Update from the Oven Team

The last couple of days have been a roller coaster ride of creative ideas. Sometimes it seemed like we had a thousand different ideas on what to do or how to execute this project. The beginning of this project was definitely an overwhelming feeling that was hard to overcome but the next minute the creative spring had completely dried up. The cause of all our anguish was revolved around the idea that what the Kitchen Lab really needed was a functional kitchen component.

The trouble started as we debated what sort of cooking we would like to include, as that would dictate the kind of materials we would need to develop for inside the module. During the brainstorming session, we had numerous ideas that each member brought. One of the ideas that were brought up was a solar oven which would be the best option for Open Field, as the area is usually quite sunny and doesn’t lack for direct sunlight, so it just became a matter of harnessing the power of the sun to use as an education source for kids and adults as an environmental safe to cook food.

After some initial researching on the internet, we had a basic idea of the construction of the box and the materials we would need.  Diving into the prototyping phase, we constructed a couple different small boxes using the different techniques we had learned such as a cone shaped box, or just a regular box shaped solar oven.

It wasn’t until a particularly inspired trip to the Home Depot that we managed to find the perfect material for creating a reflective surface for the oven.  It was a reflective insulating material and an aluminum tape used in houses which was an absolute great material to use for the solar oven.  It became clear, even during the construction of the box, that this was exactly the material that we needed to have for our solar oven.  Our eyes blinded, as we stared into the box, we witnessed the first signs of success as a couple practice s’mores melted into mouth watering gooeyness.

Now comes the difficult part, the programming of the event for the Open Field.  We’ve thrown a lot of ideas around, but it looks like that we’re going to try making a fondue. We felt that fondue will be a great recipe because it was definitely a relationship with the hearth and our relationship to the hearth as a community by engaging one another.  We’ve never known for certain the highest temperature that our solar oven can reach, but we do know that it can melt things.  We’re thinking of gearing our programming around the communal aspect of different varieties of fondue, but perhaps having questions wrapped around the utensils that spark conversations around our solar hearth. This will be a great start of event to engage one another as well as educating the community by using the sun as natural resources.