Grief: It’s what’s for dinner

What happens when food, dogma, a green chef, and a Ph.D. collide? Why a scientifically based feel good cookbook, that’s what.

How this cookbook review ended up on the website Energy Bulletin I have no idea. But the description is entertaining. I used to only worry about eating something that was too fattening, now I worry if that Snickers Bar will be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and cause us to pass a tipping point (and I’m not talking bathroom scales). So much to worry about, so little time.

Hmmm, here’s the premise:

“How do our food choices affect global warming? That’s what this website and project, named after the original title of the book, The Global Warming Diet, Cool Recipes for a Hot Planet, set out to discover.”

I wonder if Al Gore has tried this? Is there anything that is safe from being tied to global warming these days?

Cool Cuisine: Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming

by Laura Stec and Eugene Cordero, Ph.D.

Is global warming really the ‘best thing that has happened to the culinary world in a long time’ as chef Laura Stec suggests? The discovery that our food choices can reduce global warming as effectively as buying a new fuel-efficient vehicle inspires new strategies towards creating a more sustainable world. What we eat does have an impact on our planet and you can eat better tasting, higher-vibe food and find solutions for the global warming diet through Cool Cuisine: Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming by Laura Stec with Eugene Cordero, PhD (Gibbs Smith, Publisher).

Cool Cuisine is a smorgasbord of scientific fact and culinary art where the reader learns new ways to look at global warming. It presents the full cycle on how our agrochemical food system affects global warming and how global warming affects the food system. With in-depth research and interviews from over 30 scientists, farmers, ranchers and food professionals, it inspires personal life changes by offering easy recipes, ideas for your next “book and cook” club, and simple tips on how to prepare a global-cooling cuisine. The book is organized into three sections: the first gives background to global warming- food connections, the second highlights solutions, and the third is a “culinary how-to,” teaching simple techniques and tips for cooking a Cool Cuisine.

Laura StecLaura Stec

Laura Stec is a San Francisco Bay Area chef and environmental advocate who enjoys teaching about the artistry, health and energetics of cooking. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America, the School of Natural Cookery and the Vega Macrobiotic Study Center before starting her own personal chef/catering business – Laura Stec – Innovative Cuisine, and joining Kaiser Permanente Medical Group as their Culinary Health Educator. Since founding one of the first U.S. food and environment organizations in 1989, Stec has been feeding us with the idea that one the most positive effects we can have on the environment begins on our dinner plate, a message she continues to promote while on staff 12 years at Acterra, an environmental organization based in Palo Alto, CA. With over 25 years experience in the food industry, Stec now partners with EcoSpeakers.com to lecture and consult with corporations and institutions on ways to bring regionally responsible cuisine into their food systems.

Read more about Laura at http://laurastec.com/aboutlaura.html

Eugene Cordero Eugene Cordero, Ph.D

Dr. Eugene Cordero is an Associate Professor in the Department of Meteorology at San José State University (SJSU) in California. His research interests are focused on understanding the processes responsible for long-term changes in climate through the use of observations and atmospheric models. At present, this work is supported by research grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA. Dr. Cordero is a coauthor on the WMO/UNEP 2006 Ozone Assessment report and is currently participating in projects related to evaluating the models used for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. In the Department of Meteorology, Dr. Cordero teaches various courses in climate change and is involved in projects working to improve methods of education that engage and ultimately stimulate social change.

Read more about Eugene at http://www.met.sjsu.edu/~cordero

(Hat tip and a carbon free lunch to David Walton)

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71 thoughts on “Grief: It’s what’s for dinner

  1. If you’re really serious, I think fungi are the only allowable food.

    Plants are necessary because they’re busy eating the carbon dioxide.

    Eating animals might be okay, but you can’t breed or feed them – they’ll want to eat plants.

