Earth Day: Cooking Green

6 Apr

Read Green 6.

In mid-March I started perusing green cookbooks to see what I could find to review for Earth Day. I had an image in my mind of what the perfect green cook book would look like. It would have beautiful full color photographs of gorgeous dishes of food, tastefully accented by mason jars and colorful plants. It would be packed full of recipes that helpfully highlight a diverse number of practical ways to shop, cook, and eat green in your kitchen.

I never found this book. I found tons of books with gorgeous photographs and plenty of tempting recipes. But the information they had wasn’t nearly as helpful or complete as I wanted it. The more I looked, the more frustrated I got. Slowly those photographs stopped seeming beautiful and started seeming smug. “Look how beautiful and clean my kitchen is! Look how ‘salt of the earth’ I am! Look how much my kids LOVE eating kale!” Ugh. Gag me (with an eco-friendly bamboo spoon.)

IMG_4857 mockery

(An artistic interpretation of a book that shall remain nameless)

I finally realized that this isn’t necessarily the authors’ fault. This is part of a greater trend within cookbook publishing. As more people have turned to Google to find recipes, cookbooks have become more like art or lifestyle books. Despite my temporary frustration with them I don’t actually hate these books. I love my kitchen, and I know that its design was inspired by the aesthetic style these books have created. Also, they truly are creative works of art.

I also realized that I don’t necessarily need more recipes to help me make my kitchen greener, what I need are tools, technology, and techniques. In most of the books I looked at the authors focused on one technique, like eating organic. In the handful of books that tried to tackle multiple subjects the information was scattered or incomplete at best. And then Kate Heyhoe saved the day.


I probably left her book for last because it was the least flashy. The entire book has only one photograph: a one-inch-tall black-and-white snapshot of the author. Despite it’s humble appearance this is the book you should start with.

Cooking Green is a tour de force of the green kitchen. Heyhoe covers everything you could possibly want to know: from how to choose green appliances and cookware, how to prepare food efficiently, to how to reduce your footprint as you shop. It has hundreds of practical tips, and techniques for your kitchen. And yes, it does indulge in a few recipes. Although her main focus is on carbon footprint, she includes a lot of tips for saving water, which are going to be helpful for us now that California has passed mandatory water restrictions.

I thought I already knew my way around an earth friendly kitchen, but Green Cooking taught me a lot. With Heyhoe’s help you can transform any recipe into a green recipe.



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