The menu of the cheerful restaurant located inside the Machanents Center in Echmiatsin lists samples of Armenian. The menu of the cheerful restaurant located inside the Machanents Center in Echmiatsin lists samples of Armenian cuisine: nettle soup, ailazan, Marash, but it’s the Sunny Meals section that has become a hit with diners. When customers order one of the “sunny meals,” chefs head to the satellite dishes in the backyard, where each dish will be cooked by sunlight.
Instead of going to the oven, they fit the pan into a cradle held by two rotating metal arms connected to the center of the satellite dish. They adjust the angle to point the pan at the sun, and they wait. In minutes, the food is ready. On mild sunny days, it cooks in 20 minutes or less. During the hot Armenian summer, the temperature in the pan can reach up to 700º Celsius, so the preparation time ranges from three minutes to less than seven. (But there’s no cooking with the satellites on cloudy days.)
Armenian scientists Gregor Mnatsakanyan and Vahan Hamazaspyan originally created the satellite dishes with dreams of distributing them around the country. Hamazaspyan, a pioneer in the study of solar energy use, began developing the first prototypes in the 1980s, after the devastating Spitak earthquake. Satellite solar ovens, he hoped, would feed his countrymen affordably during hard times.
Check out the full article on Atlas Obscura.