Nissan Thermal Cooker


Stays hot, cooks things

Ever wish you could whip up a pot of chicken and dumplings, go on your bike ride or canoe paddle or even just hike, and have it piping hot and ready for you when you get back to the car? Ok, more likely it rained or snowed on your ride/paddle/hike and you’re shivering and wish you had any hot food back at the car. This is experience speaking.

Nissan, the makers of vacuum mugs to keep your coffee warmer longer, also makes a 4-quart powerless crockpot. No plugs. No heater. It’s wonderful.

Here’s how it works: pull the inner pot out of the device and put it on the range at home (or the stove at camp). Insert ingredients. Heat ‘em up to a boil. Put the inner-lid on, then insert the inner pot into the outer pot. Seal the outer-lid. Put the whole device in your car (or your boat, or your dogsled). Have some fun for 3-6 hours. Open the pots and dish out the steaming food.

Incredibly, the first time this device was debuted in the U.S., it was marketed towards tailgaters and, well, flopped. But I had heard about it, and even though it was unavailable on this continent, managed to have a pot shipped over from Taiwan.

Avid outdoorswoman that I am, I had other uses for this kitchen gadget then side dishes for the football stadium parking lot. One morning, I shucked into my wetsuit and paddled into Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe and back, fighting the chill May wind both ways. After landing the boat, I hopped on my mountain bike and rode the famous Flume trail from the highway up to the snow line. I saw thunderclouds across the mountains and booked down to the car, 2,000 feet below, almost making it before the rain began. I was shivery; just short of hypothermic. I was also happy that before I’d launched the bike, I had the foresight to boil elbow mac, burger, and canned tomatos in the Nissan Thermal Cooker. Hot food = life.

The crock pot has recently come back on the market, and is again being hyped as a tailgater essential. Bah. Tailgaters and church-potluckers aren’t going to shell out $149 for a crockpot. People who do endurance races in the northern climates: now there’s your target audience. And don’t forget that this crockpot is more electricity-efficient than the normal kitchen plug-in models; it takes none once it’s hot so it makes a great kitchen addition for the average treehugger.

-- Rita Nygren 01/31/12


Simple recipes:
1 lb hamburger, browned
2 cans diced tomato
1 lb of elbow mac
Combine ingredients, bring to boil, seal, wait 3 hours. Serves 2-4 people.

Rice-a-roni (any flavor)
Canned chicken
Fresh veggies, diced
Prepare rice as directed on box. When you get to the cover and simmer stage, dump in the chicken and veggies, then seal in pot. Cook a little longer then directions call for. Servers 2.

2 cans chicken broth
1 can chicken
2 cups wild rice blend
2 cups Simply Veggies (freeze dried vegetables)
Bay leaf
Salt & pepper
Combine ingredients and boil, leave over heat for 5-10 minutes. Seal in pot. Wait 2-4 hours. Serves 4-8 people.