It’s heating up in the developing world.
Image via Wonderbag
The deliciously named Wonderbag is not quite the superhero its title promises. But the nearly emission-free slow cooker is saving energy and a whole bunch of time in developing countries. That’s particularly important in places where cooking fires are a leading cause of pneumonia, lung cancer, and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and where taking the time to collect copious amounts of firewood takes women away from other important pursuits.
Using the handy bag is a quick, three-step process. It works like this: Bring your food to a boil on the stove. Let it simmer. Then slide the entire pot into the bag, cinch the drawstring tight, and let it sit for eight hours. Bon appétit: Dinner is served.
According to inventor Sarah Collins, each Wonderbag saves its users 1,000 liters of water and 1,248 cooking hours annually. What’s more, the device cuts down on the time people must spend in front of cooking fires, which means less smoke inhalation and less household pollution.
Image via Wonderbag
Though totally emission-free cook stoves are available on the market, Collins argues that cooking with fire is an important part of many cultures that some families are loath to give up.
“The behavior change is just too big a jump,” Collins told TakePart. “I feel it’s essential to take into consideration the cultural, ethical, and spiritual relevance of fires in many indigenous cultures. To take this away is taking away the heart of the home.”
At $25 to $67 a pop, however, these Wonderbags are a little pricey for many homes. For that reason, the company also uses a “buy one, give one” model that allows customers in more developed markets like the United States, Europe, and Australia to help while buying their own slow cooker. They’re even available on Amazon.
The bags have become extremely popular, with the company claiming sales of 1 million products since its launch in 2008. And for many new owners of the bag and newbies at slow cooking, Wonderbag provides an extensive recipe book online.