If you’re interested in a greener way of life, the kitchen is one of the areas you can affect the most change, especially with regards to food preparation. To become an eco-cook, there are at least three areas to focus on: Reclaiming the means of your own food production back from corporations, utilising low carbon cooking methods, and being selective about the ingredients you use.
Low Carbon cooking methods
Cooking isn’t the biggest culprit of carbon emissions in our individual lives, but it isn’t an inconsequential player. There are two ways you can tackle your energy usage in the kitchen.
Firstly, you can completely revamp your cooking style by switching to alternative, low carbon cooking methods. Solar cooking is a prime example, and there are a few different ways to harness the energy of the sun for your meals.
Pots and pans made with new ceramic-based non-stick technology are better than traditional non-stick Teflon pans, because they waste less heat and the non-stick quality lasts much longer. And if you’re remodelling, convection ovens cook about 30% quicker than traditional ovens, which saves time and energy.
There are some other odd cooking methods you can try out, like cooking with geothermal heat, steaming fish in your car while you drive, or building your own solar cooker with a pizza box, some foil, glue and tape.
If you want to stick with your traditional cooking methods, the second way to reduce your carbon footprint while cooking is to use energy-efficient appliances. Just like cars today are more fuel efficient than the cars of yesteryear, modern appliances have also come a long way to become more energy efficient. Compare the voltage usage when shopping for cookware to suss out your greener options.
Choose your ingredients
There are a few points that can be mentioned regarding eco-friendly ingredients. Organic food isn’t just hype, as it really is better for your health, and generally implies sustainable agricultural practices.
Buy your ingredients from local sources as far as possible. Not only would you be supporting local producers, you’ll bag the freshest, and, often, the best organic and natural foods available.
Also consider the packaging the food comes in. Did the suppliers make an effort to minimise waste or to use eco-friendly packaging?
Cook your own food
One of the greenest points to mention in relation to food preparation is the importance of quite simply just cooking your own food.
Over the last few decades there’s been a trend to cook less and less of our own food, and rely on corporations to cook our food for us. This issue is a lot more complex than can be summed up here, but you can watch a video by the acclaimed activist and journalist, Michael Pollan, about why this is problematic and why we should care about this.
Cooking your own food instead of getting hyper-processed takeout every day is more than just diet advice. Relying on corporation-made food supports a massive industry that to a large part isn’t conducive with a sustainable ethos.
The history of how this change came about is quite interesting, and its effects on our bodies, society and planet are far-reaching. Simply put, keep control of your own means of food production by cooking your food yourself.
Also of interest to read is David Singer and Jim Mason’s book, The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter. They delve into the the behind-the-scenes politics of the industry and question the impacts of our food choices.
Of course, there’s more to ethical eating than just cooking your own food, but it is a good place to start
Cooking your own food with sustainable ingredients and green cooking methods will not only qualify you as an eco-cook, but as an eco-warrior. Happy cooking.