Community learns about alternative cooking during emergency preparedness event

There were several solar oven styles on display at the Alternative Cooking Emergency Preparedness event in Anza June 24. Diane Sieker photo

The Anza Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints presented “Alternative Cooking,” an emergency preparedness event, Saturday, June 24. The gathering was held at the Church in Anza.

Solar ovens, box stoves, a water stove, propane grills and griddles, Dutch ovens, pit cooking method demonstrations and specially prepared and preserved foods were shown. More than displays, the stoves and ovens were put to work cooking tender roasted vegetables, rice, ranch beans, baked potatoes, beef brisket and even peach cobbler and blueberry and raspberry muffins. There were samples available of Thrive Life freeze-dried and dehydrated foods that were no less than incredible in flavor, color and texture.

Emergencies and natural disasters may find residents without electricity and the finer things they take for granted every day. The LDS members would like to see everyone ready for such disasters and able to eat in style.

A neighborly, helpful and friendly atmosphere permeated the event as cooks revealed their secrets for preparing gourmet meals with the simplest of devices.

Solar ovens utilize the energy radiating from the sun to cook food to perfection. The specially designed units are simple, yet impressive in the way the food is cooked without 1 ounce of fossil fuel or electricity needed. The results were delicious.

Mike Hasapes whipped up some roasted vegetables that were grown by him in his own garden. Picked only hours before the event, they were cooked in his solar oven and ready to eat in about 30 minutes.

Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Bart Herring was on hand to supervise the cooking and serving of half a dozen perfectly seasoned, sustainably-farmed beef briskets in a 55-gallon barrel smoker using charcoal briquettes as a heat source. Cooked for several hours, there was plenty for everyone to taste.

Tim Bradshaw cooked his wife Melanie’s chicken adobo on a propane griddle, using only ingredients that would be on hand in a disaster scenario. He used Thrive Life dehydrated chicken, soy sauce and vinegar, which are all items that can be stored safely for years without refrigeration. Served over rice that he also cooked on the spot, it was a huge success.

A box oven was demonstrated by Cindy Petersen and her daughter Cheyenne. Covered in aluminum foil inside and out, this simple cardboard box was turned into a functional oven with the addition of charcoal in foil pans set under a rack that held the muffin pan. Everyone was pleased with the sweet finished products. They also demonstrated an affordable Hydro Heat flameless cooker from Emergency Essentials that consisted of a bowl with a Hydro Heat heating pack and water set under the main bowl containing ranch beans. The beans were heated in a matter of minutes, no power needed.

Dutch oven experts Alicia and Norman Faleono turned routine Dutch oven cooking into a nutritious, tender vegetable mix and two huge peach cobblers. Using coals under and even on top of the cast iron pots, they knew just how to render the raw ingredients into luscious treats.

Military-inspired MREs or Meals Ready to Eat were on display. From real packs of M&M candies to chicken with salsa, these foods can stay good for years on a shelf and are perfect to squirrel away for an emergency.

Those attending learned a lot, enjoyed a great meal and lively conversation. This event was the second of three that encompass the education of people in to survive a natural disaster such as a wildfire, earthquake or other catastrophic crisis. The next gathering will be announced later and will cover collecting items for a “72-hour 5-gallon bucket” as a personal emergency kit. Essentials would include water, clothing, money, documents, food, medications, batteries, a radio, first-aid kit and so much more.

For more information on the Emergency Preparedness project please contact Bart Herring at (951) 526-8170 or by email at

For more information regarding Thrive Life foods, visit

To learn more about Emergency Essentials Hydro Heat cooker, see

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