Eco-hero: margate woman leaves energy-saving legacy

2012-05-09 00:00

MARGATE’S energy-saving activist, Romi Little, died from lung cancer last week.

She would have turned 70 on May 19.

Little, who was a qualified nurse and industrial psychologist, had a passion for eco-cooking.

She devoted her last years as volunteer to teach mothers in and around Margate to save money by using home-made “cooking cushions”.

Originally known as “wonderboxes” because the recyclable insulation material was shaped in a carton box, the cooking cushions put to good use insulation principles to maintain heat and cook food long after the source of the heat has been removed.

Little promoted eco-cooking at schools and rural areas, showing pupils and women how to cook with less electricity, gas or wood.

She was buried on Friday at a private ceremony held at the home of her sister, Avril Vogt, who said that Little’s legacy would continue to live on in the community.

“Merlewood Primary Eco School and teachers at the Merlewood Primary are willing to teach anyone who is interested to learn about this project, in memory of Romi,” said Voigt.

She said the project teaches how to make and use the cooking cushions to best effect at no cost if people supply their own recycled materials.

Details are available from Avril Vogt at 079 156 6192 or Fazila Jantjies or Nthabi Mahlaudi at Merlewood Primary School at 039 685 4843. — WR.

What is eco-cooking?

A U.S. blog,, explains how to make a cooking cushion, originally called the “wonderbox”.

Polystyrene crumbs are stitched into “cushions” made out of large pieces of plastic, mutton cloth or other washable material.

The cooking cushions work by not allowing any heat to escape, and are shaped like beanbags with a “cushion lid”, and should totally envelop the pot one aims to steam food in.

“Using a wonderbox reduces the amount of fuel needed to cook your meal because the fuel that would normally be used to keep your food at cooking temperatures after it has started boiling is eliminated,” the site states.

The insulation of a cooking cushion can also keep dairy products cool for hours.

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