Heat Retention Cooking

Safer, cheaper, and easier

Cooking efficiently to reduce the amount of wood to gather and smoke created

Heat retention cooking has been an extremely successful project providing a much needed practical help and an exciting Bible study.

A reality for Honduras is that most people, 80% or more, cook with wood. That poses a problem on many levels from deforestation, burns to adults and children alike, and a host of problems brought on from the smoke produced. Acute Respiratory Infection, ARI, is the number one killer of children under the age of 5 worldwide and the incidence is double for homes that cook with wood.

Utilizing heat retention cooking can reduce the amount of needed cooking wood by up to 70%, greatly reducing the smoke exposure and at the same time virtually eliminating the problem of burning a meal.

Heat Retention Cooking

With Heat Retention Cooking the food is brought to a boil for 10 minutes and then transferred into the Heat Retention Cooker. A Heat Retention Cooker is any insulated container that can hold the pot. To demonstrate how simplistic this can be we have used a black plastic trash bag with clothes or blankets stuffed around the pot for insulation. In our home we usually use either a cooler with a piece of cardboard on the bottom and towels around the pot to cut off air, or we use a “bolsa marvillosa” or ‘wonderful bag’ which has been locally made and has rice hulls as the material for insulation.

Once the pot is moved to a Heat Retention Cooker the food will continue to cook for many hours. By boiling the food had reached a temperature of 212F and the insulation of the heat retention cooker will help maintain the heat, the temperature will slowly drop, but the food will be in a slow cooking mode for the whole time. We have tried this for up to 9 hours and when we checked the temperature of the food it has always been above 140F, which is food safe.


For the discipleship side of the lesson we say that we are like the pot and when we accept Christ as our Savior then the Holy Spirit gives us a desire, or passion, or fire, for God, but just like the pot we need to have a plan or the heat will quickly be lost. So, just as we put the pot in the balsa marvillosa to maintain it’s heat, what do we have to do on a daily basis to maintain our relationship with God? We let the people give the answers. We are ready with several Scriptures to reinforce their responses, such as:

Go to church

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb 10:24-25)

Read the Bible

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 30:20-21)

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2Tim 3:16-17)


“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1Jn 1:3)

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1Jn 1:7)


“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Eph 6:18)

Share the gospel

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isa 52:7)

“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” (Mk 16:15)

“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Acts 5:42)

Acts of service

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” (Eph 6:7)

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Gal 5:13)

Giving Thanks

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col 3:17)

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (1Chr 16:34)

Our experience has been that the lesson is very well received. People find the interactive Bible study very eye opening and encouraging with clear direction for pursuing a closer relation with God. The acceptance and use of the heat retention cooker in individual homes has been very high, not 100% but almost!

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