I love to study anything pertaining to the history of our foodways and was surprised to find something about "fireless cooking" that pointed right to the Federated Women's Club and something members did in 1911!
The story begins this way: The General Federation of Women's Clubs was formed in the United States in 1890. In Germany, a similar action resulted in the formation of clubs in 1906. One of the first things the German club women did was launch an effort to teach women who had to work in the fields on farms all day ... how to use a method of fireless cooking, so they could return to their homes after working all day and have a meal that was ready.
This 1906 method was fairly simple. A pot of food was brought to a boil in the morning. Then, with the lid in place, the pot was dropped into a well made in a block of straw ... then it was covered with even more straw, so the pot continued to steam and simmer all day. By the end of the day, the pot of food was done and ready to eat. The straw provided the necessary insulation ... and sometimes the family actually had a box made of wood that was lined with straw. Sound like a crock pot? Well, a little bit!
This ad from a 1906 Saturday Evening Post promotes the Fireless Cookstove as a Christmas present!
Here's the guy who claims to have made the original fireless cooker ... and with his special discounted price ... every family could have one!
Fellow Federated Women's Club members ... be proud of the efforts that our sisters made 100 years ago to help feed our families! We're still doing good work ... all around the world!