The Hay Box Cooker Has Arrived!

Well it's not a 'cooker' in the conventional sense, and it doesn't have any hay in it and it didn't just magically arrive... but it is a BOX and tomorrow I am going to cook the dinner in it! I don't know why it never occurred to me before to make one of these, I use my slow cooker a great deal and that is just a more modern version. So... the first thing we needed was a suitable box. I have one. It's an old army equipment box given to us many years ago by my father-in-law.

BillySteve uses it as his bedside table. We call it the Keepsake Box because we keep all our old photographs and memorabilia in it...

oh dear...

I knew if I opened it up I'd be there for hours... we did have a laugh I can tell you....... Now where am I going to put all those old pictures? And what is BillySteve going to use as a bedside table? I got a large sturdy cardboard box from this place....

... which is out the back of our local cookshop - all their stock arrives in very substantial cardboard boxes and it just gets re-cycled so after asking permission (not really needed but polite all the same) I helped myself to a suitable box into which I shall put all our keepsakes.

BillySteve will have to do without a bedside table for the moment (I do have a plan but that will take a little longer).. being a technobilly has it's downside! Now that our intended hay box cooker is empty of photographs....

......we have to line it with something to insulate it. We found some polystyrene here....

... there was also some black plastic sheeting which will be very useful in suppressing the weeds at the allotment so I took that too.

...(After knocking on the door to ask permission of course... I'm very polite!) I decided against having the pallet which was balanced temptingly on the top. Pallets are very useful but they do take up a bit of space and since I don't have a project in mind for it at the moment I left it where it was.

So... Billy Steve measured the inside of the box and cut the polystyrene to fit... he sharpened a large carving knife until it was really sharp and used it like a saw on the polystyrene. (And if you look carefully at the background of the picture taken in BillySteve's workshop you can see a pair of bedside tables waiting to be painted... they came from another skip a few weeks ago... but that's another tale... perhaps later.)

We put two layers of polystyrene on the base and one around the sides.

And BillySteve cut out some more polystyrene for the top. The pot will sit on top of the polystyrene in the base ...............

and then it will be wrapped snugly in a blanket

........................ before the polystyrene lid is placed on the top and the lid of the box firmly closed.

... but how does that cook your dinner? Well here is the clever bit... you bring the food in the pot up to boiling point on your conventional cooker and boil it for a few minutes (the length of time is dependant upon what you are cooking) before covering the top of your pan with tin foil and then putting on the lid. You quickly transfer the pot to the Hay Box Cooker... where it will sit nice and snug all wrapped up for several hours... after which time... your meal is cooked.

Mmmmm... I've never done this before... so ... tonight... I am going to try it with a pot of porridge for our breakfast... although porridge does not take too long on the stove top it will be a good first try-out of the cooker... without spoiling too many ingredients if it doesn't work (I am assured by several internet sites that it will work...) I will let you know.


  1. Fascinating, can't wait for your next post.

  2. That's really interesting,same concept as a Thermal Cooker,i bought a Dream-Pot a few month's ago,was very expensive,$250,here in Australia,wish i had seen your idea,would have saved heap's,i'm interested to hear how your food comes out,should be good.

  3. I made one of these out of a cardboard box and some packaging from an ebay purchase!
    The only thing I did differently is that I also lined the inside of the box with tinfoil, shiny side pointing inwards to reflect more heat inside the box.


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