Cook without fire. That’s the simple premise of a new heating system from Korea.
The Baro Cook system heats food using small packets that resemble tea bags and get hot when combined with water.
The kit comes with vessels that nest into one another. You place a heating packet (which cost $1 – $3 each, depending on size) into the bottom container and pour in a little water. The water will start to boil within a minute.
We saw this demonstrated several times last week at a trade show. It was amazing how the water reacted to the packets, going from cold H20 to a bubbling, steamy mixture in a minute.
You then nest the second container into the first. The heat produced by the boiling water heats the second container, which will cook your food (with the limitation being that the heating device maxes out at the 212 degree F sea level boiling point of water, less at altitude).
While cooking with some type of exothermic reaction isn’t exactly new (like military MREs that have been around for decades), the design is creative and could prove useful for campers.
What’s inside the packets? The company rep we asked at the show told me a “top secret mix of minerals.”
The Baro Cook heats contents of the cooking container up to 98 degrees Celsius, almost boiling. It’s continues heat sufficient for cooking things like pasta and rice for about 30 minutes per packet.
It is sold as either parts of a system or as a kit, and the prices are pretty reasonable, ranging from $19 for a small 270ml system to $35 for a 1200ml rectangular cook kit.
I can see positive and negative points to the system. On the plus side, it gets hot quickly, can travel on an airplane and can be used on the go. The negatives are the availability and cost of heating packs (five for the 1200ml kit cost $15) and low temperature compared to a stove (you won’t be able to boil water for sterilization and I’d be nervous cooking raw meat at such a low temperature).
Baro certainly won’t replace the stove as the standard of outdoor cooking, but the product does offer an interesting lightweight solution for quick trips and even cooking on the go.
—By Sean McCoy