The Wonder What?
Have you heard of the WonderBag?
My Wonder Bag Hard At Work
Where The WonderBag Is Made
Making It While Having So Little
Sometimes, here in the USA and many other countries in the West, we forget just how much some people learn to live without. I was particularly taken by the video below which not only shows the production of the Wonderbag, but also the benefits the factory employees get from its sales and overall impact on their communities. To them, it’s not about making and selling, but learning new skills, being better able to feed their families, and creating opportunities for more people, especially women, to seek education. Please take a moment to visit this article about the overall impact of the Wonderbag on the people who benefit from it. Do watch the videos on the page.
A Blessing In Third World Nations
Double Double, No Toil Or Trouble
If I were to become passionate about any one item, it would be the Wonderbag. Not heard of it? I hadn't either until a friend gifted me with one. Considering the original target for the bags were families in developing countries, you must be wondering why I would be so earnest in my desire to see this enterprise take off here in the USA. For those peoples in Africa and other developing nations, one third of their earnings go to wood fuel used in cooking. It may be difficult to wrap your mind around someone paying one third of their wages for wood fuel so they can prepare their meals. Here in the USA, we're accustomed to wasting fuel in many instances and paying high prices for the utilities of which our cooking costs are a small part. What we stand to gain here in the USA would be more free time.
Let's look first at the person who works an eight-hour a day job which keeps them away from home for say nine or more hours of a day. Single people many times will opt to eat out more often than families may be able to afford. Take the single mother who has to get her kids home from a sitter or day care after work and then get meals on the table, homework done and prep for the next day. Being able to squeeze in quality time is a by-product of using this wonderful device. What if a mother could start her meal when she got home and after twenty minutes of preparation set it to cook while she gets the kids sorted and ready to eat. By the time homework is done, baths are taken and kids are settled, it's time to open the wonder bag and take out dinner. In a dual parent household evening tasks can be shared thus freeing up more time. Using the Wonderbag increases even more the amount of free time which can be spent together.
For me, a single person with a full-time job and multiple interests, getting a meal together every night after work doesn't appeal and my budget doesn't permit dining out everyday at establishments I prefer. So, get my meal together in the morning before I leave to work, set it to boil and nest it in the bag and I'm done. I don't have to worry about the food burning or the kitchen catching fire. When I get home excepting maybe cooking rice or potatoes (instant in the microwave) I have more free time and a meal prepared. I can also save leftovers for lunch or the next evening meal. What's more, I will eat what I cook because it tastes good and I know what's in it. Oh, and there's that free time to write, read, attend evening events also.
Do you know what the icing on top of the cake in all of this is? For every Wonderbag sold in the USA, another is donated to a family in Africa or to humanitarian aid. Just like that. Reducing impact on the environment and helping someone in need in another part of the world. You can buy your Wonderbag at Amazon. When visiting the Wonderbag home page, not only will you find more information about the bag, but also recipes from around the world.
Caveats From the Manufacturer
You'll find the information below in your handbook which comes with the bag or on the website.
- Keep in mind this will continue to cook your food in the bag for up to 12 hours after being brought to a boil. Plan you timing accordingly.
- It's best to use a size pot which will be full once all ingredients have been added.
- Be sure to use a pan with a tightly fitting lid.
- It's okay to use less liquid than usual in your regular recipes since there is no evaporation during cooking.
- Put a kitchen towel in the bag before sitting the pot inside to protect from spills. Put another one over the top of the lidded pot in case any steam escapes around the lid.
- The Wonderbag can be spot-washed and hung to dry.
- Salt and acidic foods (e.g., tomatoes) will not allow beans to soften, so precook your beans if you'll be using a tomato based sauce. Salt after the pot comes out of the bag.
A Test Run
Another Way To Use The Bag
Going by the tips for making beans, since I wasn't using a tomato-base sauce, I didn't need to soak them. I was just hoping to reduce the cooking time. I heated some towels and a bowl in the oven. I put the dried beans in the bowl, then filled the bowl with very hot tap water to soak them. I covered the bowl with a lid. I put two of the warm towels on the bottom of the WonderBag then placed the bowl on top of these. I covered the top of the bowl with the third warmed towel, then closed the bag.
How another woman uses it.
- I prepare rice and potatoes first then leave them on the stove top (turned off) until the main dish is ready. It's easy to microwave the rice or potatoes or reheat them.
- Start a diary for your Wonderbag experience. This will allow you to make notes as to what works or didn't and variations to your recipes. You can also note your recipes in the diary as well.
- Visit my Pinterest Wonderbag board. You'll find tips, recipes and other information for the Wonderbag.
- Rice in the Wonderbag. This blog article provides instruction for making the perfect rice in your wonderbag. When I made my rice, I forgot to follow the recipe exactly and did what I always do, rinsed and soaked my rice. I learned this in Japan many years ago. As a result my rice was sticky. Instead, now, I use a quarter cup less water with my rice after I've soaked it. Watch this video on making rice in the WonderBag.
- Some people like to take these on camping trips and engaged other traveling. They pack light in a backpack.
- Boil a stew pot full of water and put it in the wonderbag a few hours before you are ready to bag your food. I use the water later for washing dishes.
Japanese Style Curry
Part of the Family
WATCH: The Wonderbag Is Generating Heat and Social Change
- WATCH: The Wonderbag Is Generating Heat and Social Change
- join the Wonderbag™ Revolution
Find recipes, tips and other information about the WonderBag.
- The Slow Cooker That Requires No Electricity - The Atlantic
Wonderbags are thermal-retention cookers, technology that's been around since humans realized that wrapping up a hot pot can save precious fuel. And now one South African entrepreneur has figured out how to sell them around the globe.
I love my bag and don't know what I'd do without it. Those occasions I make the choice to prepare meals at home, I treasure this addition to my kitchen.
© 2014 Tanya Jones