Fireless Cook Books! Use for Thermal Cooker Recipes

Thermal cookers are not new and were known as Fireless Cookers a 100 years ago here in the USA.  Many old recipe books from that era are available online for free or have been republished and can be bought in book form.

One interesting cook book was from Gone With the Wind author Margaret Michell who before becoming famous wrote a great book on fireless cooking.

Below are links to the online versions and reprinted versions of a number of cook book/recipe books on fireless cooking which can be used directly in a modern thermal cooker.  Some of the old recipe books reference a “radiator” which was often a soap stone or cement disk that was heated up on a stove and then placed in the insulated box under the pot that held the food.  The stone radiated heat and helped keep the temperatures up inside the cookers and even allowed for some baking to be done inside the fireless cook box.

The Fireless Cook Book by Gone With the Wind Author Margaret Mitchell…less_cook_book
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

The Duplex cook book, containing full instructions for cooking with the Duplex fireless stove…plex_cook_book

Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

Meals That Cook Themselves And Cut The Costs…_cut_the_costs
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

Book of Caloric Recipes…_stove_recipes
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

The Fireless Cooker, How to make it, How to use it, What to cook
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

Fireless Cooker Recipes…cooker_recipes
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

The Fireless Cooker…ireless_cooker
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

Superior fireless cookery…reless_cookery
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

Thermatic Fireless Cooker Recipes – A treatise on the management of the Thermatic fireless cooker, together with over 250 carefully selected recipes.…lected_recipes
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

The Winston cook book, planned for a family of four…family_of_four
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon

Simple Cooking of Wholesome Food for the Farm Home…_the_farm_home
Reprint of this book for sale at Amazon


Thermos Cookery

Thermos Cookery

So I made breakfast using my thermos to cook it overnight. It is very simple and energy efficient for a piping hot and delicious breakfast. You can use any grain that you want. The typical breakfast grains are corn, wheat, and rice. I would stay away from oatmeal unless you get the water proportion right and feel like cleaning the inside of your thermos out. Even grains like millet work for a unique breakfast. Use a metal or glass lined thermos. The plastic ones typically can’t stand up to the heat. Now for the ingredients . . . Starting the night before, boil some water. To the thermos, add a quarter cup of grain (I used white wheat), a dash of salt, and a pinch of sugar. Now screw the top on overnight. In the morning, just drain the water through the lid or drink it because it contains tons of vitamins. Shake it out into a bowl. Enjoy it with milk and a bit of sugar to taste.

A Singaporean Uncle in Australia: How to cook with a Thermos Flask

La Gourmet Thermal Wonder Cooker

via A Singaporean Uncle in Australia: How to cook with a Thermos Flask.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How to cook with a Thermos Flask

We wish we had learnt this method of cooking earlier, but we didn’t until we saw our host in Macau used the thermal cooker to prepare “Bak Kut Teh” (Pork ribs herbal soup) for us during our stay with his family. He explained all he needed was 15 minutes on the stove, leaves for work and he can return home to a ready cooked meal. Basically the thermal cooker consists of two pots. Just cook the food on the stove in the inner pot and bring it to boil for 10 minutes. Place the pot into the outer pot. A convection effect is created whereby the cooking process continues for up to 30 minutes and warms up to 8 hours. The most important part is it’s an energy saving and time saving way to cook your food.
We were so impressed that we couldn’t wait to buy one from 1Utama Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur. We bought a 7-Litre La Gourmet Thermal Wonder Cooker on sales at RM 399. (Malaysian dollar) and hand carried all the way to Sydney.
We thought that was a good investment until I googled to learn more about thermal cooking. I found out that you can use a simple thermos flask to the same effect. The only difference is the quantity. The thermos flask is only good for 1-2 servings whereas my new acquired 7-Litre is great for a gathering 8-10 people. We haven’t organised a big party since our return and our thermal cooker is still in its original packaging. Have I bought a white elephant?

