Sunday, 17 June 2018

Cooking up a way to help the world


Food is life but is our current way of feeding ourselves killing the planet?

Wander through the aisles of any supermarket and you are spoilt for choice for food and a lot of it is ready prepared food - from breakfast cereals to microwave dinners, from fresh fruit already peeled and chopped to snacks galore.  It is now entirely possibly to eat without ever having to cook a single meal from scratch and whilst this may be amazingly convenient it comes at a price ... and not just the inflated cost of the food itself.  Convenient foods may be just that - convenient - but they also come with a negative impact on the environment.

Supermarket food aisle


Why convenience and processed foods are bad for the environment


  • They take a lot of energy to produce.
  • Chilled/frozen ready meals need energy to be stored.
  • They are heavily packaged, often with materials that cannot be recycled/composted.
  • The ingredients used will not be local.
  • The individual ingredients, packaging materials and final product will have accrued a lot of food miles before arriving on your plate.
  • The food industry wastes high levels of food.
  • Foods often contain high levels of salt, sugar and additives.
  • Many contain palm oil.
  • They could contain GM ingredients.
  • The consumer has no indication of the working conditions of the workforce used to produce the food
  • There is no way of knowing the welfare of the animals used in these foods - many will come from factory farms and quite possibly be subject to have high levels of antibiotic use.
  • Any fish used may not be sourced sustainably
  • Consumers have no knowledge of the level of pesticides used on the basic ingredients.

I am not saying everyone should cook everything totally from scratch but I do feel that making a bit more effort in the kitchen would be a positive step for the planet.

Can I thrown you a "Cooking From Scratch" challenge?  


Over the next couple of weeks I challenge you to cook one days worth of new foods from scratch.  Just 4 things that you normally would buy ready-made but that you make yourself?

Ideas for Breakfast:

Yoghurt, muesli, bread, pancakes, muffins, fruit salad or anything from these 63 ideas from Good Housekeeping.

Ideas for Lunch:

Soup, baked potatoes with home-made baked beans or coleslaw, quiche,  hummus and crackers or make your own sandwiches/wraps rather than reaching for the ready made ones. Here's 52 great lunch ideas from BBC Good Food.

Ideas for Dinners:

Think about a dinner you usually buy ready-made and search out how to make it yourself.  Pizza, fish fingers, burgers, pasta sauce, pies or any of your favourite ready meals. Search out a recipe and give it a go.

Ideas for snacks, picnics and food on the run

Home made cookies, cakes and cereal bars, popcorn, sliced fresh veg sticks with a dip ... and for over 120 more ideas have a look here this page from Jamie Oliver.

More help here!


Maybe these blog posts might inspire you to cook more:

Reasons to cook from Scratch - part 1
Reasons to cook from scratch - part 2
21 ways to cook efficiently 
7 ways to have a sustainable fish dinner 
What foods are in season when
Why buy meat from an independent butcher/farm shop/farmer's market


I am not asking everyone to cook absolutely everything from scratch but we could all do our bit.  Ultimately what would you rather have - a packet of plastic wrapped biscuits full of dubious ingredients of unknown source that has travelled umpteen miles to get to you ..... or the smell of fresh oat and fruit bars spilling out from your kitchen?  I know which I'd prefer.

Pacakging free home-made food

Are you up for my cooking from scratch challenge?

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