Hay Box Cooking

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During wartime, saving fuel was very important. The amounts of various cooking fuels were limited, so other ways of cooking food and saving cooking fuels became necessary.

The hay box was one popular method. For today’s consumer, we could think of it as a non-electric Crock Pot©. The hay box was easy to use; a wartime cook had only to heat the food to boiling in a covered pot, and place the pot in a box that was lined, and then covered, with hay. The heat would stay around the pot due to the hay insulation and continue to cook the food throughout the day.

Hay boxes could be built of wood, or a hole could even be dug in the ground and lined with hay. More than one dish could be cooked at a time by stacking pots or bowls with the lid, and then placing another bowl (with the vegetable or side dish placed on top of the lid or plate covered meat) on top. Imagine, a whole meal being cooked in a hay box while the family was going about their day. Another method of rationing in wartime Britain!

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