Sun can cook

Illustration by Mark Stivers

I was pretty skeptical about harnessing the power of the sun to cook until last summer. That was when my mother-in-law marinated a bunch of steaks with soy sauce and pepper, and left them out in the hot Sacramento sun all day. Voilà! We had a bunch of ovenless homemade beef jerky that was good to eat for the next two or three months. Sacramento’s Solar Cookers International knows exactly how to harness this same power. On Saturday, July 19, the nonprofit group—whose mission is to spread the use of solar thermal cooking to help people worldwide—is hosting the Sacramento Solar Cooking Festival ( The free event, which happens at William Land Park (near the corner of Freeport Boulevard and Sutterville Road) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature solar-cooking demonstrations. Warning: Make sure to bring your own food to cook. Due to health regulations, people can only eat what they cook themselves.