and transfer the inner pot to the outer Thermal Container.

Leave to complete the cooking for 3 to 4 hours minimum.

You can add the required vegetables whole with the corned beef while

it is being simmered or else you may wish to freshly cook vegetables to serve with the corned beef when you are ready to eat.

Thermos Spicy Baked Beans

Serves up to 10 people

1 teaspoon of Olive Oil

2 ½ cups of chopped Onions

2 Garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons of freshly grated Ginger

2 cups of Carrots, finely chopped

2 cups of finely chopped Apples

1 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper

¾ of a cup of Tomato paste

½ a cup of Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

½ a cup of Molasses (optional as this does sweeten the meal


2 Tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar

1 cup of Tomato sauce

1 cup of Raisins

1 teaspoon of minced Chilli

1 Bay leaf

375g packet of Red Kidney Beans.

Simmering time on the stove top: 10 minutes plus 5 minutes

Thermal Cooking time: 2 hours plus 4 hours minimum.

Prepare the Kidney Beans.

Soak the Kidney Beans overnight.

Cover them with fresh water and bring them to the boil in the inner pot.

Simmer them for 10 minutes.

Then place them in the outer Thermal Container for 2 hours.

Prepare the whole meal.

Remove the Kidney Beans and rinse out the pot.

Add the oil to the inner pot over medium-high heat and fry the onions for 3 minutes.

Add the chopped garlic, ginger and cayenne, and then cool for just 30 seconds, stirring to release the volatile oils.

Stir in the carrots and apples until they are well coated with the spices.

Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring thoroughly and then bring the mixture to a full boil.

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Place the inner pot into the outer Thermal container and allow to cook for a minimum of 4 hours.


You can add 1 kilogram of tasty chunky sausages cut into slices, such as Bratwurst, African Boerwurst or even Chorizo’s when you are adding the kidney beans.

Boiled Fruit Cake.

375 grams of mixed Dried Fruit

¾ of a cup of Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon of Mixed Spice

Grated rind of an Orange

½ a cup of Water or Orange Juice

¼ of a cup of Whiskey

125 grams of Butter

2 lightly beaten Eggs

1 cup of self raising Flour

1 cup of plain Flour

½ a teaspoon of Bicarb Soda

Optional…..Replace the water, liquor and sugar with a 450 gram tin of unsweetened crushed pineapple.

Simmering time on the stove top: 30 minutes

Thermal cooking time: 3 to 4 hours minimum.

Place the dried fruit into a saucepan with the brown sugar, mixed spice, orange rind, water liquor and butter.

Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Allow the mixture to cool.

Mix in the eggs.

Stir in the sifted flour and soda bicarb.

Line a 16cm round cake tin or Pyrex dish with baking paper (or grease the container with butter and put baking paper on the bottom)

Spoon the mixture into the container.

Lay another circle of baking paper on the top of the mixture and then cover this with a layer of Alfoil to prevent condensation.

Place a trivet or metal pastry ring in the inner pot and rest the cake tin on this (with the 3 litre pot you can rest the tin on a fold of


Pour enough hot water into the inner pot to come halfway up the sides of the cake tin.

Bring the water to the boil, with the lid on and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Place the inner pot into the outer Thermal container for 3 to 4 hours minimum.


Many cakes, particularly moist cake mixtures that cook slowly at lower temperatures, such as fruit cake or carrot cake can be made in the Shuttle Chef.

Choose a tin or Pyrex dish that fits your Shuttle Chef.

The following recipes suit a 16cm diameter round tin. Usually less liquid is required than in a normal recipe as the cake doesn’t dry out as it does in an oven.

Remember that there is no problem with leaving your cake in the Shuttle Chef for quite a few hours as it will not dry out….you can even make the cake last thing at night before going to bed and take it out first thing in the morning.

Other handy hints for making cakes and puddings

To cover cakes and steamed puddings, place a round of baking paper on top of mixture. Make a pleat about 2 cm wide in the middle of a sheet of alfoil to allow the cake to rise. Cover the tin with the foil, allowing it to overlap the rim by 2.5 cm crimping it down around the edges to hold it in place.

