SAVING MONEY WITH A THERMOS BOTTLE
By Kurt Saxon
Many subscribers write that they will eventually buy all my books but they
can't afford them at this time. Many are students on limited allowances.
Some are on Social Security or pensions. Others are on Welfare, as I was
after an injury, when I got $86.00 per month in l969. I paid $50.00 for rent
and had only $36.00 left for food and incidentals. Even so, I ate better
than before. Prices were indeed lower then but, surprisingly, the costs of
the more basic foods have hardly changed.
For instance, 60 pounds of hard red winter wheat, the highest in protein,
minerals and vitamins, averages $8.00 (240 breakfasts at 4 cents each). Brown
rice, also higher in nutrition than white, costs $14.00 for 25 pounds. Also
200 servings since rice swells twice as large as wheat. These are bought
in bulk at any feed and seed store.
Wheat and rice are the staple foods of billions and, if prepared my way,
will fill you up, give you boundless energy; and cost nothing, if you consider
that the saving in gas or electricity will offset their purchase prices.
I do not mean that wheat and rice, plain, is what I am asking you to live
on. When is the last time you have eaten a potato plain? I am simply suggesting
you process all your food in inexpensive, energy-saving ways and eat better
than you ever have for less than $10.00 per week. Then you can not only afford
all my books but many other things you have wanted but had to do without
because most of your food budget goes to pay others to do what you should
learn to do for yourself.
The thermos and the dehydrator are first steps in eating better for so much
less. As a Survivalist, you will have to understand food preparation or you
might as well eat, drink and be merry in the short time you have left.
A great factor which makes this practical and easy to understand is that
since it is by a man, it is basic, gut-level and moron-simple. You won't
even need to open a cookbook.
First the thermos. There are three kinds but only one is practical. Forget
the cheap, plastic ones lined with Styrofoam. These might cook oatmeal and
white rice but do not have the heat holding power you need. Silvered glass
thermoses are fine, but a bump will break them. Also, since you are going
to do actual cooking and will use a fork to remove the contents, they will
not hold up.
The only practical cooking thermos is the Aladdin Stanley. It is lined with
stainless steel, is well insulated and will keep steaming hot for up to 24
hours and holds a quart. It is also unbreakable, with a lifetime warranty.
It costs $22.00 at Wal-Mart or can be ordered through any sporting goods
store. It would save you its price in a few days. If you have a family, get
two or three.
Most foods cook at 180 degrees or more. We are used to boiling, which is
212 degrees, and foods do cook faster, the higher the temperature. But if
time is not important, cooking at a lower temperature is even better as most
vitamins are not broken down. Thus, if you cook at a minimum heat, you save
A great factor in thermos cooking is the saving in the cost of energy. Whereas
it would take about two hours to cook whole-grain wheat or nearly an hour
to cook brown rice. Thermos cookery takes only five minutes to cook anything.
So it is indeed possible to save as much in energy as you spend on the food.
You can imagine the convenience of thermos cookery in camping, which would
save on wood, weight of food carried, and no food odors to alert bears or
Thermos cookery is also an advantage to anyone living where he is not allowed
to cook. There are no cooking odors to tip off the landlord.
First, you need the thermos. Then you need a heat source. If you are in a
non-cooking room, buy a cheap, one burner hot plate from your local Wal-Mart,
Target, Sears etc. You will need a one quart saucepan. You will also need
a special funnel to quickly pour the pan's contents into the thermos, plus
a spoon or fork to help the last of the food into the funnel.
To make the funnel, cut off the bottom four inches from a gallon plastic
milk container. If you do not buy milk or cannot find an empty container,
go to your nearest laundromat. You will find in the trash receptacle, an
empty gallon bleach bottle. Use that the same as the milk container but wash
it until there is no more bleach odor.
The first step in thermos cookery is to fill the thermos with water up to
the point reached by the stopper. Empty the water into the saucepan and make
a scratch or other indelible mark at the water's surface inside the saucepan.
This will allow you to put just enough water in the saucepan, as too much
will leave food out and too little will give you less cooking water.
Just to test how the cooker works, start with four ounces of wheat. You do
not need to buy 60 pounds. You can buy two pounds from your health food store
for about $.80 This would give you eight meals at 10 cents each.
In the evening, put four ounces in your saucepan, plus a half-teaspoon of
salt to prevent flatness, even if you intend to sweeten it. Fill to the mark
with water. (If you have hot water, let the tap run until it is hottest.
Tests have shown that less energy is used in using hot tap water than in
boiling from cold.) Bring the contents to a rolling boil, stirring all the
while. This will take from three to five minutes.
Then quickly, but carefully, swirl and pour the contents into the funnel
and help any lagging matter from the pan to the funnel and into the thermos.
Cap firmly but not tightly, shake and lay the thermos on its side, to keep
the contents even.
Next morning open the thermos and pour its contents into the saucepan. With
four ounces of dry wheat, you will now have at least 3/4 pound of cooked
wheat and about a pint of vitamin and mineral enriched water. It has a pleasant
taste. Drink it.
You can now put milk and sweetener on it or margarine, salt and pepper, etc.
If you can eat the whole 3/4 of a pound, you will be surprised at how energetic
you feel for the next several hours. An added bonus is its high fiber content.
Having tried the four ounce portion, you might next use eight ounces. This
will absorb most of the water. It is unlikely that you could eat a pound
and a half of cooked whole grain wheat. You can either divide it and eat
the other half for supper or if you are a family man, make it the family
breakfast food to replace the expensive brand.
If you have children, get them into the act by fantasizing they are Rangers
on a jungle patrol.
For lunch, prepare a few ounces of hamburger or other meat chopped finely,
plus chopped potatoes and other vegetables the night before. After breakfast,
put these and the right amount of water in the saucepan and prepare as usual.
At lunchtime you will have a quart of really delicious stew. Since nothing
leaves the thermos in cooking, as contrasted to the flavor leaving stew cooking
on the stove, you can understand the better tasting, higher vitamin content
of thermos stew.
Lunch and possibly supper should not cost you more than 25 cents if you study
the article on the dehydrator. Jerky and dried vegetable stew is good and
The brown rice dishes could also be either a main course or desert. Brown
rice has a much greater swelling factor than wheat so four ounces of rice
will pretty much fill the thermos. You can put vegetables and meat in it
to cook or try a favorite of mine. It is four ounces of brown rice, 9 cents;
one ounce of powdered milk, 10 cents in a large box; two ounces of raisins,
22 cents; one teaspoon of salt; some cinnamon and four saccharine tablets.
Cook overnight. This is 46 cents for 1 1/2 pounds of desert.
With some experimenting, you can become an expert in thermos cookery. If
you are single and live alone, you could, conceivably, eat nothing except
what you cooked in a thermos. But if you are married, and especially if you
have children, don't push it. Even with the economy of this system, it's
not worth alienating your family. If your wife doesn't like it, challenge
her to make the food tastier and think up some thermos recipes. You might
also tell her the advantages of thermos cookery.
For one thing, she would spend much less time in the kitchen. What with the
expected brownouts, she could do all the cooking in five, ten, fifteen minutes,
depending on how many thermos bottles she used. Another important factor
is that, especially during the heat waves, the home would not suffer the
added heat from the kitchen. This would also cut down on the air conditioning
A tip you may not have known is that the pilot light in a gas stove not only
raises the temperature in the kitchen but also accounts for a fourth of all
the gas burned in the stove. Matches are much cheaper. Turn the pilot light
Be sure to get SURVIVOR Vol. 1 for a full course on inexpensive but tasty
and nourishing food, plus sprouting for green vegetables, soy milk, tofu,