  2. I remain resentful that the original panic that animal fat would kill you has made it almost impossible to buy a decent piece of meat in Australia; has changed the way the entire world eats; and yet this story ran in the New York Times on October 9, 2007: Findings … Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus By JOHN TIERNEY with no outrage across the board; and apparently with no penny-dropping enlightenment that maybe we were born suckers all and should really sit down and do a little thinking for ourselves…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/09/science/09tier.html?_r=1&ei=5087&em=&en=53bfd0df7f448ca4&ex=1192161600&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin

    Just another ozone hole in our head. Just another overheating globe. Piltdown Man was grade-school stuff to our sophistication in warping truth these days.

  3. I wonder if the book covers a cap and trade solution to bean burritos?

    But seriously, agricultural run off has messed with the nitrogen/phosphate balance in the oceans causing a reduction in plankton and the productivity of the basal segment of the food chain. There is some environmental merit to the premise of the book, but it will have no effect on climate.

  4. New Scientist had this subject as their main article in a recent issue. Not that i read it just saw the headline, since they are against waste i decided not to waste my money.

  5. Hey, what did you expect from a couple of people from the San Francisco Bay area… the hot bed of liberalism.

  6. I hope they are just eating salads and other raw food as cooking itself is CO2 producing, whatever way you do it.

    Regards

    Andy

  7. This stuff isn’t even funny anymore.

    It’s pathetic.

    I used to laugh and, yes, snicker, but now I think they should just grow up.

  8. OT
    Interesting that the Daily Telegraph Uk has not published a single letter about its WWF report on Monday.

  9. Wait a sec…Laura Stec is working with Kaiser Permanente? The same Kaiser Permanente featured prominently in Michael Moore’s Sicko? The same Kaiser Permanente that has screwed millions?

  10. Hardly a niche market…lots and lots of kooks out there.
    I expect them to sell a million copies or more. NYT will hype it up and put on its bestseller list.

    Meanwhile, I’m going to got out and enjoy a nice medium 1/2 lb. sirloin steak this evening, with a glass of red wine to boot.

    By the way, what are all these Manhattan kooks now supposed to enjoy their red wine with when steak is a mortal sin? Celery?

  11. Werner Weber,
    I think an old slogan from the 70s is about to make a big comeback:
    “Where’s the beef!”

  12. It must have passed me by, but what is “higher-vibe food”? Is it a new word for vegetarian or vegan? Can anyone tell me? I’ve never noticed my food vibing or being musical!

  13. “Cool cuisine” OK, but the point when you eat is the taste, not the planet.
    I wouldn’t trust the recipes of a chef with such lack of common sense. I’m French and amateur of fine cuisine.

  14. we may be onto another major antarctic re-freeze this year. It snowed in Southern Australia yesterday. Predict Arctic will still go ABOVE anomaly this year and well on way.

  15. Another diet of the moment. {or is that another eye-roller moment?} Remember the low fat food craze? The tasty fat was replaced with carbs/sugar. Health got worse.
    You want to save the planet? Don’t eat.

    My diet – if it tastes good, eat it.
    If you gain weight, eat less, exercise more.

    Bottled water? Sure. Bought some last year and have been refilling those handy bottles with tap water ever since. Convenient way to keep water cold in the fridge.

    As for Cool Cuisine, there’s a sucker born, etc. etc.

  16. NSW experienced the coldest Oct day for 30 years today. It snowed on the tablelands, we had hail in Northern NSW.

    Last night the ABC showed a doco that was advertised as :

    A highly entertaining documentary which follows agriculturalist Dr Ken Street as he hunts for the wild chickpea which could save the world from mass starvation in the event of global warming.

  17. Vaguely, the vegetarians I know all seem to be a little depressed. I’m personally curious about this because whenever I eat lean meat, my energy levels go up and my mood improves–I’m happier and more active.

    Just what if the correct diet as mandated by Nature for Man is meat and veggies? I don’t see anyone asking the polar bears to stop biting baby seals.

  18. Phillip Bratby (01:55:10) :

    It must have passed me by, but what is “higher-vibe food”? Is it a new word for vegetarian or vegan? Can anyone tell me? I’ve never noticed my food vibing or being musical!