When cooking cakes in the 3 litre inner pot, unless you have a shallow cake tin, there is not usually enough height to sit the tin on a

trivet or pastry ring. A square of alfoil (approx 30cm x 30cm) folded in half then half again and sat in the bottom of the inner pot works

equally as well. As there is less water surrounding the cake tin in the 3 litre pot, it is necessary to have the other 3 litre pot filled

with boiling water or a liquid based meal to achieve maximum heat retention.

Measure the amount of water needed to come halfway up the sides of the cake tin before placing the mixture into the tin. It is too difficult to pour water down the narrow gap after.

Make a strap to lift the tin in and out of the boiling water, by folding a sheet of alfoil approx 45cm long in half, 3 times lengthwise. (45x3cm)

To test if cake is cooled, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. Leave for a few seconds, then remove, it should come away clean.

If any mixture sticks to the skewer, recover and place back into inner pot. Bring pot back to the boil, then return to outer pot for 30 minutes more. Times given are minimum and cakes can be left for longer without drying out or overcooking.
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Thermos Cooker Yogurt « Life In Mexico

Thermos Cooker Yogurt « Life In Mexico.

When we visited Toronto this past April, my boys gobbled up yogurt that my mother-in-law made. I saw what she did and it looked easy enough. The only problem was that she used her gas oven as the incubator and my oven in Mexico doesn’t have a pilot light. I also didn’t want to buy a yogurt machine, okay I kind of wanted to but I had already bought this and I was on a kitchen toy diet. So upon returning home, I googled homemade yogurt and found that you can make yogurt in a wide mouth thermos.

I had a wide mouth thermos that came with the cooler that I bought about eight years ago. I was so excited until I couldn’t for the life of me find where we had stashed the darn thing. This reminded me of my barbeque adventure. Anyways, I was looking around my kitchen when my eyes settled on my Tiger Magic Thermal Cooker. My eyes lit up and I knew I was going to make yogurt, yeah!

The thermal cooker is made up of two parts, an outer insulated pot and a removable covered inner pot.

I then went in search of an easy recipe that would yield a thick yogurt. Well, of course I would find it courtesy of Alton Brown. Its simple and the yogurt came out perfect.

Alton Brown’s Yogurt Recipe

1 quart milk (this is approximately 1 litre)
1/2 cup powdered milk
1-2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Pour milk into a saucepan, add powdered milk and honey, stir to dissolve. Place pot over medium heat and heat to 120 F*. Remove from heat. Pour into a plastic container reserving 1/2 cup of milk in the pot. Mix 1/2 cup of the plain yogurt into the reserved milk then pour into the plastic container with the other milk and stir to blend. Put the container inside the removable pot of the thermal cooker and put a couple of clean kitchen towels in the gap between the plastic container and the pot.

Meanwhile, bring about 2 cups of water to just before the boiling point, the water will start to steam but has not yet begin to boil. Turn off heat and let cool slightly. Pour 1 cup into the insulated pot. Put the removable pot into the thermal cooker and carefully pour in the remaining hot water onto the towels in the gap. Cover and close the thermal cooker. Let you yogurt sit undisturbed anywhere from 4 – 11 hours – depending on how tart you like your yogurt. Refrigerate overnight before eating.

I make this yogurt weekly and the whole process (not counting fermentation) takes me less than 10 minutes. Also, you can save 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt to start the next batch.

* If you don’t have an instant read thermometer or like me and just can’t be bothered to use one, here is how I gauge the milk’s temperature. When the milk at the side of the pot starts to form little bubbles, I know my milk is at the right temperature. I use a gas stove so this may not work on an electric range. I’ve found this suggestion on the web, carefully place your baby finger into the milk and if you can hold it there for a count of 10, its ready. I don’t know about you, but I would be afraid to stick my baby finger into the pot. I’ll just stick to gauging by bubbles, thank you very much.

Food Storage, Not Just For Storing: WONDER BOX COOKER . . . Just In Time For Summer!

Food Storage, Not Just For Storing: WONDER BOX COOKER . . . Just In Time For Summer!.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WONDER BOX COOKER . . . Just In Time For Summer!

