Learn to Cook Dinner Using Your Engine Block
Cooking with your car—it may seem outlandish now, but there was a time when this was not such a crazy concept. Big-truckers have been known to wrap up a dinner and put it on the manifold, noting recipes that call for miles driven to estimate cook time rather than minutes in the oven. But you don’t have to be a trucker to take part in this fun form of cooking. The tradition of cooking using engine heat goes well beyond the days of long-line truckers. As far back as the 1920s, there were accessories designed specifically for harnessing the power of the automobile for culinary purposes. One of the more popular ones was this Model T cook box, which would use the intense heat of the engine’s manifold to heat whatever was in the box. You could wrap some meat in foil, put it in the box, and after driving a few miles, voila! RELATED: See more images of the 1926 Ford Model T Roadster
For some time, truckers and campers on the road would simply poke holes in the top of a can of food and put it right on the manifold. This is NOT recommended, as many of the cans used for canned food are coated in an epoxy resin. But there are ways to cook food in a modern car on your daily commute.
You need to plan the right meal for the right trip. If you are on a long road trip, then maybe its the roast that needs an hour or to to warm up, but if it is a commute to work or home, then something like hot dogs will be fine.
The key is to know how long your trip is, and go from there. So say you’ve landed on hot dogs, simply cut a few slits in each dog so they don’t burst, and put in a well-wrapped pocket of aluminum foil with butter or oil (not motor oil). Make sure the foil is wrapped up well, and place in a hot location in your engine bay. You’ll have to feel around, without actually touching the hot element.
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Place the foil pocket firmly in that hot section of the engine so it does not move, and maybe even secure it with some metal wire. Drive until the food is ready, which may require some trial and error. Thankfully hot dogs are pretty resilient, and you can get a big package of them for re-do’s. Carefully remove the food using tongs, and give it a try!
You could take these very brief instructions to heart, or you could learn from the experts who can cook more than just the basic frank. Check out the book “Manifold Destiny,” on Amazon, which is considered the ultimate engine bay cook book. Try a few of the recipes and let us know how it went!
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