    Ha Ha.. Ive always been taught that my food shouldnt still be moving when I’m eating it.. maybe they should cook it a little longer and it wont vibe:)

  19. An absolutely fascinating journey into the world of smoke and mirrors. Dog, Green cook books, animal food (corn) converted to BioFuel, etc.

    A Corn maize that is traveled by the first to enter is a real treat. Logic does not solve the future, applying past experience may. After 1000 pairs of feet trample the surface, any pretender-Daniel Boone may navigate at a rapid pace.

    Will intelligent discussion deflate the AGW political direction of today? Has Dr. Eugene Cordero, Grant-financed, and his interest in “California temperature trends:”, consulted the Surface Station project?

    Cold climate weather mandates meat eating survival. Foraging animals convert vegetation (poor human food) matter into condensed energy ‘meat’. Man over beast. So why is the worlds major population in the Norther Hemisphere?

  20. Richard (23:20:35) : “New Scientist had this subject as their main article in a recent issue. Not that i read it just saw the headline, since they are against waste i decided not to waste my money.”

    It’s incredible just how partisan New Scientist has become, of late. I noticed that headline too (it was the week when the LHC was switched on.) Looking at their website I notice that the current issue trumpets “The Folly of Growth” (“Find out how our economy is killing the Earth and what we can do about it”) and I can also see references to an article proclaiming “Climate change is driving increase in tiger attacks” and an “unsustainable living” photo competition which “focuses on what happens when people don’t live in harmony with nature”. New Scientist is certainly a pillar of AGW/environmental orthodoxy these days.

    Stefan (03:23:19) : “Vaguely, the vegetarians I know all seem to be a little depressed. I’m personally curious about this because whenever I eat lean meat, my energy levels go up and my mood improves–I’m happier and more active.”

    I think this is probably not coincidental; meat contains tryptophan, which boosts serotonin levels, and therefore positively affects mood (or so I’ve read, anyway.)

  21. I recall a theory that lack of animal fat in the diet leads to reduced intelligence. Would this count as evidence?

  22. The Weather Channel global warming blog has regular postings by various experts on choosing foods to reduce carbon footprints. Its really quite pathetic.

    I recently read about a bumper sticker-
    “I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals- I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants.”

  23. From Dr. Cordero’s vita:
    “In the Department of Meteorology, Dr. Cordero teaches various courses in climate change and is involved in projects working to improve methods of education that engage and ultimately stimulate social change.”

    The last part is one of the clearest and most blatant revelations you could hope to see connecting the study of climate change to the real objective, viz., “social change.”

  24. If GW can get you a research grant, why not use it to sell cookbooks? Another form of capitalism. Or side show hucksterism.

    After all, PT supposedly said there’s a sucker born every minute.

  25. Newly name “Book of the week” by the Tin Foil Hat Book Club! Required reading for those professional worriers with too much time on their hands.

    If you think that this book looks interesting, then I have a piece of advice: Get a job and quit living off my paycheck.

  26. So, I guess this means haggis is out, unless veggie haggis. So, why all the hand-wringing about haggis “threatened” (or was that “endangered”), then? I hope AGWers like the world of cognitive dissonance they live in. Fun to watch, too!

  27. You think this is bad, you apparently haven’t watched Planet Puke Green. Emeril says he’s been cooking “green” for 30 years. Riiight. That gaudy set with lots of lights, and lots of meat, and lots of gas (in several senses of the word).

    This is nothing but opportunism, or trying to make everyone into mushroom-eating hippies, so they can be more easily controlled.

  28. If I have to substiture beans and legumes for meat as my primary source of dietary protein my digetive processes will produce more greenhouse gas than ever before. Can I buy methane credits?

    Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive.
    – Wallace Irwin (1875-1959),
    US journalist, humorist.

  29. Only in a wealthy, well fed society where hunger is nothing more than an abstraction will one find people who ponder such nonsense.

  30. Phillip Bratby (01:55:10) :

    “I’ve never noticed my food …… being musical!”

