Hay box cookery is an economical method of slow cooking without the use of fuel. A box is filled with insulative material such as hay or crumpled newspapers. The dish to be cooked is first brought to the boil in a covered saucepan or flameproof casserole on top of the stove. The pan is then placed in the box and tightly surrounded by the hay or other insulating material and the food is left to ‘cook’ slowly. The hay box cools very slowly – it can take up to 6 hours before it becomes cold.
Hay box cookery is rarely used now, except by campers. Its main advantages are that it saves money, and the dish needs no attention while it is in the box.