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UKEMOCHI: Fireless Cooking

Just cook it: Unplugged and worry-free cooking in a box made of recycled running shoes.

Photo of UKEMOCHI null
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Our Solution

We propose to make an updated version of the Haybox using Nike Grind as a mechanically stable and heat insulating material.

What is a haybox?

A Haybox is a box insulated with - traditionally - hay where a preheated pot of food can simmer in its own heat. 

A Haybox is an eco-friendly and stress-free way to prepare delicious food.


1. Pre-heat the pot (by conventional means).

2. Place the hot pot in the Ukemochi.

3. Place the lid and let the food simmer in its own heat.

What to prepare in the UKEMOCHI?

There are quite a few sources on how to cook fireless - one of the normative ones is Margaret J. Mitchell's Cook Book from 1909.

One great example (of many): Corned Beef for 20-25 persons after 10-12 hours in the Haybox:


Ukemochi is the Japanese Goddess of food. The sun goddess Ameaterasu sent her brother, Tsuki, to check that Ukemochi was doing her job. While he was visiting she opened her mouth and sent out boiled rice, turned to the sea and from her mouth sent out fish and seaweed. Tsuki, for some reason, didn’t like this and killed her. From Ukemochi's head then came an ox and a horse, and from her genitals came beans! (XMen go home!).

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Flashings
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Laminated EVA Foam

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

1. Heat Insulation: Preferably, we want to make slabs out of the Nike Grind EVA foam components (or alternatively use the Nike Grind as loose granulate). We will use conventional compression molding technology to make the slabs and combine it with subsequent laser or water cutting to get the details right. All processes needed are available, industrial and scalable. 2. Thermal stability. We may need additional binder to glue the Nike Grind granulate together. During the process, any VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) will evaporate so that food will not be contaminated. As shown in the thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) enclosed, the final EVA slabs are temperature stable at the service temperature for the final product (i.e. the boiling point of water). 3. Outer Case: Here shown as bamboo. A heavy-density recycled EVA case could also be used. 4. Inner Case: Here shown as a plastic case. If the integrity of the surface of the Nike Grind slabs is high enough, this can be omitted. If we need to use Nike Grind as granulate, it is obviously needed.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

The illustration shows an Ukemochi "de luxe" model with a bamboo finish.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

1. Lifestyle Product: We think that resource conscious individuals in the Western world will appreciate the (re)invention of the Haybox. 2. Lifesaving Product: An estimated three billion people cook and heat their homes with open fires and simple stoves. It is estimated that in 2015 between 490,000 to 760,000 Africans died due to inhaling cooking smoke. (Source: Reduced exposure to smoke means a reduced health risk. It also reduces the use of dirty fuel (e.g. coal/wood).

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Scale as a Lifestyle Product: We would like to team up with an existing manufacturer of pots and pans and make UKEMOCHI part of their product offering (as an accessory). They have the distribution setup and access to the relevant sales channels. Some potential users may need good arguments to use a 'shoe box' to cook. Thus, a significant barrier for a successful intro to market will be the cost of marketing (e.g. the cost of teaming up with a celebrity chef). Scale as a Lifesaving Product: Team up with USAID, WHO, UN and/or with relevant NGOs such as African Clean Energy working to improve the way people cook. Then (re)design UKEMOCHI to fulfill the requirements of the segment. Some users will have to change their cooking habits to get the maximum benefit of the UKEMOCHI. The cultural barriers may be significant. The difficulties of bringing a bulky product into remote areas of the world may be substantial.

What inspired this idea?

Our parents used hayboxes (without hay but with duvets) during the Oil Crisis in the early 1970ies. The food was obviously delicious but the design was less yummy.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

With a permanent base in Copenhagen, Denmark, the team behind UKEMOSCHI is slow cooking new product concepts all over the world.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Our Workshop

Hey !
We're based in South Africa where a lot of people cook on open fires, sometimes inside their homes! The hay-style passive cooker is a great idea and we look forward to see where you go from here!
Also please do be in touch, and check out our proposal for this challenge as well as the forthcoming bridge-builder challenge.
Let's build some bridges!! We think that slojd is a very exciting concept for craft and making education. Perhaps you could share more about it in future?
Good luck!

Photo of UKEMOCHI null

Our Workshop Thanks for your kind comments! Amazing that you know about "sløjd"! It was, in fact, a real "maker movement" before the term became fashionable! If you are heading in that direction with your project, perhaps there are some grants available?

Photo of Our Workshop

Ha! That’s a very interesting looking link! Thank you I’ll check it out.
What I like about the trajectory of Slojd is that it’s done a lot of ‘failing’ or learning as a system since 1880 whatever - so to usebis and adapt it to a new context would be a kind of shortcut.
Appreciate the comment

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