Sunday, March 27, 2022

Erin is Cooking with Gas

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Up until now I've only ever cooked on electric ranges or over fires, and never over any kind of gas fuel like propane, butane, or whatever constitutes natural gas. This is partly because I've never lived in places where gas cooking was an option, and partly -- mostly, really -- because I'm the kind of person who sets off the fire alarm while boiling water* and so I stay away from any cooking that doesn't involve reheating prepackaged goods. 

However, since I've started experimenting with different methods of starting fires I thought it would be best to branch out. Back in January, my friend and BCP Facebook Group member Katianna Hebden was extolling the virtues of her MSR Pocket Rocket 2, and while I don't like the idea of packing bulky fuel cannisters into a bug out or get home bag, the thought of having such a burner intrigued me. After all, they are small and light, and if I happened upon a fuel cannister then I could make use of one. (Of course, if I happen upon a fuel cannister then I'd probably find a burner too, but if I followed that logic I wouldn't be writing this today.)

The biggest problem with burners like the MSR Pocket Rocket and the Jetboil is that they are expensive and I am cheap thrifty. However, I managed to find one on Amazon that is both inexpensive ($16) and has a good chance of not being junk (4.5 stars, 4200 reviews).

With a name like "AOTU Portable Camping Stoves Backpacking Stove with Piezo Ignition Stable Support Wind-Resistance Camp Stove for Outdoor Camping Hiking Cooking"  and the fact that AOTU doesn't even sound like a company but rather a jumble of letters, this is probably a Chinese knockoff of an MSR stove. But for under $20 and really good reviews, I'll give it a try. 

Of course, this meant I'd also need to buy a fuel cannister. I shopped around and the best deal I found was a Coleman-branded 15.5 oz cannister of Isobutane for $7.72 at Walmart. I had to pick it up at the store instead of having it delivered, but I considered that acceptable since Amazon wanted to charge me $13 for literally half that volume. 

So for under $25, I can test a budget gas cooking system. I'm happy with this deal. 

Between this and the story below I feel like this post has gone on for long enough, so next week I'll put this system through its paces and review both the stove and the gas.

* No, really. My mother was recovering from a knee surgery and she wanted me to make dog food, which involves cooking chickens until the meat falls off, then boiling the bones for broth. Following her instructions -- this is important, because I swear to you I did what she told me to do -- I filled the stock pot with water, put in the chicken bones, and set the burner on "high". Then I went into the next room to do some writing. 

The next thing I know the fire alarm is screaming, there's an acrid smell, and the phone is ringing because the house alarm is rigged to the smoke alarm. When the smoke alarm goes off it contacts the alarm company and automatically calls 911, and the alarm company was calling us to see if it's a false alarm. I can't answer because I'm dealing with the fact that the stove burner has literally burned through the bottom of the blue enamel stockpot sending hot broth everywhere, and now the house smells like an electrical fire in a chicken soup can. 

Because I didn't answer, the alarm company didn't call 911 to tell them to stand down. This meant that as I was dealing with the mess, and the smell, and my family yelling at me, and the dogs freaking out over everything, a fire truck pulled up outside with its siren blaring and its lights flashing. 
I end up having to tell a bunch of firefighters that no, the house isn't on fire, I'm just a derp who set a pot on fire by boiling water. And then their officer ended up coming inside to check that the situation is contained before they leave, which of course mortified mom because she was in a bathrobe and the house wasn't clean enough for company. 

On the plus side, my mother hasn't asked me to cook since then. 

1 comment:

  1. Hahahahaha! My wife grew up with 'staff' and doesn't really cook, so this is certainly is something she might do!
    Good thing she doesn't read the blog!!!


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