For the step by step pictures click HERE .

I was just talking to my sister-in-law and she told me about this little wonder. Have you heard about them? They would be great in an emergency, but how about now with the summer weather hitting with a vengeance?!? It would be a great propane saver too if you do a lot of cooking out side or while camping. Check it out!

Wonder Boxes work like vacuum flasks. In these days when we are being warned of worldwide shortages of food and fuel, this wonder box and it’s simplicity is designed to keep food at the temperature needed for cooking. Using very little fuel you only use about 15 minutes of energy to bring the food to the required temperature and then put it into the Wonder box. It makes it as though it were a thermos. On the flip side it will also keep ice-cream cold for about 4 hours.

Brief Cooking Instructions:

Boil your food on the stove for 10 – 15 minutes until the food is heated right through. (In practice this is too long.)

Use any cooking pot, provided it does not have a long handle, but do not use a large pot for a small amount of food. The W’box does not work well if there is a large air space. Remember that the more food or liquid that you have in the pot, the longer and better it will cook.

Put the lid on the pot before you remove the pot from the stove so the lid can also get hot. Make sure the nest in the bottom cushion is ready to take the pot and that it is nearby so you do not lose heat carrying the pot around. Place pot into the nest of the W’box, making sure that the sides are snug against the pot, so there are no air pockets. Quickly cover the pot with the top cushion, making sure there are no gaps or air pockets. Make sure that no one peeks inside. If this happens, heat will escape, and the food will not cook properly.

Do not leave the W’box on a metal surface while it is being used. Metal is a good conductor of heat and may draw off some heat through the bottom.

When cooking anything like a roast or a whole chicken, the liquid around it can boil before the meat has reached the same temperature. Make sure the liquid covers the meat and it has come to a boil. Meat must be covered with liquid! The cooking time seems to be 3-4 hours, or all day. It is sure to never burn.

Note: We had a chicken that was put in at 9:30 in the morning before church. This single dad prepared the chicken by placing it into an oven-cooking bag. He added spices to the chicken closed the bag completely (no added moisture was added to the bag) then brought the pot of water with the chicken in, to a boil and put it all in to the W’box. We ate with him at 4:00pm and as he tried to carve the chicken that was well cooked; the steam was ‘rolling’ off the chicken. It was still so hot he worked with forks to carve it. Nb: the opening to the bag was left protruding from under the lid.

The W’box was designed for cooking meals, but it can also be used for keeping food hot, cold or frozen for 3-6 hours depending on what it is For example, frozen meat will stay frozen longer than a tub of ice cream.

The cushions filled with polystyrene can be washed with hot water and soap and hung on the line to dry.

WONDER BOX Sewing Instructions

Click here for a Pattern

Material: 3 Meters (yards are 3″ shorter than a meter) soft cotton or broadcloth so it will conform to the shape of the pot.

(½ can be coordinated …. two colors)

19 scantly filled 1-gallon ice cream pails of Polystyrene beads (it is an insulation that looks like the tiny separate Styrofoam bits that make up the protective packing in electronics, etc.)

“Polystyrene is about the best insulating material and it is also easily washed. If you are only able to get the solid pieces which are used for packing radios etc., you can break it up by grating it.”
the booklet also says “make cushions out of large plastic bags, mutton cloth or other washable material and fill loosely with any of the following:
Polystyrene, Dried corn husks, Woolen materials, Feathers, Waste nylon materials, Flakes of newspaper, sawdust and wood shavings, Hay or other dry grasses “In Canada we have a gray ‘blow in insulation’ in our attic, it would be impossible to wash without opening the wonder box but it may be added to this list as well.

Sewing instructions:

When you sew the wonder box together you sew 2 of the 4 pieces together along the longest sides. You open each of the pairs now and place them right sides together and sew those 2 together all the way around the outside, making an awkward shaped cushion affair. Don’t forget the opening to fill through. You then repeat with the 4 bottom pieces. One pair together, sew along the longest side, then the other pair. Open them up and place them right sides together, remembering to leave openings to fill through. I am adding a loop at this point to hang this by when not in use, or dry after washing.

