Occasionally something comes along that simply stuns us. Something so ingenious, or outstandingly simple, ethical, usable or just plain brilliant. For us, the Wonderbag is all of this, and more.
The Wonderbag was developed to ease the social, economic and environment impacts of the current global circumstances. The Wonderbag is a non-electric, heat-retention cooker that allows food that has been brought to a boil, to continue cooking after it has been removed from the fuel source.
The Wonderbag was created in South Africa for Africans. It has created 2000 jobs and 600,000 are in homes being used. It saves time money and fuel and because it works it is used. Because it is used, it works both for the environment and for our health.
For every bag bought in the UK a Wonderbag is given to a family in need in the developing world. The Wonderbags are distributed in South Africa with established projects who demonstrate the bags to help those who benefit the most.
One is given in the developing world because this is where the impact of global warming is felt the most and where the Wonderbag has its greatest benefits for a families health and the environment.
Imagine a slow cooker but without any added outside energy source being needed. You can go out and leave the Wonderbag 'on' without fear from fire, power failure or burning. You can load it up and safely take it out on picnics, long journeys away and pass it on to students who are going away to study and can't or won't make the time to cook. And it doesn't just do hot food. Pop in a bag of ice and you have a cool bag too.
Camping cooking has taken on a whole new light, with a freedom from needing an endless supply of little gas hobs and the associated health and safety risks attached to cooking in a tent.
For busy people, with families in and out all day, one meal can be left and shared at different times, without the need to reheat or separate.
And most importantly, every time you use your Wonderbag you know that because of you, someone in Africa is using theirs, making it a life-changing purchase not just for your everyday convenience but a matter of survival for them.
The Wonderbag is so simple to use. In our busy day we get little time to relax so when we are not working we are planning the evening meal or trying to find a good time for everyone to sit down and eat something freshly made. We are not convenience food eaters and processed foods have little space in our home.
A few weeks ago we decided to give the Wonderbag a go. There are a wide range of recipes available but to start we chose a simple meat and veg option. Our butcher had given us a nice piece of brisket that was ready rolled. And as you will know, brisket needs cooking for that little bit longer to get it tender. We improvised and unrolled the joint, cutting it into half inch cubes.
After frying it off with a bit of oil and adding some stock, we transferred the meat to a large metal pan, popped in some whole new potatoes that we had dug from our allotment (varying sizes) and a good helping of peas which we had also grown. We also rough chopped some carrots and added them in too. With a bit of salt and pepper to taste, plus a few herbs and crushed chillies thrown in, we set it on the stove to simmer for twenty minutes, once it had initially come to the boil.
Once it had come off the simmer heat we added in some cornflour paste to thicken the stock and make a gravy, and set it inside the Wonderbag to rest and continue cooking for the day (around 7 hours) while we went out and about. We had to cover the hole in the pan lid with a bit of duct tape and lay a tea towel in the bottom of the bag (didn't want the pan to get the bag dirty), before drawing in the string around the lid of the bag.
At that was it. Seven hours later we opened the bag and found ourselves eating a delicious one-pot meal.
We didn't need to bring the pan back up to heat as it was the perfect temperature to dish up and serve. The addition of a few chunks of crusty bread had us all in agreement - this was a fantastic, easy to make dish that everyone enjoyed. No fuss, no mess, no standing over a hot stove - just in the bag within 30 minutes and left to 'do its thing' for the rest of the day, without anyone needed to check it was OK.
We absolutely love the Wonderbag. Ours is now on its second outing to a friend's home and we hope to get it back for the weekend. Unfortunately we can see this being a regular occurrence as so many people are in wonder of this bag and have asked to take it home to try it themselves.
The Wonderbag comes in a variety of colours and styles, from an entry level bag up to the deluxe model. Heat-retention cooking is an age-old technique and the Wonderbag’s fun and unique design has brought it back into the 21st century.
Sarah Collins (Wonderbag founder) is a woman on a mission and thanks to the wonder of a simple, unassuming cooking device, the Wonderbag Foundation was formed and is saving not just millions of people, but the environment too. Through focused initiatives and donations real change is happening for the people of Africa.
But not only are you making a 'donation' through your purchase, you are getting a quality product that actually works.