    Tempted, but must resist………must resist.

  31. George Bruce (08:07:43) :

    “Tempted, but must resist………must resist.”

    I thought of that, but discounted after effects!

  32. Just a point to ponder about the green machine. IN Florida a few years back they decided that one of the larger lakes was killed by the nasty evil farmers that had been growing produce on the low shores of Lake Apopka in Central Florida for nearly 100 years. The lake died in the time 1970 1990. The result was that there was a mandated price and all the farmers were forced to sell to “save the lake” The end result in the initial phase was that the real estate value of the farmland went thorough the roof and many more multimillion dollar homes were built on the land formerly used to grow food stuffs. As it turns out the lake became even more loaded with nitrates due to the unlimited use of fertilizer on the lawns with the daily run off from the liberally used irrigation to keep the grass green during the annual Florida dry spell. (Dec-May) and the normal rain the rest of the year. It seems that the home owners and developers didn’t save the catch ponds the farmers used to recycle the run off and reuse the same fertilizer until the plants had reduced it to insignificance and the lake was in worse shape than ever. The point proved with the project was that the farmers working to make a profit were protecting the lake with their reuse of run off water and the nutrients in it while the developers and homer owners were not worried so much about saving any thing just having pretty green grass.

    Forever lost to us is one of the most productive food growing areas in the United States.

    Makes you wonder about green huh?

    Bill Derryberry

  33. You know, as I have grown older and wiser, I have come to the conclusion that some people are just a waste of perfectly good DNA

    Sorry couldn’t help myself

  34. JP, I agree. concern for the environment is a luxury afforded afluent societies. If the tinfoil hat crowd actually succeeds our diet will soon consist of anything we can outrun and kill with a rock.

    Being on a diet will be a good thing, its means you have found something to eat.

  35. Let me guess. This has something to do with a.) not eating meat, and b.) not eating the sort of vegetables that make up for the lack of meat.

    I remember a L’il Abner skit about how a vacancy occurred in the Gourmet Society: a member starved to death because there wasn’t anything left in the world good enough to eat.

  36. In addition to naming the up-coming Solar Minimum the “Gore Minimum” or alternately the “Gore-Hansen Minimum”, I strongly suggest the adoption of the made-up term “Deopogenic Global Cooling”.

    When dealing with Totalitarianism of any form, the most important part of the battlefield involves (a) language and (b) the indoctrination of the young, e.g. “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad”

    (Not to say that Al Gore is actually a bipedal pig, although he apparently eats like one.)

    BTW “Anthropogenic Global Warming” now gets 588K hits on Google.
    A cookbook is the least of our worries; in any case, topical cookbooks are likely the most-trailing of trailing indicators.

    HA Reynolds
    Houston

    PS Buy Coal.

  37. Well this article certainly has inspired me. All this talk of food has made me very hungry. I think I’ll go out for a steak tonight.

  38. Now it’s voluntary, packaged up real nicely in a cookbook. Fun stuff! How long will it be before they make it mandatory, and ban Earth-unfriendly foods from the grocery stores. You may think that is a jest, but from the AGW point of view, there is nothing to extreme to save us from the impending doom of our own making. Nothing.

  39. Well any species; intelligent or not, that converts food production resources and energy to something else that we are just going to burn up, doesn’t even deserve to survive.
    so I think we should make food the way Mother Nature makes food; out out of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water; in that order.
    Haven’t you heard an apple tree scream, when you rip one of her children from her grasp, and kill it with a single toxic bite.

    The first recipe in the green cookbook should be how to hold your breath, for three score years and ten.

    Second recipe for greenies should be a home recipe for Hara Kiri !

  40. Re: “Hat tip and a carbon free lunch to …”

    I prefer my endangered Patagonian toothfish blackened, so carbon free is out.

  41. Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive.
    – Wallace Irwin (1875-1959),
    US journalist, humorist.

    Birth is the leading cause of death.

  42. Pickup trucks, barbecues, rodeos and rattlesnake roundups. A greenie ain’t got no hope at all here in Texas.
    If you live here in Texas you just might wanna thank your lucky stars.

