But green is no longer a just a palette choice, but a philosophy as the more enlightened of you well know.
I’m not big on jumping on bandwagons, but Michael Pollan’s piece “Why Bother?” in the April 20th edition of the New York Times Sunday Magazine, gave me pause. Pollan discusses the personal impact we can each have on climate change, and made me consider the fact that my kitchen and some of my behaviors were probably more wasteful than I care to admit.
Pollan eloquently cuts through the verbal clutter of issues around carbon footprints and food miles and makes a strong case that the climate-change crisis is actually “a crisis of lifestyle – of character, even.” Pollan writes, “The Big Problem is nothing more or less than the sum total of countless little everyday choices, most of them made by us (consumer spending represents 70 percent of our economy), and most of the rest of them made in the name of our needs and desires and preferences.”
OK. I get it. I need to change and only I can make it happen. But, where does one start, especially on suburban Long Island, where the grid marks of consumption and mall traffic were firmly established after World War II? I’d love to plant a garden, but I’d never be able to care for it, and the nearest farm stand is about 75 miles away.
But, “home grown” and “sustainable” can be achieved in lots of different ways. “Culinary Types” do have the skills to prepare fresh and exceedingly edible food that is less dependent on highly-processed and excessively-packaged ingredients. So, I’ve resolved to find small solutions that as Pollan writes, may “actually beget other solutions, and not only the kinds that save carbon.” I recently revived the neglected and hibernating bread machine on my kitchen counter, and I realized that for the time it takes to drive to the supermarket, I could actually bake my weekly loaf of bread instead of buying it. It is a small investment of time to measure some simple ingredients and I produce a glorious loaf of nutritious and nutty whole wheat bread, flavored with molasses. The very thought of homemade bread in the pantry is a tantalizing reason to get out of bed, and I can’t wait to indulge in another crusty slice each morning with breakfast. It’s a positive contribution to the environment, and it might also be good for the soul.
However, there is more that can be done. What are your small culinary solutions? I’d love to know. And, check back in the weeks ahead as I begin to redecorate T.W. Barritt’s kitchen in shades of green.
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