Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Eating on Earth Day

Yesterday was marked by some interesting eating events reported on commercial media. In the South Bay, one company offered the "low carbon diet" in its cafeteria.

(Are we stuck with this term - akin to foods that "contain no chemicals" and "organic"? Has no activist or marketer taken chemistry?)

One thing that interested me was that they served no beef or lamb (whose company caff serves lamb anyway? must be some special place) but did serve pork and chicken. They also served no cheese, but did serve other dairy products.

I've just spent far too long trying to figure out what the chef was saying about cheese - something about cheese giving off nitrous oxide. The fact is that all manure can give off nitrous oxide, and dairy is friendlier to the environment than beef.

Here's a good summary article from last fall on Salon that gives a kind of hierarchy of greenhouse gas contributions of various animal proteins.

Based on things I have read in the past, I think they have underestimated chickens, but nevermind - it's still pretty "fair and balanced".

But now I am wondering about turkey, which they don't cover. If I were to eat poultry, I'd prefer sustainably and humanely grown turkey.

Another news story featured a guy who had parboiled the ribs he was barbecuing - thus cutting down on time over charcoal and volume of air pollutants. The things some people think are helpful!

Oh - and what did I eat on Earth Day? Local strawberries I bought on the way home on Sunday - I'd have preferred a different variety - they were the same as the supermarket kind - but at least I could see them growing. Homemade granola - who knows where the oats came from, but they were organic, and the almonds California. Some leftover vegan WIK (what's in the kitchen) soup. Then for dinner spanish rice made with Lundberg's golden rose rice, canned organic tomatoes (the ones in my freezer are gone for another year) and backyard herbs, with refried organic black beans and some Rumiano pepper jack cheese. I was feeling lazy, so couldn't hit the full LOAF standard - but I don't think I ate anything that wasn't at least one of the four: Local, Organic, Animal-friendly, Fair-traded.

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