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Welcome to New Cooking Bag

 New Cooking Bag

New Cooking Bag is a project for women in Ghana and for the environment. 
The New Way of Cooking:

Saves women time,

Makes cooking safer,

Is healthier for women and children,

Is good for the environment: it saves 50% on firewood, charcoal or gas,

Makes food more flavourful,

Saves money,

Is more hygienic and the food is healthier.


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Worldwide more than two billion people cook using firewood or charcoal daily. Not only is it unhealthy, it is also one of the reasons for mass deforestation.

Charcoal vendors are everywhere.

“New Cooking Bag” is an initiative of Ellen Seldenthuis, a woman from the Netherlands who has lived and worked in Ghana since 2004. It stands for “The New Way of Cooking”.
Ellen saw how much time, effort and money the women in Ghana need to invest in order to prepare food. This limits their own development.
Also, the traditional way of cooking is unsafe and bad for ones health. The environmental impact the traditional way of cooking has also doesn’t sit well with her. She makes a plan to introduce ‘Slow Cooking” in Ghana. The haybox in a new jacket. Together with her team she develops a version which has terrific results and which can be produced using local materials. They call it the “New Cooking Bag”.


How does it work “The New Way of Cooking”?
The New Cooking Bag (NCB) is used to cook food without a continuous need for heat. The food is brought to a boil in a pan with water over a fire. Once it is boiled, the fire can be extinguished and the pan with its contents is put directly into the NCB. The NCB is tied shut. Because of the insulating properties of the NCB the temperature in the pan remains high and the food continues to cook until it is ready. Since there is some heat loss the cooking time is longer than when using permanent heat. A lot of the traditional dished prepared in Ghana are suited for the use of an NCB.

The advantages of cooking with the New Cooking Bag
With the many advantages of cooking with the New Cooking Bag, we hope to convince the woman of Tamale and surroundings, to convert to this new way of cooking.

In the workshop we have written down the most important reasons for using the New Cooking Bag: so one can learn and pass it on!

The New Way of Cooking saves the women a lot of time.
Not the cooking process itself, that will actually take a little bit longer - it isn’t called Slow Cooking for nothing - but you don’t have to stick around! It doesn’t require you to keep your eye on it! You make the preparations, start the cooking process and the New Cooking Bag will take over from you so to speak. This way, you can use your precious time to do other things…
Women in and around Tamale have many tasks and responsibilities, there is so much work to be done! The collecting of firewood alone, especially in the surrounding villages, takes up a tremendous amount of time and energy. With this style of cooking there is less need for firewood and also here they will realize there is a lot of extra time to do more useful things!

Cooking in the New Cooking Bag saves you time, which you can then utilize for more important things...

The New Way of Cooking makes cooking safer
It is asking for trouble: cooking on an open fire frequently and at length, or, less frequently, simmering pots on wobbly gas stoves in small and unsafe areas. Children running around, overburdened women who simply don’t have the luxury of focussing on one task, often resulting in burns, burn wounds and other disasters.
With the New Cooking Bag cutting back on actual cooking time, it is easier to concentrate on what you are doing: fifteen minutes is easy, a couple of hours becomes more complicated.
Less ‘unmanned’ pots and pans reduce the risk of dangerous situations. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if for example, early in the morning, you could prepare breakfast in no time and sliding it into the New Cooking Bag,  then bathe your children, get them ready for school whilst in the meantime, The New Cooking Bag is cooking a meal for them to enjoy…?!

The New Way of Cooking is better for your health
Firewood creates a lot of smoke. Women spend hours on end stirring in their pots and pans in wafting fumes, often with their little ones in their lap who can’t do anything to avoid the smoke and are forced to inhale it… There are many small children yearly who fall victim to inhaling these fumes and related diseases (especially if people have to cook indoors) and most of these children are under the age of five!
It is also a known fact that that same smoke is the cause of blindness in developing countries...

The New Way of Cooking is good for the environment 
If less trees need to be felled for firewood and for the production of charcoal, and not so much water needs to be used anymore for cooking… If air pollution goes down because we only need half of the fuels we traditionally use.. you can safely say that cooking with The New Cooking Bag is good for the environment!

The New Way of Cooking makes the food tastier
Cooking with firewood or charcoal is not easy. You can’t just lower the temperature, which means it often cooks too fast with burnt food as a result, and that of course affects the taste… Using the New Cooking Bag, your food has all the time to quietly cook and it can never burn. All flavors remain intact because no steam can escape the pan. Really.. you need to taste it for yourself to believe it!

The New Way of Cooking saves money
It makes sense that the less firewood or coals you have to buy, the more money you save. And that make a big difference, especially if you have to spend your cedi’s wisely! But imagine for example women who have their own businesses and now have more time to spend on those businesses, purely because they have to spend less time gathering wood and cooking. That increases profits! You also need less water for cooking with The New Cooking Bag, so you do the math! On top of that, no food is lost because it is burnt..that too is profit!

The New Way of Cooking is more hygienic
A pan safely packed safely into A New Cooking Bag can not attract any more cheeky goats or chickens who wish to have a little taste.
The ever present dust doesn’t have a way of getting to your food.
And isn’t it true that nutrients remain in the food because nothing can escape through the steam?  

All in all, seven very good reason for using the New Cooking Bag… Good for people and good for the environment!

Watch our presentation

 Latest news

Several women look up at the sky, raise their hands in a devout manner…”Allah Akbar…!" God is mighty…! Others high five each other, squealing…I see smiling, clapping and excited women.

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  Dutch language
You can read the Dutch version of this website by clicking on the Dutch flag at the top of the page.
 Our other websites
Cooking in the New Cooking Bag saves precious water....
Watch us on Youtube:
New Cooking Bag
GEMP Demonstration
 Your NCB
You can obtain a New Cooking Bag from our promoters.