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Updated Mar 10, 2014 - 8:07 am

Mesa woman holding solar cooking demonstrations at Urban Garden

(Photo by Bob McClay/KTAR)

MESA, Ariz. -- A Mesa woman said you can cook a nice hot dinner for your family.

Merry Bevill uses several solar stoves in her front yard to use the sun to cook pot roast, peach pie and more.

It's called solar cooking.

"Solar Cooking is cooking using nothing but the free energy of the sun as your fuel source," said Bevill.

Bevill has eight solar cookers, some of which she purchased, and some she made for herself. She noted that she has invested less than about $800 for the stoves. Many are made out of cardboard boxes. One uses an aluminum sun screen that can be purchased at any auto parts store.

She said it saves money on her electric bill, is good for the environment, and is kind of like cooking with your crock pot. "Basically, the sun comes in, gets the box hot, and it raises the temperature enough that it actually can cook your food," Bevill said.

One of the "stoves is called the Wonder Oven. "The Wonder Oven is like a giant pillow. It's full of insulation."

Many times she takes hot pots of food off of her stoves in the middle of the afternoon, but wants to keep the food hot until dinner time. "I put them in the Wonder Oven, and it's all insulated, and keeps it nice and hot until suppertime," she said.

Bevill said that you can solar cook your food outside regardless of what the ambient temperature is.

"They cook with these things on top of Mount Everest," said Bevill. "What you need is just a good insulated box. It's actually (the sun's) U-V rays that come into the box, and heat up the black interior. It's much like your car. You can actually cook cookies in your car in the summer. Did you ever get into your car and say ‘Wow! It's so hot that I could bake cookies?' You can!"

Bevill, who has a blog about solar cooking, will be giving demonstrations this Saturday in Mesa. She said she'll set her ovens up at 10:00 a.m. MST, but the actual demonstration will be from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m MST.

Her program called "Cooking with the Sun: The Art and Science of Solar Cookers" will be held at the Mesa Urban Garden at 212 East First Avenue. She'll demonstrate her favorite solar ovens and cooking techniques.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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