My mother makes the best red beans in the world. She doesn’t have a strict recipe, but in her kitchen this unexciting staple becomes absolute comfort food. On a quick visit home over Easter, I found out that she had gone from mastery to perfection – with the use of a solar cooker.
My parents’ new Saturday morning routine goes like this: Wake up; turn on BBC News and make coffee; throw onions, beans, spices and water in a pot and place it in the solar cooker, in a promisingly sunny spot; relax. Every now and then, someone emerges to give the pot a stir, or re-orientate the cooker to a sunnier location, but it really needs very little supervision. By dinner time, this strange, flying-saucer-like apparatus yields the best pot of red beans I have ever tasted. If I was in marketing, I’d say something like: “Perfectly prepared beans: just add sunshine.”