"I just ate poached salmon cooked underneath the catalytic converter of a 2006 Toyota Tacoma.
And, yeah, I went back for seconds."
So says a columnist for California’s Contra Costa Times, who says, call it Car-B-Que, Engine Eats, Manifold Meals: people have been using their cars as mobile kitchens for years.
Chef Mike Rockey was quoted as saying,
"You can heat something up in virtually any place inside the engine compartment. You just have to wrap it in foil, wedge it in there and stay away from moving parts, especially the fan. You don’t want to put anything near the fan."
The story says that engine cooking became popular in the 1940s and ’50s when engines ran hotter and engine compartments had more wasted space to hold foil-covered potatoes, hot dogs and other road food.
And in a nice food safety shout-out, Rockey said,
"You have to take food safety into account. The internal temperature has to be over 140 degrees, otherwise you leave yourself open to bacterial growth."
A quick search revealed a 1998 book, Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine!