Cooking Fires and Smoke 395
Cook in turns with other women. This way each woman will
breathe less smoke.
Find ways to prepare food that require less cooking time (but
still cook foods completely). This way you will breathe in less
smoke, and you will also use less fuel. Food cooks more quickly
and completely if you:
cut food into
soak dried foods, like beans,
overnight before cooking.
wood from rain.
protect the fire from wind. A nest
of rock, clay, or iron sheets can
help keep heat around the pot.
Use stoves that produce less smoke. This is the best way to
prevent health problems caused by cooking smoke. Stoves that
burn less fuel and produce very little smoke may be available in
your area, but they can also be made easily with local materials.
See the next page for instructions.
➤ Smoke is a sign
that fuel is being
wasted, since it
is caused by fuel
that does not burn
ways to cook with
less smoke can save
money as well.
Stoves burn less fuel and produce less smoke when they have:
• protective lining (insulation) between the fire and the outside of the stove.
Materials that trap a lot of air—like ash, pumice rock, dead coral, or aluminum
foil—keep heat inside, instead of escaping out of the sides of the stove. This
keeps the fuel burning hotly, which reduces smoke. Avoid using clay, heavy rock,
sand, cement, and brick to prevent heat escaping from your stove because they
do not trap enough air.
• chimneys inside the stove (see page 396) that help the air move around the
fire. A longer chimney outside can also help cut down the smoke in the
• ‘skirts’ (material around the cooking pot) to reflect the heat coming out of the
chimney and direct it back to the pot. The pot then absorbs heat from all sides.
• a small burning chamber (see page 396) that allows you to burn one end of a
piece of fuel in the chamber while the rest of the fuel stays outside. As the part
inside burns, you can push the fuel further in.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012