The Wonderbag

The Wonderbag

This is a guest blog by Jac Squire, Managing Director of Wonderbag UK

Developed in Africa for families in poverty Jac Squire explains how this low-tech ‘slow-cooking miracle bag’ can change lives in rural Africa and find its way into our caravans and campsites.

Sarah Collins, Founder of Wonderbag, was visiting from South Africa, standing in my kitchen in Bedfordshire, with a ‘cushion’ offering to cook my family dinner. I have known Sarah for 20 years and never seen her in the kitchen – Sarah is all about empowering women in rural Africa so I am very interested in the magic cushion.

Take Back the Future and Aids NGO’s were the vehicles by which she reached out and learned about what would really make a difference to their lives. Aid didn’t have any lasting impact in the projects she worked on. Sarah needed a solution that helped free women from the cooking pot. The fuel was a financial burden, the stirring a time thief, and the smoke a health hazard. Her innovation was to use an old idea, heat retention cooking to solve these issues. The Wonderbag.

Those of you have met me at any of the caravan and camping shows may have heard the story of the granny who made a living by cooking goat’s heads to support nine orphans from Aids. This is Sarah’s eureka moment. Granny got it straight away; there was less smoke under the tarpaulin where she cooked, the kids could gather the wood just one day a week so were now in school, and with extra money the kids even had shoes. One Wonderbag, and the whole family had a way out of poverty.

Now it's my eureka moment. The food was delicious yet I had witnessed the simplicity of the process – she had thrown the food in the pot, casually brought it to the boil and then tucked it up tight into the Wonderbag… and that was it. The energy saved is the serious point, but the time and money saved means this translates to our kitchens, caravans, tents, boats, gardens right here in the UK. Who would have thought you could eat a casserole or steamed pudding when you return to the campsite after a day out?

There is serious work to do here in the UK. The Wonderbag can really benefit the isolated elderly and those living in fuel poverty, but in the meantime we can feel really good about the Wonderbag we give to those families in need in Africa when you buy a Wonderbag.”

You can buy the Wonderbag from our Members' Marketplace for £60, which includes a recipe book and donated Wonderbag.

More details about the Wonderbag are available from the Wonderbag website,
including more recipes and the impact of the bags donated in Africa.

Blog ed: "Don't forget to check out Eat Local expert Ali Ray's review of the Wonderbag here."