The narrow part of the bottom pattern is the piece you will tuck into the bigger part of the bottom to make the pouch/nest for the pot to sit into.

Hoping not to confuse the issue. If you start where the bottom pattern says 90 (degrees for the angle) and sew down the right side of the pattern and stop just after the second 11 ½ ” mark, before the pattern starts back up. That will be one of the two pairs. Do the same with the other two, put right sides together again and sew it all the way around the outside edge now, into the box or ball shape. The same goes for the top cushion, start at the 100, sew down the right and stop just after the 11″ mark. The rights sides together and sew again making the shape of the top cushion.

It will not lie flat. It will take the shape of a square cushion when it is filled with the polystyrene beads, and the bottom cushion has a cavity like a nest or pouch.

Top: Fill a little less than ½ full while the bag is hanging. Approximately 7 scantly filled 1-gallon ice cream pails.

A paper funnel works best, as the beads are very static prone. You may want to use an ice cream pail to pour from. Work with two people to fill-one to hold the funnel in and the other to pour. Spread a sheet on floor to catch beads.

Bottom: Cut 4 Fill approximately ½ full with polystyrene beads. Approximately 12 scantly filled 1-gallon ice cream pails

Once this bag is filled, tuck the small end into the center to form the pouch/nest for the pot. Find a good pot that works well in this pouch. No long handles please.

When the pan sits inside the pouch/nest of the bottom, the pan is surrounded on all sides except the top. So… that is where the top/lid comes in. It is very important to keep all of the heat inside this wonder box cooker. One of the pages and the recipes explain that the lid/top of the wonder box must go on immediately with no places for the heat to escape or it will all be for nothing.

Wonder Box Recipes

Yogurt by the Gallon

4 cups dry skim milk powder

4 quarts warm water

Mix well, heat to scald, cool to luke warm


1 cup of starter (plain commercial yogurt) or product saved from this finished recipe may be used to start a new batch. Refresh monthly with commercial starter.

Mix well, put into a gallon glass jar with a lid and place into the Wonder box.

Leave undisturbed for 12-14 hours. It will thicken more after refrigeration.

May be used plain or add your favorite fruits to flavour.

For those that can afford the calories, if the yogurt doesn’t set to your liking, add instant

Vanilla pudding. (substituting yogurt for milk)

Can be reduced for smaller batches.


2 cups quick oats

4 cups boiling water

salt to taste

Stir oats into boiling water, put lid on and place quickly between cushions of the W’box for 15 minutes or more. Stir before serving


2 cups rice

Put into

3 ½ – 4 cups of salted boiling water. NB. Because the water does not evaporate you may need less water than usual.

Place quickly into W’box, and leave for 40 minutes or longer until ready to eat.


Potatoes or root vegetables may be cooked in their skins. Bring them to a boil in a pot full of water and place quickly between cushions of the W’box for about twice as long as you would normally cook them. They may be left all day without overcooking and can be more easily peeled after cooking

Try waterless cooking by using the crisp kind of bags used for cooking roasts, etc. Submerge the bag into the water and bring to a boil. The bag should be left with opening protruding out from under the lid. Place quickly into W’box.

Chicken and other joints of Meat

Place chicken into an Oven cooking bag with desired spices, and close bag

Bring pot of water with chicken in it, to a good boil.

Quickly place into the W’box and place top cushion on.

Leave alone for at least 3-4 hours.

The chicken was put in at 9:30 in the morning before church. This single dad prepared the chicken by placing it into an oven-cooking bag. He added spices to the chicken closed the bag completely (no added moisture was added to the bag) then brought the pot of water with the chicken in, to a boil and put it all in to the W’box. We ate with him at 4:00pm. It was impressive.

Try soups, stews, what ever you can bring to a boil and then give it a try. The worst that would happen is the first time, you may have to bring things back to a boil and replace into the W’box for a second cooking time.

I was given other recipes from a group who called this “The Clever Cooker” but they looked just like any other kind of simmered recipe and the consistent instruction was leave for 3-4 hours,

Never replace a pot of half eaten or luke warm food in the W’box It should be boiled up again to prevent it going bad.

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