Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lessons from WWII Britain: Hayboxes

I absolutely adore the historical reality shows filmed by the BBC. There's nothing tawdry about these reality shows; two archaeologists and an historian show what it was really like to live during several important eras in British history. "Tales from the Green Valley", "Victorian Farm", and "Edwardian Farm" are among my favorite television shows ever. It was in "Wartime Farm", however, that I recently spotted something that could be extremely useful for all of us: the haybox.

A haybox is simply an insulated container that allows you to continue cooking your food while conserving precious fuel.  Ruth Goodman explains it better than I do, so watch the following video. The haybox is introduced near 27:00 and the end result is shown at about 36:00.

(These videos keep appearing and disappearing off YouTube. If the video isn't functioning, search for Wartime Farm, episode 2.)

Simple but effective, right? If you don't have a lot of hay hanging around your house, you might prefer to make the city-slicker cousin to the haybox, a "wonder box oven".

The gals at Food Storage Made Easy also put together a pdf that shows how to make your own Wonder Box.

Have any of you tried using a haybox and/or wonder box oven? What did you think of the technique?


  1. The video was very interesting, but there was no mention of a hay box. I even double checked at the times you suggested. Not there.

    1. Ack! The original YouTube video I had linked to was taken down, so I scrambled to find a replacement. I put in the wrong episode! It is in episode two, not three. So sorry! I've fixed it now.


    2. Now you're cooking! :D