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#1 Tue 18 Jun 13 9:55pm

CatyL

Member
Occupation Free Lance Editor
From San Francisco CA
Member since Mon 26 Apr 10

"Wonderbag" Cooking

I'm wondering if anyone on this board has heard of, heard ABOUT, or used the "Wonderbag," as a means of insulated, slow cooking that doesn't use a continued application of outside heat.

It came to my attention on another cooking site, and I was intrigued.  The website, if I interpret it correctly, says that the product is distributed in some African countries, and is for sale in the UK and Turkey.

I e-mailed an inquiry about sales in the US, and was told that the plan is to offer it for sale, here, later this year.   The response, further, said that the founder of the company is in my area this week ... presumably for marketing purposes ... and I have an appointment to meet with her tomorrow.  She's going to sell me one, and I'll be able to avoid the cost/time consumption of shipping.

I'm already thinking of recipes (the website has a few), and I'm getting quite excited about a new cooking application.  I love the clay (terracotta) pot, but think that the electric "crock pot" is over rated. 

Any thoughts, or questions that I should pose in my meeting, tomorrow ??

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#2 Tue 18 Jun 13 11:05pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: "Wonderbag" Cooking

My main question would be to ask how the temperature can be kept at a high enough temperature to kill off and unpleasant bacteria that are present in meat .

With a slow cooker / crock pot I cook the meat on high for the first hour then turn it down . I don't think the slow cooker / crockpot is over rated at all as it saves me putting on the main oven and cooks even the toughest of meat joints to a fall apart texture , it can also be put on in the morning so you can return from work to a hot meat.

I have a terracotta tagine  that I also think of as a slow cooker , but that's different to the electric one and I often use it over coals on a small BBQ type pot.

When I was in the girl guides many years ago , we would cook stews , potatoes , porridge etc in a hay box . This was a wooden tea chest that was packed tight with hay but had a huge liddec saucepan sized hole in he tightly packed hay . The lidded pan had been heated fully before it was put into the hay box then more hay packed on the top followed by a wooden lid that was weighted to stop it blowing off ( and if it was for a stew the meat would  have been heated well for quite a while ) . Porridge was put to cook in the box before we went to sleep so it was ready for the morning and after breakfast the meat stew  was put into one box whilst the potatoes were put into another .
I presume this wonder bag works on a similar principal .

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#3 Tue 18 Jun 13 11:46pm

Maree

Forum super champ
From Newcastle, Australia
Member since Sat 10 Mar 07

Re: "Wonderbag" Cooking

Hmmm


"Cook with love and laughter ..."
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#4 Wed 19 Jun 13 12:12am

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: "Wonderbag" Cooking

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-develo … ping-world

Ok . found it ...so it's sort of like the old hay box principle .

**I'd also want to know if its washable or if it has a washable lining as inevertably at some point here will be spills on he bag o I will get really grubby through wear.

I have had a look a what it says about the bag and its just filled with recycled polystyrene .  Presume this is the polystyrene beads , so from what I see  it's sort of like  a flat bean bag , presumably with some sort of channels that are filled with the beads to keep the beads in place.

**I would like to know , if like a bean bag that you sit on , do the polystyrene beads flatten over time and need to be topped up ?

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#5 Wed 19 Jun 13 4:50am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: "Wonderbag" Cooking

you can get camping thermos style cookers here. You start the cooking then they are sealed up. Looks like a wide mouth thermos and some have compartments. My dad has one. Got it from Aldi so i assume this "technology," is very readily available without having to get someone to fly it in or have a handy bail of hay or an actual slow cooker and the power to run it. I think thermos style would be easier to wash.

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#6 Wed 19 Jun 13 8:41am

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: "Wonderbag" Cooking

'Bale of hay' was around 40 years ago White Rabbit !
But when there were electricity strikes some years ago I remember adopting the same principle so that we could still cook .

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#7 Wed 19 Jun 13 11:10am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: "Wonderbag" Cooking

I think it's a great idea. Might try it when the kids are older.

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#8 Tue 25 Jun 13 9:07pm

CatyL

Member
Occupation Free Lance Editor
From San Francisco CA
Member since Mon 26 Apr 10

Re: "Wonderbag" Cooking

Well, I bought my Wonderbag, and tried it on Sunday. 

I wasn't overly enthusiastic about the results of the dish that I prepared, but I'll try other things with other "formats."

(I attempted an adaptation of a dinner that I prepare in the terracotta "clay pot."  It's a layer of rice w/herbs, followed by a layer of chicken [breasts or leg/thighs] and topped with hearty veggies.  All ingredients go, RAW, into the water soaked clay pot, then into a cold oven.  As the oven heat is increased, the clay pot becomes an "oven-within-an-oven," and the dinner is steamed to perfection.)

-Per general instructions for the Wonderbag," I browned the chicken well, and brought the rice to a boil for 5 minutes.  I put the meat, topped with the veggies, into a steam insert above the rice, and put on the top.  I put the pan in the Wonderbag for 4 hours (the instructions for chicken call for "at least" 2 hours, noting that longer will result in tenderer chicken).

-The rice was very fluffy, and some of the juices from the browned meat DID seep through the insert for added flavor. 
The chicken was fine ... cooked through ... but nothing out of the ordinary. 

-The biggest disappointment was that the heat isn't intense enough to cook the carrots, onions and turnips so that they are able to contribute their flavor to the whole.   I did add some crimini mushrooms to the very top, and they did better than the heartier veggies.   (In the clay pot, everything shares its own flavor with everything else, for a lovely balance.) 

Even though the representative of the company told me that the steam insert would work, I think that this type of cooking is best used for stews, soups, etc., where everything is combined at the same level.  I will, eventually try this dish that way.

My first impression isn't stellar, but my jury is still out.

Last edited by CatyL (Tue 25 Jun 13 9:10pm)

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