And no, I'm not referring to traditional summer rituals like barbecues and summer cook-outs.
We cook outside all summer long, all of our meals. Yesterday was the first day for our summer kitchen. I had gotten a chicken on the May coop order, and wanted to cook it, but I was not excited about turning the oven on for a couple of hours. We haven't turned our AC on yet, and we won't turn it on until it gets really hot and humid.
Cooking inside adds great big piles of heat and humidity to the interior environment. If you have AC, you can maintain interior comfort -- but the price is even MORE BTU's of energy expended in order to remove the heat and humidity. When you cook inside during the summer, you first spend BTUs to heat the food up, and then you spend more BTUs cooling it down. Might as well just pile up some dollar bills and set them on fire.
So what you may say, I can afford my AC. Maybe your personal circumstances are comfortable, but never forget that the price you pay to the electric company does not include all the costs of the energy you burn. Electrical generation has many costs that are externalized -- they never appear on the electric company's balance sheet or on your bill. So while you may personally be able to financially afford the extra expense, can we say the same thing about the planet?
No, I don't have a $20,000 outdoor kitchen. I have a stand-a-lone roaster, a crockpot, a one-burner hot plate, a 2 burner propane camp stove, and for big jobs (like canning or making stock or later in the summer, lots of tomato sauce), I have a propane-fired turkey fryer and large stock pots.
Summer is also a good time to learn solar cooking, and about that I will have more to say this summer.
So yesterday I took out the roaster and hot plate, and made roast chicken, whole wheat rolls, and broccoli. Thus begins another summer of cooking outside at my house!
For more ideas about keeping cool in the hot summer, see my printable flyer -- http://www.energyconservationinfo.org/summer2007.pdf . Make copies and give to friends!