Thursday, July 22, 2010

Conscious Kitchen - a book review

After reading several blog posts of this author’s on The Daily Green I decided to put the book Conscious Kitchen on hold at the library. About a month later it came up and I dug through it. An easy and quick read and broken up nice so you can read only the sections that interest you – here is what I got out of it:
  • Whole foods do cost less. I agree, but she suggests you don’t have to be a good cook you just have to know how to cook with source ingredients and then sub seasonal foods. I might beg to differ on the first part and I could certainly use more help on the second. I think all this is fine, but not convenient and if you are not a good planner can end up wasteful. Still, I agree this is where you can truly get the most conscious kitchen
  • It seems to me that you have to be really good at putting a menu together in your head at the store or farmers market once you see what there is available – again, I suck at this…if anyone knows how I can learn this (preferably in my sleep which is when I would have the most time) please let me know
  • Coolest tip: PLU codes on fruit that start with #9 and have 5 digits are organic,#4 and 4 digits are conventional, #8 and 5 digits are genetically modified
  • Some great resources to learn about COOL (country of origin labels)
  • Know the dirty dozen and other good tips to help you in choosing organic vs. local, etc.
  • Best takeaway for me: Test your garden soil! I have this on my list to do before next year’s garden season!
  • There are in depth sections on dairy and the information on OJ and tea really got me thinking (looks like I’m going to take organic more seriously)
  • If you are really into cooking there is a great section on cooking gear
  • There are lots and lots of good reasons to get rid of all the plastic in your kitchen

Obviously nothing in the book is convenient – trips to 6-7 places a week just are not possible for most families. I felt like many things discussed were not new to me – but if you were just starting down this path it might be interesting to read (or it might scare you off). Tips like learn to cook with local ingredients are great general statements, but learning to cook is a huge hurdle for some of us – well, for me at least. I loved the idea of making your own pastas and breads and I believe that I can do this…but I have to find the time. Still, all in all a good library check out. 
This leads me to my super duper big idea (PBS Kids parents will get that reference). After reading this book, I would LOVE to organize some mass making parties or meal pieces swaps. Something like a 2-3 hour party where we make something like pasta or sauce and each take some home. OR, find a few friends and “trade” ingredients. So for instance one person bakes bread, one makes and freezes pasta, one makes some jam – all in mass quantities and then we all trade for a little of each.

No comments:

Post a Comment