Rise and shine with a Cookit baking tin with cake batter, about four hours of time and a lot of sunlight. The reward: a sunshine-baked spice cake. Bos attracted a lot of attention by doing this. And students and staff enjoyed the cake.
Bos is the treasurer of the KoZon foundation, which stands for 'cooking with the sun'. For more than ten years, this Wageningen foundation has been promoting cooking with sunlight in developing countries. By carrying out this activity in front of the Forum building, KoZon aims to woo new donors for this undertaking. 'This building just cries out for such a demonstration, with an entrance like this facing south,' realizes the retired plant breeder. In direct sunlight and sheltered from the wind, the location is indeed scorching hot.
The Cookit is in fact nothing more than a foldable cardboard box lined with aluminium foil on the inside. The box is folded in such a way as to direct the sun's rays to the centre of the box. In the centre is the cake tin, inside a heatproof plastic bag. This bag is essential. 'The bag keeps out infrared radiation, almost similar to the greenhouse effect, and causes warmth to rise considerably.' The thermometer in the cake registers 98 degrees Celsius.
KoZon has ongoing projects in Chad, Mali and Niger. The foundation also provides knowhow and materials. In particular, aluminium is difficult to obtain in these countries, Bos explains. But a solution has been found. 'We get this free of charge from the Rockpool company, known for insulation materials in construction. We then ship these to these countries.'
Cooking with warmth from the sun would cut down on the use of firewood and reduce the workload of women, says Bos. Using wood to cook causes deforestation, soil erosion and transforms land into desert. Moreover, it increases the emission of carbon dioxide. Women (and children) often have to travel long distances to gather firewood.