This week­end I had an “epic fail” (as the kids say) with my new solar cook­er. I tried to make a sim­ple dish, Arroz con Pol­lo (chick­en with rice), but did not get past 100F. Why?

The sun! As it turns out, Sat­ur­day morn­ing and after­noon was the time moth­er nature chose to break its drought and be cloudy and rainy in Hous­ton. I put the cook­er out with reflec­tors at 10 am, and it was a lit­tle cloudy. As the morn­ing went along, it would be sun­ny, then cloudy, final­ly turn­ing to rain. I could see from the ther­mome­ter that the tem­per­a­ture did not go above 100F. In the end, I pulled the plug on the exper­i­ment around 2 pm when it start­ed rain­ing. So, lessons learned:

1) Try­ing some­thing new is nev­er a mis­take, espe­cial­ly if it was about $7 in ingre­di­ents and 1 hour of time.

2) Nev­er count on the weath­er to be your friend nor your fore­cast­er to be right.

3) Always have a back­up plan. On Sat­ur­day, that was buy­ing ground chick­en and mak­ing chili.

Of course, this will not be my last attempt at a solar meal. It is just one of many!


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