  43. Fishing is an activity that is cooling. Especially in Wallowa County. This fall I got quite cool crossing the river so that I could fish the other side. In fact my hoohah got VERY cool cuz I’m short. But is was a squeal well worth the effort. I just made a killer fish stew with beer as the soup base. All it needs is crusty hot bread from the oven and more BEER!

  44. It took 5 beers to make it. Three in the stew and 2 in the tummy. Which explains the slurred “isss” for “it”.

    Or was that 2 beers in the stew and 3….

  45. Umbongo (08:18:26) writes: “is there anything that is safe from being tied to global warming these days?”
    “Science?”

    Brilliant (albeit sad), Umbo!

  46. Soylent Green is people!!!!!

    Soylent Green is people!!!!!

    I wish you wouldn’t do that. ;-)

    So, then you’re probably old enough to recall an episode of the Twilight Zone, so, for your perusal, I invite you to consider the following scenario…

    Friendly alien visitors taking shiploads of earthlings off to their own world for “tours”, a copy of an alien book is discovered, its title soon decoded, is “To Serve Man”; as the spaceship doors close on our hero, now boarding for the last shipment, his friend and lover yells at him from beyond the railing: “Don’t get aboard. We translated the rest – it’s a cookbook!”

    … O.k. forget the aliens with heads the size of shepherd’s loaves. The CONCEPT (Damon Knight’s classic SF story) was good.

    With this sense of good taste firmly in mind, I would like to nominate the title of this thread for “BEST TITLE OF ANY THREAD”

    It fully covers whatever is in store for the economy, climate and MANKINE. May we be so well served.

    REPLY: Bill I remember that TZ episode well, one of the best. And thanks for recognizing the title. It was my third choice. – Anthony

  47. I nominate the name “Chicken Little Warm” for the late unlamented positive PDO. The plot for the TZ episode was in a science fiction story I read well before TZ started. I hope they credited and paid the author. In his book; ‘Sex in History’, G. Rattray Taylor described Europe in the Middle Ages as a vast open-air madhouse, based on the religious fanaticism of the times. Everything old is new again.

  48. I’m sorry that this is off-topic, but this is the most related recent posting and I couldn’t find a contact form or link-tip form or something. As this site has been interested in the unlikely effects of global warming on different animals, I thought this story would interest you. The headline reads “Climate change is driving increase in tiger attacks,” but reading the story it becomes obvious that poaching, habitat destruction and human stupidity (entering a tiger reserve) are more likely suspects. Increased salinity in the mangrove swamps due to sea water level rise are at best subsidiary (not sure how much the sea level has risen in this area, though)

    http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn15000-climate-change-is-driving-increase-in-tiger-attacks.html

    feel free to remove this post after reading.

  49. It could be GW is good for culinary arts. Over at Overcomingbias there is a post up, Toilet Aren’t About Dying of Disease. Aparently childrens’ health is sufficient to get people to use toilets in poor countries, instead they must make them fashionable. Fashion continues to trump rationality.

    Mothers, who didn’t have a latrine, could see that their kids were getting sick every week with diarrhea. They were spending money on medicine, and their kids weren’t going to school, but they still wouldn’t buy a latrine.

    An academic named Mimi Jenkins discovered that the biggest incentive for someone to buy a latrine in Benin was to feel royal, because the royal family had one. It was a question of pride and status, it wasn’t about health. Health messages never work, because nobody wants to be nagged, even when they’ve got the evidence in front of them.

    So telling people, “This is where the cholera is coming from,” doesn’t have as much impact as appealing to their pride?

    Exactly. It’s what I call the “doctors who smoke” understanding of people. Doctors who smoke know it’s bad for them, yet they still do it. What a lot of sanitation activists are saying is that we have to make people want toilets. It has to be something they aspire to and desire.

  50. The book is not vegetarian and it is ALL about pleasure and great tasting food. Check it out – You might actually like it.

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