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The Big D

October 18, 2018

First, get your mind out of the gutter.

There are lots of things that could be “The Big D” including some notable faces on the local culinary scene. Chef Dimitrios or Dominick Purnomo are big men whose names start with D. They are big men, with big personalities. It could be about diabetes, which is a big problem, especially for those of us who love carbs covered with carbs. You know, like the Dutch Udder’s warm Schuyler donut ice cream sandwich for example.

Deforestation is a pretty Big D. Recently there have been some comments on the FLB about meat consumption and concerns about its environmental impact. I know that in parts of South America forests were being cleared to make way for the beef production. We’ll talk more about meat and the environment down the road, because it seems like a hefty concern for people, and as a result it’s something I’m mulling over a lot these days.

If you are concerned about the environment, and taking corrective actions to try to improve our lot, thank you. Small changes add up. Everyone can do their part. But everyone can also contribute in different ways. Some people may think giving up meat is the answer. Others might consider moving back into urban centers and abandoning their cars to have a larger impact. Energy lovers might convert to solar electric and geothermal heat. A few hearty souls may keep their homes frosty during the winter and consider central air to be a luxury they can do without. What was it that Azrael said… “No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater than central air.”

One of the many things that we try to do in the Fussy household is minimize food waste. Composting is key. But we don’t do that. I will sometimes throw food scraps into the woods. Thankfully we have no bears. If we had bears, no food scraps in the woods.

What we do have is a chest freezer. Which, I suppose, requires energy. But it also helps to minimize food waste. However, it does need to be maintained, and that’s where “The Big D” comes into play.

The chest freezer defrosting project is finally complete! And just in time.

It’s no small feat, because it requires us to eat or otherwise use enough of our frozen foods to cram what remains into the small freezer compartment of our small kitchen refrigerator. I’ve probably mentioned our undersized refrigerator in the past.

Another strategy we pursue to try and save the planet is to get as much use out of as many things as we can. That means repairing appliances when they break, even if it may be cheaper to get a new one. Or holding onto mobile phones beyond the contract period, even if they are slow and loaded down with apps. Or considering it a point of pride to maintain a vehicle to at least 200,000 miles.

So yes, our refrigerator is old. It’s loud. It’s small. But it works. And we consider it unthinkable to replace it. Yes, perhaps a new model would be slightly more energy efficient. However, if we were to get a newer model it would also be larger. And then the one we have would turn into just another pile of junk discarded by our culture of waste.

Okay. Let me dial this back a bit and bring the food part into focus.

It feels great to be going into winter with a newly cleaned out chest freezer. The chicken carcasses are all neatly lined up in a box. There are 24 of them in there, ready to go into the pressure cooker to make chicken stock. I’ve got a couple bags of Parmigiano Reggiano rinds too. This winter I hope to make more polenta, and using these to make a Parmigiano stock, helps to deeply flavor this satisfying dish and keep it vegetarian friendly.

There is not a lot of pesto. We only ended up with one pouch of traditional basil pesto and one of arugula and walnut pesto. But that’s okay. We’ll make it through the winter just fine.

Now that the freezer is cleaned out, and relatively empty, it’s ready for me to start cooking more batches of Cuban black beans. In my down time, I can do little Instant Pot runs of dried beans, which can then be portioned into freezable containers to avoid the purchase of canned beans.

It’s my personal belief that all of these cooking projects are also more beneficial to the environment than going out and buying convenience foods, purchasing cans, or eating out at restaurants. That said, it’s a very complicated system. There are a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous. And the truth is that I have no idea if its better or not. There could be efficiencies of scale that I’m not taking into consideration.

But we do the best we can. If our hearts are in the right places, that’s a good first start. So I’m not going to tell you to stop eating meat, or to avoid coffee, or to stop driving your SUV, or to get rid of your air conditioner. Certainly, I’m not going to tell you to give up on straws. But if you want to leave your straw behind, go right ahead and keep on trucking.

It’s important to be aware of our environmental impacts. However, people have very different sets of personal priorities and needs. I think it’s okay for people to have different approaches to living on Earth. Together we may never solve the problems of the world, but we certainly will never solve them by picking each other apart.

How’s that for positivity?

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 18, 2018 11:13 am

    Oh man so many thoughts! I love this. We have a chest freezer too, that we probably should have cleaned before the harvest/hunting season. Maybe next year? I’m always trying to reduce our footprint here, and this is definitely one of the ways we do it. Also buying local and I’m trying to make the dried bean thing a habit. Baby steps.

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