Inspired by her nephew's stories of bad food at the mess hall when he was on deployment in Afghanistan, retired photographer Jody Anderson created a recipe-book of meals that could be prepared using a coffee-maker (soldiers were allowed to have coffee-makers in their rooms), and posted some online. Coffee-makers are quick to clean, and the different stages of the coffee-maker give you different, simultaneous, cooking options (grilling, poaching and steaming). All useful stuff for frequent travellers: beats the old "cooking salmon in three thicknesses of foil using the ironing-board and iron" technique.
As Anderson describes it, the design of a traditional coffee maker gives you three basic cooking techniques:
1. Steam: The basket at the top is a great place to steam vegetables. You can throw in broccoli, cauliflower or any vegetable that cooks in about the same time as those.
2. Poach: The carafe at the bottom serves as a simple vessel for poaching fish and chicken. You can also use it to hard-boil eggs or make couscous and oatmeal.
3. Grill: This technique is a bit more advanced — and time-consuming. But if you're really itching for a grilled cheese sandwich or a cinnamon bun in a motel room, the coffee maker's burner can serve as a miniature grill.
Coffee Maker Cooking: Brew Up Your Next Dinner [Michaeleen Doucleff/The Salt]
(Photo: Morgan Walker/NPR)