• the cauliflower crusade

    August 16, 2009

    Here in Britain, cauliflower has been in the news quite a bit.  Apparently people aren’t paying much attention to the dimply vegetable that grows very well in these climes.  I have to admit that if it weren’t for the recipe I’m about to share, I wouldn’t think much of cauliflower, either.  Yet have a look around the net and you’ll find some interesting uses:

    How about some raw “popcorn”?

    Or maybe you’d like some mashed potatoes minus the potato.

    Hmm, I must admit I’ve never tried any of these recipes; and I can’t promise I will anytime soon.  Whenever I buy a head of cauliflower, I find it difficult to depart from my usual cauliflower recipe because it’s so darn good.

    Before you click on the recipe below, though, check out today’s edition of the Food Programme on Radio 4 all about…you guessed it:  cauliflower.  The BBC strikes again with a wonderful half hour devoted to the vegetable in question featuring chef Yotam Ottolenghi.  I was hooked the second he said that food should, first and foremost, be about joy.

    And with that, I’ll never tire of making, eating and sharing this:

    new recipe:  year-round cauliflower dahl

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  • freeganism and food waste

    July 21, 2009

    Have I mentioned how much I love BBC Radio 4?  As someone without a TV for nearly five years, Radio 4 is on in my kitchen for a good part of the day.  I catch snippets every time I go in there (which is a lot!) and often end up sticking around to listen because there’s usually something interesting going on.

    Yesterday, the topic was freeganism and the environmental impact of the vast amount of food that goes to waste every day.

    I couldn’t pull myself away listening to freegan Tristram Stuart.   Freegans, of course, forage for dumped food.  While most people find this disgusting, says Stuart, the truly apprehensible thing is how much good food is thrown away.  Stuart talked about how supermarkets deliberately overstock simply to provide what he calls a “cornucopia of choice.” “By wasting so much food, we are hording agricultural land,” he says.  Stopping wasting food, on the other hand, requires little or no sacrifice.   His motto?  Buy what you need, eat what you buy.  Find out how by listening to the show here.  The freeganism part starts at 21:00.

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  • diet and anti-social behavior

    July 6, 2009

    I’m a big fan of BBC Radio 4.  To me, it’s the audio equivalent of the Discovery Channel.

    This morning, Radio 4 featured a very interesting half hour called The Criminal Mind.  I had read about how hyperactive children who were transitioned to a healthy diet showed marked improvement in concentration.  This program looked into similar experiments with prison inmates whereby those adopting a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids committed 26% fewer offences than those inmates on placebo tablets.

    So why isn’t nutrition given the place it deserves?  To quote one researcher, “It is difficult to persuade people that something as simple as diet can have such a major effect.”

    You can listen to the program in full for the next seven days.

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  • seeds of economic change

    June 14, 2009

    The number 27 bus traces a sguiggly path between West London’s Turnham Green and Chalk Farm in the north of the city.  Riding a 30-minute chunk of it today, I realized that the route was a microcosm for the so-called economic crisis.  It seems there isn’t a single block along the double-decker’s path without an empty or soon-to-be vacated storefront.  As for the businesses established in the physical sense, you could almost count on seeing their windows crying out for help: buy one get one free!

    I’ve always thought the economic downturn is actually a good thing and part of a necessary evolution bringing us back to our roots – both in a spiritual and physical sense.  With instability comes a different kind of certainty: focusing on what really matters, and realizing that very few things actually do.

    I believe we’re entering a move towards simplicity, towards a joy that is not dependent on external factors forever beyond our control.

    How timely to see the release of Up, the new Pixar film about an elderly man who fulfills a life-long dream of moving his house above a waterfall in South America.  Throughout his amazing journey, his house actually becomes, literally, an enormous load that eventually leads him to understand that home is only ever where the heart is.

    The surge in popularity of plant-based foods and what they can do for our health and the planet is not a coincidence – nothing is.  The fact that these foods are more affordable both on a personal and global level points to the genius of universal intelligence.  And by affordable I mean in the long-term; cheap food is eventually expensive – both in terms of health-care costs and environmental damage.  Let’s not forget the “eco” in economic!

    Speaking of seeds, please come back tomorrow for a quick lesson on sprouting – dirt-cheap nutrition.  Seriously.

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  • must-see green tv

    June 12, 2009

    I haven’t had a TV in over four years, but I do get a lot of video value out of my Mac.  Here’s a rundown of what caught my eye this week:

    Apparently viewable on YouTube only until tomorrow, so it’s really worth blocking out 1.5 hours to watch Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s amazing aerial footage of the planet as you’ve never seen it before.  May I suggest a nice, big bowl of souped-up strawberries instead of popcorn.

    FOOD, Inc
    Exposé of America’s industrialized food industry opens today in select US cities.  Being in the UK, I won’t be able to watch this yet; but my interest is quite piqued after seeing a PBS interview with director Robert Kenner.  Can’t say I’d snack on anything during this one.

    Raw Spirit Festival highlights
    Matt Monarch talks to health warrior Jameth Sheridan, who shares his honest, thought-provoking views on the many faces of raw while Troy Casey of Amazon Herbs makes me want to grow my hair long and move to Ecuador. Best enjoyed with a glass of Drink Your Greens.

    TED’s eco double bill
    John La Grou plugs smart power outlets and Kevin Surace invents eco-friendly drywall.  Who needs TV when you’ve got TED?

    Reader plea: I’d like to make this a regular feature but can’t keep up with all the great videos out there, so if you come across any you think should be included here I’d be grateful if you’d send them my way.  Happy weekend!

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  • a film so priceless, it’s free

    June 8, 2009

    Very few things manage to dazzle, educate and motivate in 10 minutes, let alone 1.5 hours.  Yet that’s exactly what Yann Arthus-Bertrand does in his film HOME released on Friday.  Instead of the harsh graphics and jarring editing of many eco films, he uses his swooping aerial imagery to present our planet as a masterpiece: one that must not only be appreciated but lovingly restored.   By capturing nature with the sort of awe of a lover, he inspires desire rather than obligation.  It’s utterly brilliant.

    The best part?  HOME, like love, is free.  You can watch it on YouTube, but only until June 14th.  I highly recommend the full-screen option.  Many thanks to Dhrumil at We Like It Raw for tipping me onto it.

    You might also like to check out the filmmaker’s talk on TED, one of my all-time favorite sites. In fact, I could write a whole post about TED: truly thought-provoking talks from a wide-range of talented thinkers.  Again, all free. If you’ve never heard of TED, your world’s about to get rocked.

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