If the way to your green heart is through your stomach, let a cookbook be your eco-guide. “The Earthbound Cook: 250 Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet” not only has mouthwatering recipes, but also uses those recipes as a chance to teach some eco-lessons while you cook and nibble.
The pairing of green tips to recipes makes sense, since the two really can be intertwined in the kitchen. Can’t remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room? You’ll remember to flip the switch in the kitchen if, while waiting for your Rosemary Potato Bread to rise, you spot the sidebar gently reminding you wasted light is wasted energy. Never think to buy post-consumer recycled foil at the supermarket? A reminder next to the ingredients list for Irresistible Mini Calzones will hopefully get you put recycled foil on your shopping list, right after Parmesan cheese and Kalamata olives.
Written by Myra Goodman, the co-founder of organic produce company Earthbound Farm, “The Earthbound Cook” covers a lot of eco-cooking ground, from boiling bagels to the basics of recycling. Much of the eco-advice will be familiar to regular MNN readers, but “The Earthbound Cook” also contains some unexpected new green cooking ideas. Four-Grain Hot Cereal with Blueberries, for example, comes with a suggestion to cook hot cereal in bulk — then reheat small portions with a little milk in the energy-efficent microwave whenever you’ve got a hankering for a healthy snack during the day.
And of course, the recipes are delicious. I knew this before I opened the cookbook, because I got to sample some of the dishes in “The Earthbound Cook” back in May, when I visited Earthbound Farms during Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Cooking For Solutions conference. The organic company served us lunch on the farm — and the desserts were especially delicious.
Though “The Earthbound Cook” does encourage eating less meat to lower your dietary carbon footprint, the book devotes a hefty section to meaty recipes like Herbed Rib Roast of Pork and Greek-Style Lamb Chops. Since that section’s followed by a bunch of fish and shellfish recipes — and since many of the entrees in the vegetarian section require cheeses — vegans may get rather frustrated with this cookbook. Still, I found some delicious vegan recipes — like the Butternut, White Bean, and Chard Soup I made. The flavorful, filling soup made for a comforting, warm meal just when the L.A. weather finally realized it’s fall.
In addition to quick green tips in the sidebars (i.e. recycle milk jugs), half-pagers on small green conundrums (i.e. frozen or canned?) and two-page primers on complex green issues (i.e. why calculating the carbon footprint of your food’s so complicated), “The Earthbound Cook” is full of similar tips and sidebars on basic cooking skills. From lessening the heat of too-hot jalapenos to making Quick Chicken Stock from leftover bones to growing sprouts, “The Earthbound Cook” demystifies many simple cooking techniques by showing you how to reduce labor while and reusing kitchen “waste.”
Plus, an entire back section’s dedicated to making pantry staples like salsas, chutneys, jams, and pie crust. Save yourself some time and money by getting this cookbook and green guide in one. “The Earthbound Cook ” is available in stores now for $20.95.