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Visit the Cook for Good blog for wildly good cooking tips, money-saving ideas, book reviews, and more from Linda Watson and guest bloggers.

Sunday
Jun042017

The Spheres of Engagement: How to Communicate about Food

After I woke up to the difference we could make by eating organic, plant-based food, I wanted to share the news with everyone. What a great way to save money, eat fabulous food, and make a difference! I even changed my job title from "Chief Cook and Researcher" to "Food Evangelist." My sense of urgency made me want to grab a bullhorn.

Yet I knew that lecturing people rarely works unless they've asked for a lecture. Even when I teach cooking classes, leavening the lectures with demos and dialog makes the information tastier. In daily life, it's better to share lunch than to preach. Show how much you enjoy your hummus wrap and bring fabulous cookies to share. Maybe you'll inspire someone to do the same.

This seems slow and even impractical in some cases. I doubt either of my Senators would eat cookies from a constituent. To complicate matters, what works with one person in one setting or on one day may not work in a different situation or time. I've had three quite different chances to communicate about food recently. This led me to the idea of different spheres of engagement and the productive actions that can happen within them.

spheres of engagement

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Friday
Jun022017

How to wash kale, collards, chard, and other greens

Some kitchen workers must not know how to wash kale or other greens. All too often when I eat out, I bite down on unexpected grittiness in the greens. Yet it's easy to get greens clean if you use a wash tub and a little patience. Save time and water by choosing easy-to-clean greens.

washing beet greens in a tub

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Thursday
Jun012017

The People's Summit: Bernie Sanders, Divest Your Plate!

I'm thrilled to be going to the People's Summit in Chicago next week. Today, the organizers gave us a chance to submit a question to Senator Bernie Sanders, who will be the keynote speaker on Saturday. Here's what I wrote:

Dear Senator Sanders, our diet feeds climate change, high health care costs, and personal misery. According to the United Nations, animal agriculture is the largest source of greenhouse gases. Few Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables to ward off preventable cases of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and early death. What steps would you take to change our agricultural subsidies, public food purchases, and nutrition education to move Americans toward a more plant-based diet?

This question seems more important than ever now that the United States has shamefully pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords. If our government won't work with the rest of the world to avert environmental disaster, then it's up to us. We can make a real difference by voting with our forks.

Divest Your Plate: Local, Organic, Plants, Fair Labor, Less Waste

My Dream Answer

Here's an answer that would have me dancing in the aisle at the People's Summit. Bernie, please feel free to use it. Everyone else, please share.

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Friday
May262017

Divest Your Plate!

Divest Your Plate! Choose local, organic, plants, and fair labor with less waste. ™ Cook for Good 2017

Environmentalists vote with their wallets by divesting from fossil-fuel companies and companies that support them. Cooks and anyone who eats can do something similar by divesting their plates from practices they don't support. With every meal, we get a chance to invest in local, organic, and plant-based food grown and made using fair labor practices. Let's avoid supporting increased health risks, ...

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Friday
May192017

Mosquito Spray Endangers Vegetable Gardens, Pollinators, and Birds

A new problem has hit for families trying to grow vegetables at home: mosquito spray. More and more of my neighbors are having their yards sprayed for mosquitoes. The spray drifts into other yards when there is any breeze. The technicians usually face the neighboring property as they blast plants at the borders, spraying 20 feet or more onto property that was not supposed to be sprayed. Vegetable gardens, laundry, pets, fish in ponds, solar cookers, and even children can all come into contact with the spray. Ironically, even mosquito predators are killed by the spray, which makes the problem worse.

Using a spray gun to spray for mosquitoes, Brisbane, 1946. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Read on for what this means for birds and what the toxic ingredient in many sprays does. Mosquito spraying is a big local issue that calls for personal action, new regulations, and more research as we try to create sustainable communities. Find out about a less-harmful alternative and other steps you can take ...

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