I wish I had thought of this idea myself, but it so simple that I thought it is funny even to post it here. Neverthelees I want to show to Ange of France that it is possible to cook with a thermos flask!
In fact this cooking method is such a practical method that I use it often to cook my morning cereal or bento (packed lunch) for my workplace. My wife has her own thermos flask to cook her own special multi grain recipe. She mixes 8 kinds of grains which are brown rice, sorghum, buckwheat, barley, wheat, oat, millet, and black glutinous rice. She believes her homemade multi grains mixed are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre and much more nutritional than the store bought type. You probably can’t go wrong incorporating such a variety of grains in your diet. You can cook any whole grain in a thermos flask. I used a 1-litre Jackeroo Thermos Flask. It has an unbreakable stainless steel inner liner.

Here’s how I used my thermos flask to cook in three simple steps.
Step 1: Put ½ cup of rolled oat in the thermos flask.
Step2: Fill thermos flask with 3 cups of boiling water.
Step 3: Screw the lid of the flask tight and turn it upside down for a couple of times. Set the flask aside
You have just made your own cereal for tomorrow’s breakfast with minimum of time and fuss.

Fuel Efficient Cooking with an Insulated Box

Fuel Efficient Cooking with an Insulated Box

What a great example of using a retained heat cooker! Cooking beans is the perfect example of the strength of using a thermal type cooker. All the goodness with 80%-90% of the fuel being saved.

Wonder Box Instructions (

The people over at have posted some great instructions on making a wonder box.  Here’s what they have to say:

Wonder Box Instructions  (Printable PDF Format)

A wonder box is a heat retention cooker. After you bring your food to a boil, (so it is heated throughout) using any number of cooking methods, you remove it from the heat source and quickly place the pot inside the wonder box.

The insulation of the wonder box will slow your food’s loss of heat keeping at cooking temperatures for hours. Using a wonder box reduces the amount of fuel needed to cook your meal because the fuel that would normally be used to keep your food at cooking temperatures after it has started boiling is eliminated.


  • Soft Cotton or Broadcloth Material
    • (Soft material will conform to the pot reducing air pockets or channels for the air to escape. Cotton works best as it will not melt when touching the hot surface of the pot.) I used a thin denim but will probably use a softer material next time. The fabric was 52” wide.  I used 2¼ yards. Narrower fabric may require up to 3 ¼ yards.
  • 19 Gallons (About 3 Cubic Feet) of Polystyrene Beads
    • (Bean Bag Filler, EPS Beads (Regrind), Shredded foam shipping popcorn)… Wonder Boxes have been also made with the following filler material (Wool, Feathers, Leaves, Shredded Newspaper, Saw Dust, Ground Corn Husks, Etc…)


  1. There are 2 shapes that will need to be made out of the material. The patterns are included below. One shape is needed to make the top of the Wonder Box, the second for constructing the bottom. You will need to cut 4 of each of these shapes.
  2. Once you have cut out the 8 shapes (4 for the top and 4 for the bottom), you can start the sewing process.  Take 2 top pieces and lay them front-to-front, so the exterior of the fabric of each piece is touching each other. Sew the 2 pieces together along the dotted sew-line as displayed on the patterns below. Go ahead and double-stitch it if you wish it to be more durable. Leave a small opening along one of the seams so you can add the filler.
  3. Repeat “Step 2” (Except for the opening) on the other 2 pieces of the top material.
  4. Now you will have 2 pieces (each with 2 pieces of the top sewn on one side). Place these two pairs with the exterior of the fabric facing each other. Sew these 2 pairs together so all seams are sewn together. Pull the material through the opening you left open to insert the filler material so the exterior side of the material is on the outside.  You will end up with an awkward shaped floppy pillow.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 but for the bottom pieces.
  6. Fill the top “pillow” with 7 gallons of filling. Polystyrene beads are prone to static. Use a paper funnel and a gallon pitcher to make this job easier. Sew closed the opening left to insert the filling.
  7. Fill the bottom “pillow” with 12 gallons of filling. Sew closed the opening left to insert the filling.
  8. The narrow tongue of the bottom “pillow” tucks into the larger end to form a depression like a bowl or nest. The pot sits snuggly in this depression. The lid should fit comfortably on top sealing all gaps.
  9. The pot you select, should have a lid that seals well. The pot should also have short handles on both sides as opposed to 1 long handle. The pot could be a 4, 5 or 6 quart pot.  If the pot is too small, add a blanket around it before you set it inside the Wonder Box.

