It’s a pretty great thing to have a functioning modern kitchen. There’s nothing like a hot meal, a functional oven, a big stove and a dishwasher. The basics of a modern kitchen keep things like cooking and sanitation pretty simple and rather effortless. But what happens when your kitchen goes out of commission? If the power goes out as a result of a natural disaster, and you’re bugging-in for an indefinite amount of time, you’re going to need alternative methods of cooking and boiling water. In this article, we’ll take a moment to look at the pros and cons of different alternative cooking methods. Having the foresight to keep this kind of gear on hand could make all the difference in a worst-case scenario.
Small, efficient and able to be used on a series of different terrains and surfaces, a single-burner backpacking stove is an excellent alternative cooking method. Fueled usually by white gas, which is easy on the pocketbook, there are even some backpacking stoves out there that run on diesel or a variety of fuels that can be found all over the world. White gas also lasts longer than other alternative fuel sources used with non-traditional stoves. Backpacking stoves are easily stored, as are their fuel containers, offering you the ability to pack them away with ease. The only potential drawback to using a backpacking stove in a bug-in scenario with a kitchen out of commission, is that you will likely need more than one of them and they cannot handle very large pots.
Propane Camp Stoves
Less portable than the backpacking stove, yet capable of providing you with more than one burner, propane camp stoves are an excellent alternative cooking method that can keep you in the game when the lights go out. Propane camp stoves also allow you the benefit of cooking with larger pots, as they tend to be studier of frame than the smaller backpacking stoves. There are tons of quality propane camp stoves out there, ranging from $30 to upwards of $300, all of which will do the job just fine. Also, just about every sporting goods store or gas station sells propane, it is easy to get a hold of and easy to store.
Though heavy, and not necessarily the greatest thing to carry around should you need to get out fast, there are a ton of benefits to having a Dutch oven in a kitchen rendered out of commission. A cast-iron Dutch oven is capable of baking, frying and sautéing food. It is also capable of functioning with any heat source. A Dutch oven can be used to boil water, to cook stew, and can cook large portions of food…enough to feed a family. This is definetly one piece of alternative-cooking gear that you can’t go wrong with. Just don’t try to grab it and run fast.
As old-school as the aforementioned Dutch oven, charcoal is the least expensive and most commercially available alternative fuel method around. It can be easily stored, and can stand to be a little damp, though not soaked with water. Sure, you can never burn it indoors, but in a pinch, those charcoal coals will stay lit for a long time and can also provide a bit of a heat source if you are getting chilly.
While this isn’t something that everyone can just run out, get, and easily install in their kitchen, it is worth mentioning that a wood-burning stove is an absolutely incredible piece of alternative cooking gear. A wood-burning stove allows you a good-sized platform to cook on while also permitting you to stay warm in the event that your electricity is out. The drawback, aside from the fact that having one of these means permanantely modifying your home, is that you have to keep plenty of wood ready. Depending on where you live, and what prices are like, this could be a very good or very bad decision for your finances.