You can use your cheapo coffee machine to cook after the apocalypse

Here's a clever piece of post-apocalyptic kit. You know that clunky drip-coffee maker you scored for like five bucks at your neighbor's yard sale? Turns out it's actually a pretty serious all-in-one culinary wonder machine – provided you know how to use it.

NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff lists the three basic cooking techniques afforded by your traditional coffee maker:

1. Steam: The basket at the top is a great place to steam vegetables. You can throw in broccoli, cauliflower or any vegetable that cooks in about the same time as those.

2. Poach: The carafe at the bottom serves as a simple vessel for poaching fish and chicken. You can also use it to hard-boil eggs or make couscous and oatmeal.

3. Grill: This technique is a bit more advanced — and time-consuming. But if you're really itching for a grilled cheese sandwich or a cinnamon bun in a motel room, the coffee maker's burner can serve as a miniature grill.

The technique was pioneered by Jody Anderson, a retired photographer in southern Oregon. "My nephew came home from Afghanistan complaining about the food in the mess hall," she told Douclef, "but the soldiers were allowed only to have coffee makers in their rooms."

Whether you're making do with scavenged goods in the post-apocalypse, stationed in Afghanistan, or just looking for ways to circumvent your college dorm's ridiculous no-toaster-oven policy, remember well the coffee pot method. NPR even has links to a few recipes to get you started.