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Cooking Diaries (Zambia)

Published Date 

30 Sept 2019


Leary, J et al., (2019)

Main authors: J. Leary, N. Scott, N. Serenje, F. Mwila, S. Batchelor
Associate authors: M. Leach, E. Brown, F. Yamba

About the publication

20 households (HHs) were asked to keep detailed cooking diaries, recording exactly what they cooked, when and how for six weeks. For the first two weeks they were asked to cook as they would normally, using their usual fuels and stoves. For the remaining four weeks, they were asked to transition to cooking completely with electricity and also trial a new appliance, the Electric Pressure Cooker (EPC). Fuel quantities were measured by weighing charcoal, kerosene or LPG cylinders before and after each “cooking event”; plug-in electricity meters were used for the electric cooking appliances.

The study samples were drawn from urban households in Lusaka and therefore represent an evolved mix of traditional and modern cuisine. A database of foods cooked; cooking time and duration; and energy used was assembled. The probability distributions for the energy required to cook each meal type were produced, and disaggregated as far as possible to explore the influence of a variety of parameters, including fuel, appliance and meal type.

The cooking diaries study in Zambia has shown that cooking with electricity is compatible with Zambian cuisine and that modern energy-efficient appliances are highly desirable to everyday Zambian cooks. In
particular, the Electric Pressure Cooker (EPC) as a prime candidate for future eCook products, as it can
significantly reduce the energy demand for the biggest energy consumers: ‘heavy foods’

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