How to reheat leftovers without electricity

In the Chad Innovations category of our website, we discuss practical solutions to the challenges of living in Chad.  By living in a place where life doesn’t work the way we are used to, we were forced to become innovators and inventors of new solutions.  One of the first problems I had to solve while there was to figure out how to reheat food without electricity.

Laura at does not use a microwave because… well, it’s a lifestyle choice.  But for us, living in Chad made it impossible.

If you have regular electricity in your home in Chad, then you have been blessed to own generator or a solar electric system.  All it would take to shut your system down forever is to plug a 100 Watt incandescent bulb into the inverter, and turn it on.  In such a case, can you imagine what damage an electric stove, or even a toaster oven would cause from the draw it produces?

Learning how to reheat Food by Trial and Error

On the day I took the photo above, I needed to reheat beignets (fritters) for breakfast.

As a first attempt to solve the problem, I had tried to re-heat beignets by steaming them.  I put them in a colander, and boiled some hot water over them.  The result was…  Well, let’s just say, it didn’t work.

Then, I tried the solution presented in the photo above.  Using the Tupperware we brought with us from the US and the plastic containers we bought locally, then boiled some water and put it into the white plastic container.  I then put the beignets into the orange container, and opened it just enough to break the seal.  The orange container is floating in the water in the white container.  There is no water added to the orange container.

I set this up, then went and did something else for a while.  Less than an hour later, there were warm, crunchy beignets waiting for me!  Yes, it took longer than a conventional microwave back in the US would have taken… but it was…

Faster than a microwave… in Chad

How to reheat leftovers without a microwaveWhy was it faster than trying to use a microwave in Chad?

Let’s pretend that I had a microwave in Chad and was in a place with town power.  First of all, I would have spent hours waiting for the town power to come on.  As soon as I turned it on, the lights would have gone dim all around me.  And before a minute had passed, the town power would have gone out in our part of the neighborhood.

If the microwave had just blown a fuse, I would have to wait a month to get a replacement from the capital city or from

Under these conditions, let’s just say that using my makeshift reheater is MUCH faster than a microwave!

Best of all, after breakfast, I had some warm water to wash the dishes in!  So, this solution provides a double victory!

This solution worked well for a small meal.  If you need to reheat a larger meal for family and friends, please check out Trina O’Boyle’s excellent suggestions!

Let’s pretend you had to live without a microwave while serving overseas.  What solutions can you imagine using to reheat your food?  Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

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