It IS Easy Being Green
June 24th, 2011 - By Lari Robling
Cooking mindfully and deliciously has benefits for both you and the earth. Myra Goodman offers easy tips for a green and healthy kitchen.
The green movement has landed in the kitchen. No, that doesn't mean you are eating nothing but lettuce, spinach and collards — although they are healthy things to eat! It's about changing your work habits, tools and supplies to make the kitchen eco-friendly. "There are really little things that you can get in the habit of doing, and they're really not sacrifices, it’s just that intention," says Myra Goodman, co-founder of Earthbound Farm and the woman behind those convenient organic bagged salads. She says there are simple things we can do while preparing meals that collectively make a big difference in the environment.
"Virgin paper towels cut down lots of trees, they use lots of energy and lots of water to produce them. If you buy post consumer recycled paper towels you are creating a market for recycled paper and it actually uses a fraction of the water and the energy to create it. So that's one example." Goodman also found a surprising statistic when doing her research, she continues, "if you leave your faucet running for five minutes it uses as much power as leaving a sixty watt light bulb on for fourteen hours." And as for that great debate about hand-washing vs. automatic dishwashers, you can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Running a full dishwasher uses fewer resources than hand washing.
But of course, kitchen work is not just about cleaning up, there's also the actual cooking! Goodman notes that sometimes the eco-friendly way is the way our grandmothers did it, so she tossed out her no-stick pans made with harmful chemicals and turned to an old fashion work horse. "I love cast iron, and I only started cooking in cast iron a few years ago, and I love it so much. I love that I can cook my foods on high heat, get them crispy, I can cut with a knife right in the pan, and put it in the oven. When I serve out of my cast iron the food stays warm, and I never had a grandma that had cast iron. So, I am turning my cast irons into family heirlooms."
When you consider that on average Americans spend 50% of their waking hours in the home, it makes sense that even small changes accumulate big results for a healthier planet. So, Myra Goodman has compiled her recipes and tips for a green conscious kitchen in her book, The Earth Bound Cook.