Sunday, September 09, 2012

Manifold Cooking

At today's Old Car Festival in Greenfield Village, I learned about a cookbox that was made, back in the day, to fit over the exhaust manifold of a Ford Model T. You can see the metal box just behind the headlamp here:

manifold-cooker 7

At the demo in front of the reviewing stand the beautifully dressed passenger in the car got out, lifted the side of the hood (the Model T had a sort of fold-up hood on either side of the engine), and spooned up some soup to show the crowd -- note the spoon in the Flapper's hand:

manifold-cooker 1

Cooking under the hood of a Model T involved understanding the very high heat that could result from the operation of the engine, and gauging how far to go and at what speed you should travel in order to get the best result from your recipe. The announcer noted that in fact, some recipes suggested going up hills to increase the temperature. Evidently this was a popular part of the entertaining new sport of driving around in a Model T around 100 years or so ago. The car in the photo is a 1927 model.

Here is a sample of a couple of modern recipes for this cooker, from a website I found (maybe it's even the website of the people in the photo):
Rhubarb Ice cream topping
Line the cooker with foil ..., slice fresh rhubarb into small pieces, add a handful or two of sugar, drive to an ice cream store at least 20 miles away, buy a dish of ice cream, put the topping on it and enjoy the best topping yet cooked on a Model T manifold.
Meat Loaf
(this is 
the most popular recipe we have made on the manifold)
Note this is also known as ‘Greasy Fan Belt Goulash’

Mix one pound of lean ground beef with one package of frozen Potatoes O’Brian, one package of frozen Mexicorn and a jar of Salsa (you choose mild, medium, hot, or acetylene torch-like).  I always dump all the ingredients in a big zip lock bag to mix them…..since my hands are always greasy.
Anyway, mix well and then dump it all into a big piece of wide Aluminum foil and wrap it into a loaf that will fit into the cooker.  Drive about 40 miles or so and it will be done. 
This recipe is so good that dogs and people will follow you.
Here is another view of the car at the reviewing stand and the Flapper, spoon still in hand:

manifold-cooker 2

1 comment:

~~louise~~ said...

Oh that's hilarious Mae. I know there has been a book published recently about cooking on the engine of a car. I don't recall the title off hand. Boy I sure would love to get a hold of that cookbook though. How cool, or should I say hot, is that!

Thanks for sharing...