Whether you're Occupying Wall Street or just Occupying Your Car, there may come a time in your life when you're hankering for a warm meal but don't have access to any appliances generally used for cooking. In this situation, you can either sad sack yourself to a grocery store or gas station and get yourself some Lunchables that you will wash down with your own tears of ineptitude, or you can take a look at what's around you and cook yourself a meal using alternative heat sources and your own stubborn willpower.
The first thing you need to do in order to cook without an appliance is free your mind from the shackles of a culture that looks down upon a woman making herself a hot dog on a car engine or a casserole using blank CDs. Only God or the Heat Miser can judge you! Enjoy your choices!
Second, assess your heat sources. If you've got something cookable, aluminum foil, and something that throws off a lot of heat, chances are you can somehow combine these three things to create magic.
Cooking food using the heat generated by your car's engine need not be accompanied by harmonica music and a hobo nickname like "Jimmy Two Bags;" people make stuff on their cars all the time. In fact, an entire book called Manifold Destiny exists to teach the ovenless how to grill with their cars.
That book teaches elaborate recipes like how to make marinated car engine chicken wings, but for the sake of simplicity, we'll talk about how to heat up a hot dog (if this offends you, Ms. Fancy, remember that you're the one cooking food on your car). You'll need aluminum foil, hot dogs, and hot dog buns. Make a nice thick pouch with your foil, big enough to hold a few loaded hot dog buns, and seal the edges tightly. Place the hot dogs inside the buns, and the buns inside the pouch. Fold the edge of the pouch over a few times so it seals shut. Drive your car around for about 5 minutes before placing your hot dog package over a hot part of the the engine block. Don't block any vents, move any wires, or interfere with anything that moves, and make sure the package is in there securely and isn't going to slide around. Then drive around for about 30-40 minutes. Maybe listen to some top 40 radio. Get a sense of what the kids who go to tha club are making bad decisions to nowadays. After your requisite drive around time, use oven mitts to remove the package from the engine block and enjoy, while trying not to feel too bad about yourself. Probably avoid doing this if you don't know what parts of the engine do what, or if you're in a rental. "Processed meat caught in car engine" is a difficult bit of damage to explain to an insurance agent.
If you're like me and hate driving so much that you base your choice of residence on whether or not you'd be required to drive a car to get places, you probably won't feel like spending 30-40 minutes behind the wheel wondering about the status of some engine dogs. Don't worry! There are weird ways to cook food inside your house, too. Do you have a dishwasher? Let's use that!
There are some pretty elaborate dishwasher dinner recipes out there— dishwasher lasagna Florentine, for example, but for the sake of simplicity, we'll talk about making salmon. Gather your friend Giant Roll of Aluminum Foil and introduce him to Small Piece of Salmon. Place the salmon, some lemon wedges, and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the middle of a big piece of aluminum foil, and then wrap up tightly. If you're making more than one piece of salmon, wrap each piece separately. Place them in the top rack of the appliance, and then run the dishwasher on a normal cycle. While you wait for your dish fish to steam, pretend you have a rich, fulfilling social life. Imagine holding hands with Clive Owen. If you're concerned about safety, make sure the internal temperature of the fish is about 145 degrees before you eat it. Clive would be so proud of you.
And finally, if you've got a strange collection of objects just languishing around your house that includes a clip on metal lamp, a 100 watt bulb, duct tape, a large heat proof bowl, some blank DVD's, a small disposable roasting pan, you can try to fashion yourself an extremely dangerous but passable oven using the same technology as the Easy Bake Oven that burned you in your precious child memories. Place the 100 watt bulb in the lamp, place the lamp face up inside the bowl, and duct tape the lamp so that it is upright in the bowl (see linked video). Arrange blank DVDs with the extra shiny side facing up around the bulb in the lamp. Place your desired meal in the roasting tray, cover the trai, and then set the tray atop your Easy Maim Oven. The temperature thrown off by the lamp should be about the equivalent of a 350 degree oven, so cook your food for about as long as it would take in an oven. When it's done, praise all of the deities that you didn't burn your house down. In fact, better try this when you're outside. Far from trees. As nutty as it sounds, it can actually work. These guys made a turkey. You might make a house fire. You'll never know unless you try!
Some sources claim you can cook dinner using space heaters and radiators, but I don't want any more fires on my conscience as we enter the holiday season. Maybe go for sushi rather than burn down your house.