We emphasize local/seasonal food on this blog, which implies the importance of cooking. Maybe we need to declare it more emphatically, champion the act of cooking in the same way we champion the use of local/seasonal ingredients, carpooling and unplugging electronics. Cooking meals from scratch is a sustainable act. Buy whole fresh food, put on an apron, turn on the tunes and get cookin’. Use seasonal and local ingredients when you can, but the cooking itself is part of living green too.
The other side of the coin are prepackaged, processed food-like substances. Two NY Times articles got me going: one was about a father who cooks with his four-year old son almost daily (Fry Daddy); the other about the biggest challenge for Biggest Losers (tv show) is teaching contestants how to shop for and cook healthy meals from scratch (In Kitchen, ‘Losers’ Start From Scratch). From different points of view, each article implies the powerful relationship of food and cooking to our own health and that of the planet, its impact on building community. Bringing our kids along for that ride is part of the deal.
And whole food? Michael Pollan, trying to condense and simplify how one might approach identifying real food, says to buy only what our great-grandmothers would recognize. Pop tarts and tater tots might not pass the test.
Not everyone knows how to or even wants to cook, which is a challenge for those wanting to maintain a relatively green lifestyle. Cooking was part of my family’s culture. My mother and father both cooked, grandmothers and grandfather, and now my brother and I and our kids too. Good fortune I think. Life’s sweetest moments are gatherings around a dinner table and the conversational banter that happens when bellies and hearts are satisfied with food homemade – some of it anyway.
Check this out, the article and video. For Dinner (& Fast), the Taste of Home
What are fast meals with a sustainable conscience? What if you want to live more sustainably, but aren’t that interested or have little time? For reluctant or time-challenged cooks out there, would it be helpful if we posted entire meals occasionally instead of independent recipes?
Originally posted February 16, 2009. Just Cooking.