I conducted the first thermal cooking test of the Feeding Children Everywhere meal today. As I have mentioned, these will be a staple during my Everglades Challenge entry this year. For the preparation of the meal, I used a 1 liter thermal food jar (a quality one is essential… I used an Esbit jar from my great sponsors at www.go2outfitters.com ), 1/2 of an F.C.E. meal bag (3 servings), and +/- 800 ml of boiling water (about 4 minutes on my MSR butane camp cooker). After 3.5 hours, I opened it, and it was both done and VERY hot. This means a meal can be cooked with less than 5 MINUTES worth of energy, provided a proper container is available. This left me with 3 meals worth of hot food, which should remain hot for 10-14 hours. I base this on the test we did yesterday, which was a simple water boil test. After 16 hours, boiling water retained a temperature of over 133 degrees in the container.
This test provides results that are important both for me, and for anyone receiving these meals in an area with limited power and/or fuel availability. With a bit of ingenuity, a thermal cooker can be made simply by digging a hole and lining it with either coals or an insulating material (leaves, etc), placing the container with the meal and boiling water into the hole (with a tight fitting lid), and then covering or simply burying it. 25 minutes of fuel use reduced to 5 minutes… not too bad, especially if you are cooking a lot of meals!
Of course, I forgot to take any pictures, so I’ll do that another time.