Old World Cooking Methods with a Modern Twist

We’re spoiled with electric ovens, stoves, microwaves, and refrigerators. So what happens when the economy plummets, natural disaster strikes, or the country is attacked and we lose electricity and our means of cooking food the way we’ve always known how to? This is why it is essential to know how to use old world cooking methods.

While there are many items that you probably have stored in order to cook with in case you lose electricity, such as propane, kerosene, solar-powered stoves and ovens, knowledge of the primitive way of cooking is always a good skill to have. Open fire cooking was used up until the 18th century, so how did they do it and how can we make it our own in the 21st century?

Surely we’ve all done this sort of open fire cooking when camping. This is a very simple and quick way to get a fire going in order to cook food to nourish your body in the wake of an apocalypse. To cook in these open fire pits, you may use the familiar style of sticking the hot dog on the stick and roasting it. However, there are many other ways to cook more than just hotdogs and s’mores on the open fire with items that you probably have around the house, or items that are easily found among debris.

  • Foil — one of the quickest and easiest ways to wrap food up and throw it on the fire as it is. You can cook corn, bake potatoes, and make whole meals of meat and veggies! Deer steak? Squirrel on a skewer? Be creative here. Remember that you can use certain kinds of wood (like applewood) to add a smoky flavor.
  • Dutch Oven — you should have at least one of these. It could be made out the traditional cast iron or some newer versions are made out of aluminum. You can find old poles around the yard, off of the old swing-set, or among the debris in the wake of disaster, and construct a teepee like structure to hold the Dutch oven up over the fire and get cooking soup, stew, biscuits and more. You can also use the lid of the Dutch oven as a makeshift griddle.
  • The Grill — that gas grill you worship on the weekends can be useful in the wake of a disaster, even when no propane can be found. You can use the grill top to place over an open fire, using some old bricks or stones to raise it above the fire and get grilling.
  • Brick Stove — those same bricks lying among the debris can be used to make a small stove as well. You can make these stoves by creating a bottom compartment where the fire will be made and making a stone top over the fire, where you can heat pots and pans.
  • Can Stove — sometimes called hobo stove, can be extremely useful and easy to make out of an old can. This is definitely a more modern method. They are also useful because they are lightweight, unlike the Dutch oven or the grill top, and can be carried easily. Because they are so small, they can also use a wide array of heating mechanisms (candles, small twigs, alcohol, etc.)
  • Mud Oven — some food just needs time in the oven to taste good. While the Dutch oven works well, you may not have one, so making an oven could be the solution. You can build these ovens with clay or mud from the ground, creating a hard flat surface with a hood over it. The fire is put in the oven to heat it and then taken out and the food is placed in and cooked from the trapped heat. An oven could also be made out of old stones or brick. A makeshift oven can also be made with a hood made out of an old mailbox or scrap piece of curved metal.

To make survival cooking more convenient, purchase a good cooking kit made for camping. A Coleman Aluminum Mess Kit is only $10 and contains and aluminum skillet, pot, pan and mug.

To your survival,
Richard Marshall

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