What to cook this week?
Sat, 4 May, 2019
Arghh! You can’t win and that’s definite. The food choices required of us in order to decrease our climate footprint are not straightforward, to put it mildly. To put it bluntly, it’s frigging impossible. As we are all more and more concerned (at last – I used to work with scientists who were seriously concerned back in 2002 but nobody listened), there is lots of advice around but it is so fenced off with caveats, trade-offs and dependencies, your mind boggles. Like, beef is bad, but not so bad if your cows graze on non-arable pastures; some cheeses are worse than lamb chops and chocolate is the worst, but only from a deforested rainforest. As I said: aaaarrrghhh!!!
I understand about as much as an average omnivore or less, but the general conclusion is boringly familiar: eat less red meat, more plants, grains and pulses, sustainable fish and seafood. Organic is not necessarily better for the climate but anything seasonal and local is. Air-flown strawberries are a killer but bananas shipped by sea are good; and tomatoes imported by road are better than greenhouse-grown. Above all – waste is criminal, just what I bang on about in the latest blog post.
So there – baked beans with bacon are good for environment, and tasty. You could cook a batch and freeze in portions for weeknight dinners. Likewise lentils and chorizo, a good option all round with lentils and mushroom version for veggies.
Grains and cereals: porridge or overnight oats are truly the best breakfast, the latter requiring zero effort in the morning. Or how about savoury porridge for lunch? Or a couscous salad made with leftover roast chicken?
You sure need to do some research to determine which fish in your market fish stall is sustainable; supermarkets should make it clear on the packaging but they are generally bad guys for climate impact – I said it was hard to win. Once you got your sustainably farmed sea bass fillets, serve them with (either frozen or seasonal) spinach; baked or pan fried. Molluscs are great low-carbon choices so cook some garlic clams to serve over plain pasta.
The cake this week will feature no out-of-season fruit so let’s make use of the last of the oranges (shipped by road or sea) and bake the orange and walnut loaf cake. Walnuts are not offenders. But how do we know what butter is good? And what about ginger? cinnamon? sugar? Trying to be good is incredibly tough.
Hope you all try to do your bit – and don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter.