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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Our Honolulu
Sun's rays can heat great curry

By Bob Krauss
Advertiser Staff Writer

The seventh-grade science class at Moanalua Middle School is prepared for a California-style electricity blackout.

Last week, they baked a cake, scrambled and poached eggs, toasted marshmallows and melted chocolate, fried sausage and boiled water all without assistance from Hawaiian Electric Co.

They probably spent a grand total of $10 on appliances made of cardboard cartons, old newspapers, foil, plastic hose, Saran wrap, scrap lumber and ingenuity. Energy from the sun came free.

"The big surprise was their enthusiasm for the project," said science teacher Corinne Waterhouse. "They came before school started, worked during lunch break and stayed after class. I had to put crime tape around the little garden where they worked to keep other students from crowding in."

The idea was how to use the sun in everyday life. Some of the contraptions the students came up with were more picturesque than practical.

Others — for making stew, cooking a casserole or even baking cupcakes — proved surprisingly efficient in the event of a power outage. Here are some examples:

• MADISON BROOKE'S CUPCAKE OVEN: Brooke stacked two open-ended, foiled-lined cartons on top of one another to make an oven. Cupcakes go on the top in a pan. (The big cake she put in took too long.)

A cardboard flap lined with foil tilts over the oven to reflect into it. Foil lining keeps heat inside. It's a slow bake, four to five hours. Students reported the result to be moist and fresh.

• ASHLY IKIHARA'S CASSEROLE COOKER: Ikihara flattened a cardboard carton, shaped it like a funnel and pasted foil over it to reflect heat down. She put two blocks of wood covered with foil at the bottom to reflect heat up.

The baking dish, containing raw corn and broccoli, sat in the bottom on a wire grill. A camp frying pan painted black covered the dish. This contraption cooked the corn and broccoli in 50 minutes. It could simmer a pot of stew.

• MICHAEL KAWAKAMI'S SOLAR MICROWAVE: Kawakami boiled a bag of instant curry in his solar microwave. He could also heat up instant saimin or soup.

The curry bag goes into a coffee can filled with water. The can sits in a cardboard box lined with foil. A foil flap on top directs heat at the can. The curry was ready to eat in 30 minutes.

• SCRAMBLED EGGS A LA CHASE HAMANO: This all-purpose fryer is in the experimental stage but seems to show promise. Hamano used two magnifying glasses mounted on scrap lumber to focus heat at two flat pieces of metal.

The metal is in with the eggs and cooks them as it heats. The eggs cooked in 15 minutes, then started to burn. However, the eggs stuck to the metal. Hamano thinks cooking oil will help.

There isn't space to describe more of the appliances. The students said some of their ideas came from a Web site, solarcooking.org.