Lucid Food : Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-24
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
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Words like organic, seasonal, and local are on everyones

Author Biography

LOUISA SHAFIA is the founder of Lucid Food, an eco-friendly fine catering company based in New York City. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she has worked at Millennium Restaurant and Roxanne's in the San Francisco Bay Area, and at Aquavit and Pure Food and Wine in New York.


Eco-Kitchen Basics

In this chapter, I’ll share all of my tried-and-true methods for putting a beautiful meal on the table while keeping a clear conscience. If you’re willing to make some small changes, it’s easier than you might think. Obviously, you can’t always get to the farmers’ market, and sometimes you’ll forget your canvas shopping bag. But if you start integrating these habits into your routine, you’ll find that you significantly reduce the amount of waste usually generated by shopping for, preparing, and serving a meal. A glossary of food terms is included to help you navigate any food market with authority.


There are lots of different ways to practice sustainability, and in fact every meal can be an act of environmental preservation, from the ways you acquire, eat, and clean up after your meals, to the example you set for the people around you. When I see wastefulness, I feel it viscerally, and I will go to great lengths to avoid creating waste myself.

It’s not always easy. Often an impulsive purchase at the farmers’ market causes me to abuse a perfectly lovely purse by insisting on filling it with raw produce and other messy foods rather than allowing one more plastic bag to find its way into my home. I’ll go many thirsty hours without hydration if the only available beverage container is yet another disposable plastic bottle. Did I mention the hours I spend waiting in line at the well-meaning but chaotic food co-op so that I can buy olive oil and other staples in bulk in order to avoid excess packaging? Sure, my personal standards may be outside the norm, but I suspect they’re becoming increasingly common. In fact, the more all of us speak up about our “waste-not” goals, the more accepted these ideas will become, helping broaden the spectrum of environmentally responsible choices available to consumers.

Here are some easy tips for shopping, cooking, and eating in a way that has as little impact on the environment as possible. Choose the ones that make sense for you, and keep the environment in mind, but don’t torture yourself if you can’t always be
100 percent green: People will be more likely to follow your example if you seem happy and calm . . . and your purse is in beautiful condition.


Keep the following practices in mind when planning menus, shopping for food, and dining out. If you have a good farmers’ market or a conscientious food co-op that sells meat and seafood as well as produce, then most of the work is done for you. If you have to search farther afield for what you need, however, these simple guidelines will help to keep you on the straight and narrow in your goal to buy eco-friendly foods.

1. shop local

Buying from local farmers helps to support the preservation of small farms and undeveloped land. And not only does local food taste better and have higher nutritional value because of its freshness, but you know exactly what you’re getting–unlike with products from far away, where details about pesticides, land use, and working conditions are hard to come by. In contrast, local farms are transparent places where people are usually welcome to buy goods or take tours. Look for locally made goods at the supermarket, too: Some stores are making an effort to highlight local providers, even giving them their own section. Let shopkeepers know what you want by spending your dollars on local goods.

2. buy organic foods

It’s common to see organic foods at the supermarket, but don’t rely on the label alone. The organic food label is quite controversial these days, as I discuss in the definition of “organic” in this chapter. Organic food is grown without pesticides, but it can have other environmental drawb

Excerpted from Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life by Louisa Shafia
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