It is actually all three! To work as an oven, or a slow-cooker, all you have to do is boil the food on your stove top for 10-15 minutes. Place the pot inside the Wonder Oven and it will finish cooking for you. It's so much better than the electric kind of cooker because you can carry this one with you. Imagine the benefits to having a home-cooked meal when you've spent the day at soccer games, or even after a day of traveling? I didn't even mention the advantages of using less fuel. Because of the construction of the bag, though, it can also be used as a cooler. I use mine to carry frozen, or refrigerated food home from the grocery store. I live about 30 minutes from the closest grocery store, so that is important, and it also means that I don't have to rush home. I have plenty of time to make extra stops if necessary.
Comparing Two Wonder Ovens: "Bulked up" vs. “Floppy” You’ll see two styles of Wonder Ovens out on the market. Some that look like this one shown below. It kinda looks like a snowman, don't you think?
And those that look like this. Makes you want to snuggle up with it, doesn't it?
They both do the job. However, two or three inches of compressed beads are really all that are necessary to adequately retain a temperature. There’s no functional advantage to having a “bulked up” Wonder Oven, though some people prefer that it can stand up by itself. Also, having more beads it may make the person using it feel more confident that it can do a job if they haven't tested it yet.
Why “Floppy” is Fantastic: By knowing there isn’t an advantage to having more of the beads in a set of pillows, there are two reasons we feel fewer beads are actually better
1. Using them within a holding container (like a box or a plastic tub) keeps them protected from the elements, if using outside.
2. Less bulk to store and move around.
3. Pillows are more adaptable, each on their own when there are fewer beads. You can even use them independently (the bottom or the top on its own) to retain the heat of a small item, wrapped up by the pillow. In the picture below, you can see that safety pins were used to hold this "bottom" together while keeping cold foods cold.
4. We’ve found pots of any size are nested more easily using fewer beads. Sometimes using less really is MORE!
Is Bigger Better? Tiny (3 mm) beads Vs Larger (5 mm) beads Another thing you’ll often see in wonder ovens is a difference in the size of beads used. Tested against one another, the smaller beads out-perform larger beads. This is easily explained when you consider air space and its effect on heat retention. Larger beads, compressed against themselves, create more air space between themselves than smaller beads do. The smaller beads fit more tightly together as they’re compressed, allowing more of the temperature to be retained. "After 3 hours of comparing different size beads and regrind fill, the wonder box with the smaller beads was 7 degrees warmer than its counterpart with larger beads."
Here are the results on a time/temperature graph. Courtesy Thermal Cooker
I've had customers tell me they're glad I don't "overstuff" because it makes the oven so much easier to use. See for yourself. Visit my Etsy store and check out the comments. I do my best to make sure every customer is satisfied. I'll do the same for you!
P.S. I think you'll find that I'm the ONLY one who double stitches every wonder oven I make! This is important because this one extra step assures you that none of those pesky beads escapes. Each one is hand made in the Great State of Texas so you know your oven is made in the USA.