Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy 2008

It is 2 days into the New Year. It feels good. There was much to close the book on in 2007.

One of the gifts in our household this year was a power meter which measures the electricity consumption of any single item, or can be fixed to the mains meter to calculate total household power consumption and cost. This was a good way to focus our attention again on our carbon footprint after a fortnight of extra consumption through extra heating, cooking and lighting.

In the I-Count book that I won last year, there is a table of power savings made possible by turning things off. Turning gadgets off standby has been a message much heard in the eco-aware media in recent years, but I found this table helpful in seeing where all the power wastage comes form:

TV off standby = 20kg C02 saved = £3.70 per year
Video off standby = 66kg C02 saved = £12 per year
DVD off standby = 44Kg C02 = £8 per year
Computer off standby = 9kg C02 = £1.70 per year
Turn off lights you don't need = 370kg C02 = £55 per year
Unplug mobile phone charger = 10.5kg C02 = £1.90 per year

Total available saving per year = 519.5kg C02 = £82.30 per year

There is also the seasonal advice to turn your thermostat down by 1 degree and wear a jumper to save 250kg C02 and £30 off your heating bill.

We have not yet pinpointed the power guzzling demons in our home... I suspect the kettle and the ancient boiler will rank highly.

I received some great kick boxing accessories for Christmas, and an antique fish plate to add to my collection, and also a fabulous book by Nigel Slater: "Eating for England - the delights and eccentricities of the British at Table" which takes a quirky look at the British taste for food, their traditions, shopping and cooking methods. It's a great read... each subject from Stew to Jaffa Cakes to Spangles is a treat to read. Each warrants about 1 1/2 pages, so it is a good book to dip in and out of or read for 10 minutes before bed.

This leads me on to another list - what food is in season in January? Hugh F W (oh Hugh!) provides this list:

Jerusalem artichokes, brussel sprouts, cabbages, celery, chicory, endive, greens, kale, leeks, onions, parnsips, potatoes and swede. Also hare, partidge, pheasant, mallard and venison.

I was amused to find out that the Oxford American (apologies) English Dictionary's word of the year is "Locavore"... here is some explanation:

It’s that time of the year again. It is finally starting to get cold (if you are worried about the global warming maybe you should become carbon-neutral) and the New Oxford American Dictionary is preparing for the holidays by making its biggest announcement of the year. The 2007 Word of the Year is (drum-roll please) locavore.

The past year saw the popularization of a trend in using locally grown ingredients, taking advantage of seasonally available foodstuffs that can be bought and prepared without the need for extra preservatives.

The “locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation.

“The word ‘locavore’ shows how food-lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment,” said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. “It’s significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way.”

Locavore was coined two years ago by a group of four women in San Francisco who proposed that local residents should try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius. Other regional movements have emerged since then.

A group of volunteers in Fife have adopted and adapted the idea. They've created the Fife Diet and are trying to live on a diet of food that is largely from within the area, shunning air-freight goods.

Writer Mike Small is one of the volunteers and he and his wife Karen and children Sorley and Alex have now been on the diet for two months. "Its incredible we've come to the situation where people find it inconceivable to eat food from near where you live," Small argues. "Our food system is failing us all and is unsustainable. In a few years local will be as mainstream as organic and it will be thought ridiculous to purchase air-freighted goods that you could get from Scotland or your own region."...

Here is a week in the life of the Fife Diet, as well as the likely menu for Christmas lunch.
Lunch:"Minestrone del Leven" [Leven is on the Fife coast] with curly kale, parsley, carrots, onions, and chilli
Dinner: Homemade rolls and bacon (from Auchtertool, west Fife)

Breakfast:Homemade bread toast with Fife butter and raspberry jam (from a firm in Newburgh)
Lunch:Leek and potato soup
Dinner:Stuffed cabbage and pork chops (again from Auchtertool)

Breakfast:Scrambled eggs and toast (with eggs from Kingsbarns, St Andrews, Fife)
Lunch:Parsnip soup
Dinner: Omelette and chips

Breakfast:Toast and bacon
Lunch: Carrot soup
Dinner: Venison stew (from Auchtermuchty)

Lunch:Stovies (Scottish potato-based cooked-up leftovers dish) with baby swede, onions, yellow carrots and Fife butter, all from Bellfield near Newburgh
Dinner:Colcannon - consisting of mash potato, kale, butter, and a little pepper and salt - and sausages from Auchtermuchty

Breakfast:Scrambled eggs on toast
Lunch:Shepherds Pie
Dinner:Organic Beef Stew (from a farm in Abernethy)
Bramble Crumble

Starter:Borscht - Beetroot soup with a circle of yoghurt, served with Aberdour oatcakes
The bird: Roast Bronze organic turkeys (from Falkland, near Cupar) with roasted seasonal vegetables - parsnip, potatoes, carrots
The pudding: White chocolate ripple ice cream with Fife raspberries (from Dairsie)
Drinks:Bouvrage (Alloa, Clackmannanshire) raspberry drink made from Fife raspberries and Christmas ale from Fife.

Well, that is all for now. There have been craft pursuits, but they will have to wait for another post.


Dancin' Fool said...

Hello! That sounds like a really good diet doesn't it! And the kind of foods we would probably eat more of if local produce of those sort were readily available. I would happily buy local vegetables and meat.

Happy New Year!

Dancin' Fool said...
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bowledover said...

Its still 2008 mac's niece will you join us.
Re the diet,which is a good and sustaining diet.I am thinking of doing this myself as I think the body has said it will not need the types of food currently eaten.

Dancin' Fool said...

Hello! Just popped by as I do, I like coming here and am so glad you have left your blog open, you never know what the future may bring. Anyway just wanted to say I stopped by.