Friday, November 04, 2011

Cooking Without Gas

Running on empty
Photo credit © Ichtor |
 One of South Africa’s best kept secrets right now, isn’t a beautiful game reserve or a beach-side boutique hotel... it’s the fact that we’ve run out of gas. Bottled LPG gas for cooking that is. About 1200 restaurants have closed and yet no-one in the general public knows about it. We only found out because we ran out of gas the other day and our usually supplier has none. Nor do any of the other suppliers in our area. We tracked down some in a town 120km away on Wednesday, baulked at driving the distance and then today when we were desperate enough to drive that far, found that they had run out too.

Everyone I mention the shortage to is surprised and disbelieving. Large gas bottles can last a family for months and so for many people this isn’t an issue. Only for improvident souls like ourselves, who find that our spare bottle  was never re-filled and now that’s it. Until the gas manufacturers get their act together. Apparently several of the nation’s plants closed for servicing at the same time, or something like that. Well orchestrated to make us appreciate them more perhaps! Or maybe so that we don't complain about a price hike when they finally do have supplies again... so cynical!

So now after years of treating our microwave with utmost suspicion I am forced to consider it as a means of providing nutrition for my family. I secretly suspect it of stripping all nutrients from any given food-stuff (surely irradiating food is a bad thing?!!), turning wholesome ingredients into junk food and probably turning me into an alien at the same time.

Luckily our oven is electric, so it’s just the hob that I am without. So now I am Googling stuff that most students could probably tell me. How to cook rice in the microwave.... I tried it last night and to my amazement it worked perfectly! The amount needed for our family takes longer in the microwave than on the stove, but as a means of survival until the gas returns, it is a success. Next up is tomato sauce for pizzas, which shouldn’t be too tricky. Pasta is another matter when you’re cooking for five... so any ideas of meals that can be cooked without using the hob at all would be much appreciated.

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  1. Sorry about your gas problem (that doesn't quite sound right on a food blog, does it?). Hope it's resolved soon.

    We have a set of the exact same bowls as that photo at the top of this post.

  2. Kind friends have lent us their spare gas bottle until there are supplies available again.. so thank goodness we are once more cooking with gas!
    Pretty bowls - I just love the colors in the picture. I'm sure I used to have one or two like this, but have no idea what happened to them! I had to borrow the picture from a library!

  3. For pasta I put it in boiling water, (which can be heating up in the microwave), cover it for the alloted time and then drain. sometimes it takes a few minutes extra, and it's best with holey pasta, otherwise it needs extra stiring. I've been doing this for a number of years and the pasta comes out the same, more or less!

  4. Thanks, Kaya, I'll have to try it - pasta was the main concern when the gas ran out! Would probably work even better if put in the hot box for the time, so it loses less heat?

  5. We frequently ran out of water in North Cyprus, and nobody believed us when we told them.

    Is it possible to get an old-fashioned room stove that gets hot on top? I had one in Japan and, if I juggled my time right, could cook entire meals on it (though getting water to a rolling boil for pasta could be difficult). Cous cous would be an easy thing to cook on such a stove, especially the quick-fix stuff. Though come to think of it, you've got summer there...not so much fun to run a room stove in the summertime.

    I hope they deliver your gas soon!


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!