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
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 nutrition.
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 enemies.
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
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.
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
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
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 costs
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 costs.
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 off.
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, etc.