Notes: The major benefit of the Wonder Box is to reduce the fuel you need to cook your meals. By simply bringing your food to boiling temperature for 3 minutes (15 minutes for beans) and then turning off the heat and quickly placing the pot in the Wonder Box. [The important point is to make sure that the food is at boiling temperature throughout, so large pieces of meat may need to be cubed or make sure you give it time to heat thoroughly]. The heat already in your food, combined with the insulation of the Wonder Box, will allow your meal to keep cooking “at safe cooking temperatures” for hours. Remember, the less space there is around the pot, the less heat will be lost

One source stated that you can save up to 80% of your needed fuel by using a Wonder Box because the heat used for simmering is eliminated. What kind of meals can you cook in a Wonder Box? Most meals that you would cook in a Crock Pot. Meals that simmer in liquid. Rice, Chili, Stews, Soups, etc…  Your food should be entirely covered with liquid, so if you are cooking a whole chicken or a roast, make sure the food is completely covered. With a little creativity, even other foods can be cooked in the Wonder Box. For example, a few whole potatoes in an oven cooking bag placed in a pot of water brought to a boil, will cook without being water logged. The Wonder Box is a slow cooker, Rice will take about an hour, a whole chicken in 3-4 hours. Tip: cook your breakfast and lunch at the same time using the same coals. By Lunch time, your meal will be ready. You can’t burn food in a Wonder Box. As long as your food stays over 160º F, Your food can cook all day. One source recommended not using your Wonder Box while it is sitting on metal as it may some of the heat through the bottom.

The Wonder Box can be washed using hot water and soap and dried on a clothes line.

Corn and Pork Ribs Soup –

Corn and Pork Ribs Soup (from the “The Adventure of Ms J & Mr P”

We grew up drinking lots of soup made by mummy. Asian mum loves to make soups. Soups are nutritious and they really warms your heart. Hope this Corn and Pork Rib Soup will warm yours too!

Preparation Time: 8 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Waiting Time: 2-3 hours

1 Carrot
1 Tomato
2 Sweet Corns
1 small bit of young ginger
1/2 kg Pork Ribs

1. Cut the tomato into wedges. (4 or 6 wedges, up to you)
2. Break the corns into 3 pieces.
3. Cut the carrots into little chunks.
4. Clean the ginger by getting rid of the skin and cut them in big pieces.

5. Prepare the pork by boiling a pot of water and boil the pork for 5 mins then drain.

6. Pour all the ingredients into the pot with 1.5 litres of water.

7. If you are like us, we like using Thermal Pots. This is an OEM brand which is cheaper. You can get Tiger or Le Gourmet brands which cost 3 or 4 times more, and yet work the same.

We boil the above for 5 mins and then turn it off and transfer the pot into the Thermal Pot. Wait for 2 or 3 hours.

8. When we are ready to serve, we take out the pot, boil it again for a few minutes and then serve. Add salt to your taste.

We usually prepare the soups on Saturday mornings around 9 AM. We will drink the soup at noon. We like using Thermal pots because we do not need to care about the fire.

If you realise, we use an induction cooker too! Induction cooker converts 80-90% of energy to heat, compare to other types of cooking methods (eg gas flame, hot plates) that usually only use 45% of the energy and the rest wasted.

