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Sustainability in the Kitchen

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am going to be doing a radio show on sustainability in the kitchen, and I could use some points and topics; suggestions and real-life experiences. Opinions count! Thanks for your input (in advance!):lips:
post #2 of 24
I think there are two primary areas:

Food: buy locally produced products to eliminate transportation and fuel consumption.

Energy: try to use sustainable energy sources, e.g. if the local electric company is investing in wind or solar, that would be more sustainable than gas.

It seems a bit odd to me that a lot of people are jumping on the sustainable bandwagon when it comes to food, but no one seems concerned about the enormous amounts of energy consumed by kitchen equipment.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ajoe...I agree that the energy footprint plays a large part of the sustainability equasion. And I live in Oregon, where there is a lot of attention to recycling and conservation. I know that a good part of my show will be dedicated to this subject and I appreciate your input.
post #4 of 24
One thing you may want to mention is that the power companies can often be quite helpful in determining the energy consumption of various appliances. Comparing energy use is often complicated and time consuming, but some power companies have online calculators that make the process fairly easy.

As an example, we recently found we could save a lot of electricity by purchasing a combination microwave/convection oven. For small jobs, the convection oven is faster and much more efficient. And I've find that it produces more consistent results than our big electric oven.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Great comments. I've also read about some people using their used frying oil to heat their homes or other places, like barns. It sound interesting, but I wonder about an odor...One article I read in Gourmet said a local vegetable farmer would collect the used oil from some of the restaurants he supplied vegies to and used it to heat his home. Biofuel. I am sure it is the wave of the future.
post #6 of 24
You should call your radio show "The Politically Correct Kitchen."

Speaking of the PC use of frying oil, when filtered, it works well in diesel engines. The only downside is, your truck smells like a Big Mac. :D
travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Ha ha! Good one, MikeLM! One sometime must tread lightly, but get the word out. Yes, the chef I had on today, Richard Dingle from the Meadows @ Sunriver Resort talked about using only rice oil for cooking there (not dressings), and it is completely a sustainable product. The oil is made from the husks of the rice. That stuff used to go into feed and pet foods. But the oil is virtually tastless, light, high smoke point, etc. Plus no trans-fat. Almost sounds perfect?! He's established the restaurant as a very good example of sustaining...who he partners with for supplies, etc. Yep, he's proud to be a tree-hugger!
post #8 of 24
What came to my mind with this topic is not wasting, such as using celery leaves rather than throwing them out. Celery leaves are great in some soups--I never throw them out.
post #9 of 24
HBJUL, I had to look twice at your location. I was thinking, "I didn't post my location, did I?" But it was you. I'm in Bend too :D We're sure getting some snow right now.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yep, I am on the edge of Bend and it's nice and peaceful! Are you making soup?
post #11 of 24
:D not making soup right now

I'm playing on the computer and watching the snow pile up. Just got unemployed yesterday and putting together a plan for my next job. If you have any problem with your heating now or AC later on, I can probably help.
post #12 of 24
I know Bend is not real close to the coast, but I wonder if you are familiar with the Adobe Motel in Yachats, which is just about due west of you.

Forty years ago, it had a nationally-recognized restaurant, located a spectacular sixty feet or so from the surf line of the Pacific, with a big glass wall facing the ocean and a huge, open fireplace in the middle of the room.

It was a favorite weekend getaway for people from Seattle (and Portland, I'm sure) and was written up in the East Coast media as a place to go. We spent some lovely weekends there when we lived in Seattle.

Can you tell me about it?

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #13 of 24
I don't know that motel, but Yachats has retained its charm as a small town on the coast. It's beautiful.
post #14 of 24
I don't live in Oregon, and it isn't going to snow here until sometime sunday, so I can't comment on that. I will, however, mention packaging.

While individually wrapped slices of pastuerized, processed, cheese-like food product will probably not be a primary cause in having the earth finally unable to keep supporting the human race, there are most likely some ways to reduce the use of plastic and paper to advertise, transport and contain our foodstuffs.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #15 of 24
Hey Mike,

I remember staying at the Adobe several years ago. Great food! Our room was right over the restaurant and we'd occasionally have a bit of spray come in the open window that night. Spectacular view of the rugged coast, right outside the window.

