Nostalgic for solar hot dogs, circa 1979

“We are at a critical moment in the earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose either to continue on its present disastrous course or to live within the earth’s limits and move towards a just and equitable society.”

             “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”                        American Declaration of Independence 1776

Solar parabolic cooker 1979

During the early 1980’s with the proliferation of satellite Television I envisioned satellite dishes being converted into solar parabolic stoves. Today I dream of governments and power utilities offering an emergency planetary harm reduction exchange program; free solar cookers are offered, especially in exchange for propane barbecues. An added bonus is that people would probably eat less meat and this would reduce world hunger!


Hybrid solar electric cookerHere is a brilliant cooker designed in India, a solar-electric hybrid model. When  the sun goes behind the clouds or it is dark, a 100 to 200 watt heating element kicks in. Solar ovens are slow cookers operating between 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Although they take twice the cooking time this keeps food full of flavor and nutritional value. 


Solar parabolic cooker from India

Another brilliant solar cooker from India. This model is another parabolic stove, that focuses the sun rays to the hot plate in the centre. India is like many developing countries – full of innovative ideas, and per capita use much less energy than people in richer nations.

Check out this  You Tube of the worlds largest solar kitchen in the Indian holy town of Shirdi – it feeds 38,500 people!









In my view, one of the main problem in world today, is inequity.  In poor countries many people only earn a dollar or two a day, and therefore can’t even afford food to feed their families, let alone buy a solar device to cook food.

I wonder what my grandparents would think, if they saw the world today – a world of plenty and a world of waste –  a world of want and a world of need. Would they believe it is self evident, that all people are created equal?

Grandma Witzel

Grandpa Witzel

Grandma Witzel is on the left. Grandpa Witzel is holding my father, who I wrote about in the previous post entitled The Sun is My Heart. These photos would be from the early 1920’s, almost 100 years ago.

This post was inspired by the weekly photo challenge: Nostalgic

Peace to all – Bruce


7 thoughts on “Nostalgic for solar hot dogs, circa 1979

    • That is a good question, Tanya. Many people have asked where they can get them. They are available at a few specialty places like Real Goods or the non profit org. Solar Cookers International, or direct from manufacturers – even camping stores don’t carry them. I think the fossil fuel based paradigm has prevailed, in conjunction with a strong believe system that solar power only works if it is hot outside. I’ve solar cooked in February when it 3 or 4 degrees Celsius outside.

  1. How are you going to incinerate sausages and burgers on one of those Bruce?

    There’s no doubting we have the means and technology to deal with inequity but collectively we don’t have the will. It’s easy to imagine the messy end result as the world’s resources grow scarce, but we’ll still continue to kick the can down the road and pull up our personal drawbridges.

    • That’s right on Roy – it’s not that we don’t have the means, rather we don’t have the will. People (including me) are willing to pay big money to consume and buy so many things, and yet when it comes to conserving or voluntary simplicity – well, that’se not ususally our first choice. Education in the possibilities is a starting point. Whenever I’ve demonstrated solar cooking in different fairs, etc., people are awestruck. As long as it is sunny that is 🙂 Otherwise I run and hide with a bag over my head, like Sylevester the Cat. In terms of optimism vs. pessimism, I swing back and forth, and I always struggle with using “hard hitting doomsday quotes”. In the end though I like to bring balance and hope, that change is possible . . . sort of like that old saying about paradigms – “shift happens”.

      Thank you so much for the feeback. Oh – and I actually have incinerated a cake in a solar cooker once or twice, although it takes a little longer. Best regards to you over in the little isle in Jersey.

      P.S – Gee one day I’m going to wrestle that little sacred kindle from Fran, and read your book ‘The Tess of Portelet Manor’ – Fran has said it is a wonderful novel.

  2. Exactly – I hardly follow the main stream news anymore . Let me quess . . . today, somewhere on this blue/green earth, there will be more flooding and a heat wave.

    I just wish their was more reporting of real solutions, instead of always the problems, making a bleak view of world . . . leading to apathy, and more bleakness. Argh. I’m not talking about looking through rose coloured glaseses. just a bit of equity. It seems good news doesn’t sell well, unless of course, it’s religion! How’s that for a mini rant?

    Hey ho – hey ho . . . it’s off to work I go . . . I got to head out to the world now, and work on buildin it up. Hopefully there’s not to much tearin it down, today.

    Thanks for your post and this encouraging comment this morning. Peace to you.

  3. Maybe plastic lenses held out just far enough to cook a pork chop… Interesting idea Bruce! I was delighted when I found out they could finally recycle plastics back into a fuel product. I can already see a better world coming… Now if we’d all only switch to electric cars.

    Excellent blog Bruce! It’s good to see real people, taking real action, against real problems. Finally! There’s no news like good news :O)

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