Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More on Low Power Living

In my last post, Darcy commented on being a renter and not wanting to make any low energy improvements to the house where she was living, and I completely agree. I offered some suggestions for heating without power, which may or may not work for a given situation, but if the idea is to get our imaginations working, you might find some nugget of inspiration there.

The gist is that if you can't heat the whole house during a power outage, you can still heat a small space. In much of Japan, where their winters aren't terribly warmer than mine, they do not heat the whole house. What they do is heat is a single room, and their only heating units are often little tables called kotatsu, which is, bascially, a table with an electric heater in the middle, but traditionally, the kotatsu used a brazier built into the floor.

I won't repeat all of what I said in my comment, but you can read it, if you're interested :).

And Chile has more information on kotatsu, too.

Edifice Rex also asked how I baked bread on the woodstove.

I have this woodstove. It's a regular old woodstove, not a cookstove, and there is no oven.

Many years ago, I found myself in a situation where I needed to be creative in cooking so that I could feed my family, and I learned to bake cornbread using a charcoal fire and a cardboard box. I just applied the same principles to my bread baking during power outages.

Basically, I invert a deep dish pizza pan and put my bread pan on top of it. This is to keep the bottom of the bread pan off the hot cook top so that the bottom of the bread doesn't burn. Then, I take a large kettle and invert it over the bread, which creates an oven. It takes a little longer for the bread to bake, and it doesn't really get that lovely browned top like it does in my electric oven, but it works, and it cooks through, and it tastes yummy.


  1. Brilliant baking method! We have a big cast iron casserole dish. I'd probably try to do Dutch Oven style baking in it, using something like you did to keep it off the hot stove surface.

  2. i like that bread baking idea!

  3. It's not a stone deep dish pizza dish is it? I'd avoid that. I sorta ruined one inverting it and baking things on it. Maybe it wouldn't be bad on a cooktop though...

  4. OK, that's kinda what I thought. Thanks so much for explaining! I'm gonna try that on mine, power outage or not!