Late last year the United Nations released a report on livestock and the environment which concluded that livestock production is one of the top contributors to environmental problems on every level, from global down to local. Raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.
Kathy Freston wrote about this in her column online in The Huffington Post:
Feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we'd need if we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant foods. On top of that, we have to transport the animals to slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and distribute their flesh all across the country. Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels--and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide--as does a calorie of plant protein. The researchers found that, when it's all added up, the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by going vegetarian than by switching to a Prius.
Certainly gives us something to think about.
Want to do something positive for the environment? Try checking out a book on vegetarian cookery to put to use in your own kitchen. Leonardo DiCaprio, cruising Hollywood in his Prius, will have nothing on you.
Everybody has his or her own passions and the Internet gives everyone a chance to obsess and be obsessive about them. And the rest of us can all enjoy the fruits of those labors.
Luke Cole is a guy of multiple interests who has a Big Thing about root beer. He's got a website devoted to the subject with all sorts of interesting facts about root beer manufacturing, plus the history, lore, and trivia surrounding root beer. Want to see bottle caps and labels? Luke's got 'em. He conducts regular tastings and puts the results right out there. Most impressive of all is his list of reviews of just about every kind of root beer available. There's no excuse for settling for mediocre root beer when a resource like this is available.
Did everyone have a good weekend? Judging from our shared Monday morning accounts here at the library, it was a very busy and not so restful weekend. Library programs, classes, college reunions, Scout activities, and church events have kept the library staff hopping since Friday. To make up for all this frenzied activity, wouldn't it be nice if there were time this week to slide back into the routine in a leisurely way?
Not very darn likely.
But here's something kind of cool for a busy Monday. The Accidental Hedonist is a food blog covering food safety, food science, restaurants, cooking, and above all, EATING. Everything is written up with a touch of humor and edge. Fun to read.
My schedule just became full-time this spring. My playtime has taken a serious hit and I'm bursting with ideas for fiber projects, but it's hard to make time for them. So some of those get put on the back burner.
Another thing that has suffered in this new time crunch is cooking. I enjoy cooking, when I'm in the mood, but I'm not enthused about working a full day and then hanging out in the kitchen till 9 p.m. But you can't just say that cooking goes on the back burner too (and what a mangled metaphor THAT is!) because you do have to eat. No getting around that. And certain people at my house might balk at Cheerios for dinner on a regular basis.
I caught a show on PBS called Everyday Food that features a group of fairly normal-looking people preparing some very interesting looking dishes that seem quick, achievable, and tasty. Turns out the show is part of the Martha Stewart empire, which also includes a magazine called Everyday Food. The TV show site contains some, but not all the recipes demo'd on the air, but all the recipes can be found at Martha Stewart's Everyday Food site.
I won't stoop so low as to end this post with that most hackneyed of Martha's quotes, but I'm liking this show and this magazine.
It's fun to see where Internet hop-scotching takes you. Today we seem to be investigating tea--its aura, its making, its serving, its accoutrements.
It began here. That led to this (scroll down just beyond the discussion on Bewitched.), which led to this. "This" is a discussion of tea, its proper making and drinking, led by Neil Gaiman, author, artist, and noted Brit. Gaiman points you to this BBC explanation of the proper method of making tea, just for Americans. That article leads you to this version, aimed more perhaps at British readers.
Need a teapot? A Gaiman reader contributed a link to some very interesting teapots.
After all this, you may be ready for that most restful of sites: A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sitdown. Here you will find guidance on just that.
Most of these pages offer more links which may take you on further adventures of your own. Enjoy!
Ruth Reichl, the larger-than-life editor of Gourmet magazine, has written two highly acclaimed memoirs, Tender at the Bone, about her growing up years in Greenwich Village, and Comfort Me with Apples,which follows her early adulthood in Berkeley. Her new book Garlic and Sapphires recounts her years in the coveted job of restaurant critic for The New York Times.
It's no secret that the rich and famous are treated differently in some dining establishments--and Ms. Reichl's picture was posted in many a restaurant kitchen. She describes developing disguises and even varying personnae for her ventures into New York restaurants to put staff to the test. There's lots of foodie gossip and a little New York Times gossip too. Sound like a good read?
The USDA, amid much fanfare, has released a new Food Pyramid to motivate us all to eat better and to be more healthy. It's said that the old Food Pyramid was "confusing". What is certainly true is that few people paid as much attention to it as they should. Perhaps things will be different, now that the stripes on the pyramid run vertically.
There's been lots of buzz in the last few weeks over the book French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. The Morning News has gathered a group of French food bloggers to discuss the bestseller and the reality of French women and their eating habits.
If the French could learn anything from Americans, that would be to have more fun with the food, while Americans could definitely be introduced to portion control.
Food blogs are a not-to-be-missed subset of the current blog proliferation. They're a great way to sneak into the kitchens of the great and the not-so-great--a fun way to live vicariously. One of these days, I'll post a more extensive list of fun-to-explore food blogs and we can all overdose on them.
Today is a good day to highlight one of the best-done food blogs around. It's called Chocolate and Zucchini, and it's the province of a young Parisian woman named Clotilde Dusoulier. She spent some time living in California, and is very fluent in English. The blog is in English and that's one of the big reasons that it makes Parisian ways with food seem very accessible.
Clotilde and her blog are profiled in today's San Francisco Chronicle. Bon appetit!