Picnic Cookers

by Mary Ann Ross

Editor's note: please use all proper precautions to protect yourself and your surroundings from fire. Remember, you don't want to be responsible for a forest fire!

Summertime is a great time to cook and eat in the great outdoors. But sometimes you don't have a full-blown bar-b-que grill available. No need to despair! Try one of these simple picnic cookers.

Brick Grill

This is the simplest of all cooking devices to make. All you need is a small shovel or scoop to make a fire hole. Be sure that it is not as large as the refrigerator grill. Line the hole with a few rocks and lay your fire. Place 4 bricks in position around the hole and lay the grill on top of the bricks. Light the fire and when you have a bed of glowing coals, cook away! CAUTION... When you have finished cooking be sure to put out your fire. Use water or sand. If the weather is chilly and you are sleeping out of doors, wrap the bricks in newspapers and put them in your bed to warm your feet. Be sure the bricks are well wrapped so they will not scorch the bed... or you!

Bucket Cooker

Be sure to obtain on old bucket for making this cooker. The larger the bucket, the better. Make sure it is metal as plastic will melt! With a hammer and large nail or spike, make a number of large holes near the bottom of the bucket. Be careful not to make them too close together or the metal will break through easily after some use. It is better to zig-zag the holes. Use a little paper, kindling and charcoal to make a fire in the bucket. When the charcoal begins to glow, place an old refrigerator grill over opening and the cooker is ready to use.

Flower Pot Cooker

The flowerpot cooker must be carefully prepared for use to prevent the fragile terra cotta from breaking. Line the pot completely with a sheet of foil. Use an other piece to make a second lining about 3/4 the way to the top. Fill the pot about 1/2 full of sand or gravel. Press the second foil lining firmly over the sand or gravel. Be sure the outer layer of foil is carefully pressed around the upper half of the flowerpot.

Now it is ready for the glowing coals to be put in from the fire (see sketch "a"). Place a piece of sturdy fine mesh wire over the top of the flowerpot. Or, you may perforate a pie tin (large enough to fit the flowerpot) with hammer and nail and place on top of flowerpot (see sketch b). Several of these cookers can be used to prepare a luncheon outdoors and will serve to keep the food hot. They are easy to store when not in use and are convenient to use on the table. It might be fun to prepare several oriental dishes over these cookers. Entertain your guests with a surprise "native" supper.

Coffee Can Toaster

A large piece of tin such as that cut from the side of a 5-gallon oil can or a 2 pound coffee can, a punch type can opener or hammer, nail, sharp knife and tin snips are all you need to create these outdoor toasters.

Wash the piece of tin or can, whichever used, carefully to be sure it is clean. Bend the sheet of tin in the center until it will stand, triangle style. With a punch type can opener make several openings on each side of the tin. Or, use a hammer and nail and make a triangle. Cut 2 sides of the triangle through with a sharp knife and hammer. However the openings are made, carefully bend the points up so they will hold a piece of bread. Be sure they are properly spaced for this purpose. Simply stand the completed "toaster" on the grill or cooker and place a slice of bread on each toaster hook.

If you do not have a piece of tin to use, obtain a clean coffee can. Cut the can in 3 places from bottom to top with a pair of tin snips. Each piece should be equal. this will make 3 sides to the toaster. Spread the sides of the can. On each side punch one or 2 holes (from under side) with a punch-type can opener. Curl up the pieces so they will hold a piece of toast. Be sure the toaster hooks are far enough apart so the pieces of bread will not overlap. (Notice the sketch.) Place toaster on grill or cooker and put a slice of toast on each toaster hook.

Mary Ann Ross and Kimberly Lainson are a mother and daughter that have teamed up to create Birthdays & More at The PartyWorks Store! It's a fun, colorful online party store with designs specializing in kid's birthday parties, bridal and baby showers and general entertainment and offer pre-packaged discounted parties. You'll find them at www.thepartyworks.com.

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