Category: Food

An Environerd’s Nightmare + Book Update

So I finished rewriting the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the book (How to Save the Planet (or Should We?) [working title]), and given them to my agent. PROGRESS!! Will wait to hear if she thinks we’re good to go to publishers with it, but I’m moving forward with the next chapter, which is on . . . Waste (my pet topic, yo).

Meanwhile I bought this Canola oil spray at Target for $1.99 because my cast iron skillet needed some re-seasoning. I also figured I could spray it on my popcorn, given that it would provide much more efficient coverage than pouring melted vegan butter over it. (Writing requires me to eat a LOT of popcorn, which I make on the stove.)

Unfort I didn’t look at the ingredients label, because it’s not simply canola oil in a can. Au contraire. Evidently “nonstick cooking spray” is different. For one thing, it contains dimethyl silicone (for antifoaming), and no, you don’t need to know much more than that it includes the word “silicone,” which I do not desire to eat. The other ingredient (besides canola oil, which, according to the label, “*adds a trivial amount of fat” — as if I couldn’t figure out that there’s fat in fat) is soy lecithin.

Soy lecithin must be bad for at least some people, because right below the ingredient list are the words “CONTAINS SOY” with a box drawn around it. Again pointing out the obvious: that soy lecithin contains soy.

And below those indiscreetly boxed words, it says “Also contains propellant to dispense spray.” This turn out to be some unidentified chemicals used to drive the fluid out of the can. Now, ozone-depleting propellants that were previously used in aerosols aren’t used much anymore, but the kind that are used (HFCs) still aren’t awesome for the planet.

Sooo . . . now that I know I’m not going to use this stuff (and p.s., I sprayed a little on my fingers to taste it, and it’s HORRIBLE — kind of plastic-y, which I guess is the silicone?) . . . WHAT DO I DO WITH IT???

The can says “Empty Before Recycling” (not pictured). Huh? So . . . stand there for 20 minutes with my finger on the sprayer button thingie until it’s empty? Guys. There are “About 565 servings per container.” Oh, and then — breaking my heart even further — is that the plastic cap isn’t recyclable.

This is what keeps me up at night. Welcome to my world.

And if you have any other title ideas for my book, please LEAVE THEM IN THE COMMENTS. I need help!! (Or just subscribe below to follow along.)


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Wanna See Something Pretty?

IMG_3422For a few years now, my roommate and I have been stashing our compostable food scraps in the freezer, and taking them to the GrowNYC guy at the farmer’s market on Saturdays.

I can compost pretty much everything, since I’m plant-based; if you see eggshells, they’re hers. We reuse four of those clear plastic containers that baby spinach comes in (you know the ones?), and dump our scraps into these bins throughout the week.

Often when I add things to the containers, or get ready to take the scraps to the farmer’s market, they have become gorgeous compositions. NOTE: I do not arrange them at all. Except to make room for more scraps in the containers.

What follows are ten of the photos I’ve taken as part of an ongoing project. I envision a gallery show at some point, to raise funds (and awareness) for preventing food waste.

Meanwhile, enjoy! Feel free to share this post, but please ask before using the photos for anything. (And see if you can identify the foods before reading the ingredients . . . 🙂 )

“From a Small Seed”


(Brussels sprouts, banana peels, succulent trimming, oatmeal, teabags)

* (more…)

So I guess I’m a vegan now

Deb 8 parkIt was my friend Michael’s doing.

I’ve always been a huge fan of animals – I’m the one who shuttles the spider in my living room onto a slip of paper and releases her outside. But I’m also a huge fan of food.

When I was nine years old, and on a cruise to Alaska with my parents and my younger brother, my Dad let me try his frog legs appetizer. It was delish. So he gestured a waiter over and ordered another. When it came out, the waiter placed it in front of my Dad, who then pointed at little 9-year-old suburban me. “It’s for her,” he said. Needless to say, the waitstaff fawned over me for the rest of the trip.

Not my friend Michael (but it kinda looks like him)

Since then, you name it, I’ve eaten it. Garlicky escargots, monkfish liver sashimi, oysters on the half-shell, steak tartare. I can pan-sear a mean grass-fed rib-eye (see pic at right for my current thoughts on that). I loved me some farm-fresh scrambled eggs over buttered grits. (Once when I listed my favorite foods as lobster, artichokes and popcorn, it hit me that it was melted butter that really had me.)

When I was in my 20s, I went vegetarian; it lasted a year. Bacon did me in. I just couldn’t. Not. Eat bacon. Which, as everyone knows, is a gateway meat. Soon I was eating cheeseburgers, fried chicken and carnitas tacos again like that pork was born in a corn tortilla. (You can take the girl out of L.A. . .)

In my 30s, I basically had to give up dairy, because it started giving me asthma. So no more thin-crust pizza or mac ‘n cheese. (Sad face.) I later heard that the year I started having asthma attacks was the exact year the U.S. dairy industry started using bovine growth hormones.

Anyhoo. Back to my friend Michael. He made being a vegan sound FUN! I’d follow his Facebook posts showing him happily doing marathons or whatever with his  “Vegan Power” teammates; mingling with chickens on a farm sanctuary (and writing music about it); and kvelling over the vegan chocolate-chip pancakes with coconut cream he’d discovered at a new spot. Then he posted this 3 1/2 minute video. It is NOT graphic AT ALL, but something clicked inside me: Read More…