I know we don't really need one, the Rayburn does all the cooking while also heating the house and the water. It is simply to satisfy my curiosity.
My long-suffering husband is going to make one for me, using the instructions from an old book on Haybox construction and cookery.
This illustration gives one method. It is slightly different from the old book which I have, but the basic principle is the same.
|Image borrowed from: greencooking.wikidot.com/hayboxes|
You simply need a strong wooden box with a tight-fitting lid, make sure there are no open cracks.
The box should be well lined to keep it as airtight as possible. You could use old newspapers covered with old blanket and lined with calico - or modern insulating materials. Definitely not the asbestos sheets which this book recommends!
Pack the box really tightly with small balls of newspaper, almost filling the box. To go on top of the filling, make two calico cushions which should be tightly stuffed with balls of paper.
The lid of the box should be hinged on one side and the other fixed with a hook so that the inside of the box is as well insulated as possible, so the two cushions should press well down on top of the filling.
The idea is to make sure that the hot food put into the box continues to cook as long as possible in its own heat. Therefore it needs to be as hot as possible when it is put in. In general it is suggested that food should be cooked for a third of the time that it would normally take to cook by heat, then it should be quickly transferred to the hay box. It should then be left in the closed hay box for at least twice as long as you would normally cook it, although you could leave it for longer.
Other uses of a haybox.
Washing - stains can be removed if cloths are put in cold water with a little borax, brought to the boil and then left for six hours in the hay box.
Shaving water can be ready first thing in the morning if it is boiled at night and then left in the haybox.
Chicken Food can be cooked through the night, ready for a warm feed in the morning - just don't mix up which pan has the hens' mash and which one holds the porridge.
Note: It is essential that the saucepan transferred to the hay box should be nearly full and the contents brought to boiling point before they are put in, which must be done as quickly as possible so that the minimum amount of heat is lost.
I just need to find a suitable wooden box; for some reason he is reluctant to let me experiment on the little wooden trunk which he uses as a bedside cabinet. Meanie!
It is also worth pointing out that we should be careful about what books we give to our children...
Happy Birthday to my youngest. Thirty-four years old, today! See you later. xxx