For those interested:
Carrot: Daucus carota subsp. sativus
Domestic Pig: Sus scrofa domestica
Ginger: Zingiber officinale
Sweet Corn: Zea mays var. rugosa
Tomato: Solanum lycopersicum

Comments on cooking bread and other things in a wonderbox cooker

Comments on cooking bread and other things in a wonderbox cooker:

Steamed bread in a wonderbox — turned out fabulous. We left it in the hot water to rise then boiled it for ten minutes and kept it in the wonderbox for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Here is some detail about the wonderbox bread…

I put the whole wheat bread dough in a oiled cereal bag (the waxed-
paper-like inner lining bag in boxes of cereal). Then I twisted up the
end and closed it with a twist tie. I then placed this bag inside a
Reynolds oven bag and twisted up the end of that bag. Rather than
putting the twist tie on at that point, I folded over the twisted end,
making a loop and then secured it with a twist tie, creating a double
reinforcement and less probability of water leaking in. I have heard
it being done in a Zip-loc bag as well, but I was pleased with the
cereal bag and oven bag. When picking a bag, you are concerned with
its ability to withstand the heat of boiling and ability to get a tight
seal when closing as water seeping into the bread will ruin it.

Then I put the dough in a pan of hot water to rise. After it had
risen, I boiled it for ten minutes and then placed the pan with the
dough in it and with the lid on in the Wonder Box. I left it there for
1 hour and 45 minutes. It was perfect. The bread comes out round and
is not browned, but very moist and light. You will not get overdone,
dry bread this way.

BREAD Recipe:

4 cups whole wheat, brown or white flour, or mixed as you wish

1tsp each yeast and sugar mixed, added to ¼ cup warm water

1 cup warm water with 1 tsp salt added

Mix and knead the dough (or add ¼ cup warm water and merely stir it well). Roll the dough in dry flour and place it in an ordinary (crisp, cereal) plastic bag which has had a little oil rubbed around inside.

To reduce time needed for this it can be left submerged in warm water in the wonder box.

When it has doubled its size, it should be brought to boil in the water and boiled for about 10 minutes. Transfer the bread in the pot of water to a wonder box for an hour to finish cooking when it should have a soft “crust”.

I have fielded numerous requests from readers who are making their own wonder boxes, and wanting to know what type of material would be best for the cushions.

Cushions have to be of a soft material that will squish firmly around the top, bottom and sides of your wonder box. Another idea is to use the inners of old, flat pillows.

Another example of making bread in a wonderbox

I have been baking bread in a wonderbox for awhile now. My recipe is for 2 loaves (whole wheat). I put one in the wonderbox and one in the oven. I raise the bread by putting it in a cereal bag that has been sprayed with cooking spray. I put a twistertie on that and then put that in an oven bag, twist it up and then double the twisted part over and put on the twister tie. That part looks like a loop. Anyway I put the bagged dough in a pot of warm water to rise. When it has doubled, I bring the whole thing to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Then put the whole thing in the wonderbox and go away. Once it was in there for over 8 hours and the bread was still warm. I think the least amount of time has been one hour.
The bread does not have a crust and is usually oval, but it is moist and delicious. In fact when I have people try a bit from the oven baked and the wonderbox, they prefer the wonderbox bread hands down.
So do I.
I have reused the cereal bag. I make my own cereal so I don’t have those kind regularly. I’ve tried ziploc bags for the outside and sometimes they pop open from the rising bread. If it gets under water, the bread is ruined.

Bean Soup
I made bean soup. I soaked the beans over night, then boiled them 20 minutes, and after a couple of hours in the wonderbox, I took them out to put some bean flour in to thicken it and reheated it for another 20 minutes before putting it back in. All together it was probably 6-7 hours in there, but no burning or sticking, and I left it that long because that was when I was using the soup…

BTW, I was using the ice box cooler for the thermal outer container which I placed the bean pot inside. I first wrapped the bean pot in a wool blanket and then put a pillow on top of the pot and blanket before closing the cooler lid. I have also been using a half of a mylar space blanket in the wonderbox and the ice box cooker both to retain heat, but also to keep the wonderbox clean and dry and to keep the wool blanket dry. I think that really helps.

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