Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cooking without fire

A central problem my characters have to worry about is a lack of fire/gas. They are in essentially a large refugee camp whose every resource comes from outside. How do they prepare food without fire? I burnt a couple hours researching this (for a 2 page scene...kind of a waste).

While researching this, I came across some interesting things:

1) It’s not an easy topic to find information on. Virtually all survival guides assume fire, or the ability to make fire.

2) A thriving industry for pre-packaged survival kits:

On-line shop specializing in survival:

Food pills (really):

Home/office/car/plane survival kits:

3) Some things that were interesting and started to paint a picture:
  • Raw Foods -- this goofball branch of vegetarianism (and the experts who prove it is an unwise choice) have a lot of data on the health effects of eating uncooked food.

  • Starvation -- thought perhaps there would be information if I looked at real-world starvation. Found nothing useful.

  • Famine -- this proved an interesting thread. Looks like I will need to spend some time reading detailed individual accounts of dealing with famine.

  • Famine Scales (means of measuring famine):

4) Alas, this topic will need more research. Looks like the best bet to get this right will be to read some personal accounts of starvation (holocaust survivor accounts, some African accounts and some prison camp accounts), as well as starvation in literature: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road for example.

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