Today’s modern kitchen is filled with the latest in technology to make your life easier. However, a convenient and contemporary kitchen isn’t always the best choice from an environmental perspective. What if you had to get up every morning and hop on the stationary bike to make your breakfast toast? This may not be convenient, but it is certainly eco-friendly. And, this is just one of the ways that Ed Begley Jr. has his extreme kitchen set up. Admittedly, using self-generated power to make toast is a bit on the extreme side of, well, extreme. However, there are some out-there kitchen appliances you can buy that aren’t quite as extreme as Begley’s self-powered toaster. One example is a solar oven. Of course, Begley has a solar oven in his yard as well, but Begley lives almost off the grid, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Photo courtesy of nmfbihop
If you have never heard of a solar oven, you have probably never heard of the Solar Oven Society (SOS). Yes, there is a society dedicated to spreading the word about solar ovens. Solar ovens are not only a great way for those of us in the U.S. to cook food without using electricity, but they also provide a way for people all over the world that lack the fuel to cook their own food. So, a solar oven is both extreme (when compared to the oven in a typical state-of-the-art kitchen) and extremely practical in parts of the world. If you’re working on creating your own extreme outdoor kitchen, you’ll need a solar-powered refrigerator and/or freezer. Yes, in an ironic twist, you can harness the power of the sun to keep your perishables nice and cold. Solar-powered iceboxes are made by a variety of vendors and come in various sizes. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that your new extreme eco-friendly kitchen uses green dinnerware. I recommend pieces made from highly renewable bamboo. My personal favorite is Bambu, which can be purchased online or in select retail stores, including Crate & Barrel, Dean & Deluca and even Whole Foods Market. One last step and you’re set — composting. No extreme outdoor kitchen is complete without a compost bin. Set up a bin in the corner of your yard and you can compost your scraps into fertilizer for your garden to grow the fruits and veggies you use when cooking in your extreme kitchen. If you’re not sure how to get started with composting, see 1-800-RECYCLING’s article on creating a backyard compost for tips.