No snow in Minnesota yet. Probably tomorrow:(
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Glad to see the conversation is multi-directional! As for the food packaging issue...it would be nice to have a cost-effective, possibly edible even "plastic" type of wrapping for some things...kind of like some japanese/chinese candy that I've had. Just a thought.
As for the Oregon Coast, I've only been to a few places in Newport and Lincoln City. The clam chowder is pretty good, but I have struck out at a lot of the restaurants. I guess they "bank" on the view! Which, I might add is breath-taking!
Ajoe...good luck finding work. It's hard right now, I know. You can contact me through KBND-dot-com and maybe I can get you in touch with someone who could use you. Being in radio, I do have some friends.
post #17 of 24
Creative ways to use/store leftovers. For example, plain rice and noodles both freeze well. Lots of great soups can be made using leftovers.
post #18 of 24
I recently watched program on the history channel called Modern Marvels. The show centered around corn and evolution from food to ethanol and even using it as a form of packaging. Apparently a company in Nebraska has broken it down so that it can be used for packaging just like plastic.
To go boxes, bags, clamshell containers,etc. And of course did not take thousands of years to break down. Sounds to me like they need more publicity and additional investment for their great idea.
post #19 of 24
Only thing about biofuels and such . .

It's viewed by many countries as such a waste, food being used as something else when some people can't get as much food as they need. Not trying to be a downer, but that's how some see it.
post #20 of 24
Just came across this article that may offer some ideas.

Food, sustainability, and the environmentalists
post #21 of 24
Delighted to hear the Adobe Motel in Yachats (still pronounced YA-hots, I'm sure) was still operating, at least a couple years ago. We patronized it from 1968 to 1971 or so, and loved every visit. It was a pretty drive down from Seattle, and the restaurant, as I've said, was outstanding.

The story of it was very interesting. It seems that an aerospace engineer from Southern California get fed up with the rat race in the early sixties, quit his job, and came up to the Oregon coast, bought some oceanfront property, and built the original motel himself, from adobe blocks he made on the site! Where he found the clay, let alone dried the bricks - it rains about 345 days per year on the Oregon coast - has always baffled me.

Anyway, according to local lore, he built the kitchen and lovely dining room as part of the operation, and took over as chef. He was written up in a long travel article in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in about 1968, which is where I remember the details above from. It was a very popular weekend destination to Seattle people. There wasn't really much to do on the Oregon coast, but it was already becoming a popular second-home destination. My consulting company did several development studies along that coast for various west coast developers, and we were always kind of at a loss as to why it was so popular. Though, granted, the scenery is spectacular.

The Pacific surf was too rough for there to be many small-boat harbors - the Columbia River bar at Astoria is a notorious ship's graveyard - but there were several golf course developments going in during that period. I have never seen the merit of playing golf in the rain, but Salishan, a posh resort a little to the north of Yachats, had two golf courses and an airstrip for its clientele. I assume it's still going strong.

At the Adobe, after eating, we would build a nice cedar fire in the fireplace in the room (every room had a fireplace and a copious supply of split cedar firewood) and curl up in bed with good books and watch the surf just beyond the window. Or sometimes just... curl up. What the he!l - we were forty years younger then. Other than these pastimes, the Oregon coast doesn't offer a whole lot to do.

Unless you like to play golf in the rain.

Mike :roll:
travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #22 of 24
I moved away from the west side of Oregon because of the eternal drippy darkness much of the year, but in defense of the Oregon coast, there are a lot of things to do:

Ocean fishing, inland salmon, trout and steelhead fishing
Kite surfing (having no wind is a rare thing)
Kayaking in estuaries is a lot of fun, and you can have so much space to yourself
Beachcombing--I find the tidepools a lot of fun
Lots of lush forest to explore, as well as mountains
The Tillamook Cheese factory and other cheese producers there
The Seafood and Wine festival is a lot of fun
The beaches are all public--nobody's allowed to own them

I've got more, but I'll leave it at that.
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Mike...most people I know kind of sigh when they talk about the Oregon Coast. You're right, there's not much to do unless you find a lot of comfort and beauty in watching the storms move in and out....like me! Having lived most of my life near the ocean, I teasure each time I get to go to the coast now...that I live inland.
post #24 of 24
I apologize for dissing the Oregon coast like that. Aside fron the spectacular beauty and the exciting storms, there are lots of attractions if you're an avid fisherman, boatman (but not, I think, an ocean-going boater unless you have something on the order of a Coast Guard cutter.) We hit the Tillamook cheese facroty several times, but we were not equipped to carry a lot of recreational gear at the time.

I do miss the Pacific Northwest, and the Oregon coast was an attractive part of the experience.


a la recherce de temps perdus :rolleyes:
travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
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