Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Diet Climate Connection

I'm listening to this show from Human Media right now.   It's being broadcast on my local public radio station.  There's not a lot of information here new to me, but some interesting stories, and a real range of voices.  Nicely done.

Right now I am too tired from a long multi-scene day to give it the attention it deserves.   Fortunately I can listen later.  I also think the booklet on the site is a pretty good introduction to the ethics of eating in a way that is environmentally sound, with handy hints for individuals and families that are new to these issues.

One question that sticks with me from early in segment one:  why do people think that eating meat or not is simply a personal choice?   It's not a personal choice to eat the amounts of meat many Americans do.  It's a choice with global implications.   How can I/we help people to awake to these insights?

I suppose I carry the virus I would like to eradicate, though. While I came home and ate dal and brown rice, my favorite food at today's Sonoma Chamber of Commerce food expo and forum was the Vella cheese!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Drunken Botanist

Well, I don't drink much anymore, and I'm really having to pace my gardening and botanizing given my beleaguered joints, but I really want to read The Drunken Botanist:

I recently read Amy Stewart's The Earth Moved as part of my education about soil formation, and it was so well-written it could hold the interest of even the worm squeamish and the dirt phobic.

Now a chance to bring together two life long interests in reading her most recent oeuvre.   Perhaps a pleasure of ageing is that if you can't do it, you have more time and energy to read about it!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Environmentally wise isn't necessarily healthful

...not when multiple tablespoons of fat are in a food with no redeeming nutritional value.

Everyone knows the story by now.   When trans fats (hydrogenated oils as in margarine) were removed from prepared foods, manufacturers turned to the vegetable fats which are solid at room temperature naturally.   Palm oil use sky-rocketed, and rainforests were destroyed at alarming rates to make way for oil palm plantations.   Orangutans were endangered with habitat loss, and green house gases increased.

Now, at the behest of a stock holder, the New York State pension fund,  Dunkin' Donuts has pledged to do something about this.  Imagine, sustainably produced fats in your jelly doughnut!  Along with the white flour, white sugar, and God-only-knows what else.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Did You Know it's IYQ?

I just tumbled to the fact that it's the International Year of Quinoa.

Because of it's nutritional value and adaptability to harsh climates (cold, sere, high altitudes), and because it is a traditional smallholder crop, quinoa is being promoted as a contributor to solving global hunger.  The indigenous people of the Andes are to be thanked for developing and maintaining so many strains of quinoa over the last 7000 years, and now for sharing their traditions with the world's peoples.

Quinoa is not, as some people refer to it, a grain, though it has similar uses.  It is a member of the family Amaranthaceae, genus Chenopodium.   A related common edible weed (lamb's quarters or pigweed) grows around here, and a few other relatives are grown in gardens as hot weather spinach substitutes.

If my culinary Spanish were only a little better, I'd be trying a few items from this traditional Andean cookbook:
Just beautiful!

Which leads me to say, I now know what inspired the incredibly bright colors of chullos (Andean earflap hats).  It's the colors of their local quinoa and potatoes!

And finally, why Mr. Google, do you not have "quinoa" in your spell checker?
I know I saw a recipe for it in your employee dining room cookbook.