Two thoughts about food

1. I originally became vegetarian because of the horrendous environmental impact of large-scale production of meat.  Lately, I’ve strayed a little – though I still eat meat less than twice per month – but reading this article brought me back to my original commitment to vegetarianism:

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

Lots of my formerly veggie friends are eating meat now, many on the condition that it be free-range or organic or whatever.  I respect a wide range of food choices and will probably continue to be a little flexible at the edges of vegetarianism.  Still.  Wow.  Twenty percent: that’s six days of vegetarianism per month.  I’ve never expected everyone to share my choice, it’s more like a choice that’s easy enough for me to make that might inspire others to experiment a little with eating less meat.  The impact can be huge.

I wonder if any sort of equivalent study could be done around food packaging and processing.  If we all found ways to cut down on our intake of processed, plastic-wrapped food, even just a little, what difference might it make?

2. I made my first genoise cake tonight.  I’ve been dying to try the new cake book and invited some friends over for dinner.  I just whipped up the basic genoise and a simple lemon glaze.  Genoise is egg-based, not butter-based, and a hundred times lighter (and probably a lot healthier, since you get a whole cake from a couple of tablespoons of butter, a bunch of eggs,  a cup of flour and a half cup of sugar – compare to the cups of butter and sugar that go into butter cakes!).  Some of the steps seemed complicated but it was actually a simple, quick recipe, and the texture of the cake was so airy… The lemon glaze was a little too thin and ran over the sides too much, but otherwise, really good.  I forgot to take a picture.

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