Cooking For Climate Change, Part 1

Last night some friends and I had one of our periodic ‘Green Girls’ dinner parties at my friend Colleen’s house. We had a blast sharing news, laughter, viewpoints and encouragement around sustainability. Colleen’s meatless eggplant mousakka was a hit.

We all eat more than 1,000 meals a year, for a big percentage of our carbon footprint. If we want to lighten our carbon footprint, the principle to embrace is that heating anything is a surprisingly big deal. It burns the fossil fuels that releases global warming gases. So if we’re cooking to combat climate change, we want to conserve heat at every turn. Some tips: (please write in with your own, too)


  • Make and post on fridge a list of your favorite no-cook meals
  • Examples: tuna salad, tasty sandwiches, crackers & cheese w/ fruit
  • Defrost any frozen foods before cooking them
  • Cook double amounts to create meals you can quickly reheat later
  • Use a stovetop burner no larger than the pan (40% of heat can be wasted otherwise)
  • Cover anything cooking on stovetop with a lid to conserve heat
  • Copper, glass and ceramic all conserve energy better than metal pans
  • When food is close to done, turn off and let coast on existing heat
  • Cook and eat with others whenever possible! — to cultivate community as much as to conserve energy

Coming up next: conserving embodied energy in Cooking For Climate Change, Part 2.


3 Responses to “Cooking For Climate Change, Part 1”

  1. 1 Micki Carrier January 23, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Good ideas! Covering the pans speeds up heating and slows cooking time. Microwaves probably use less energy but I would prefer using the stove most of the time.

  2. 2 Jean Baumann January 25, 2008 at 2:08 am

    As a “green gal” myself, I’m all about energy conservation to lower my carbon footprint. Here’s another couple suggestions:
    > When using the oven, cook multiple dishes at once to maximize the benefit from the energy use. Besides, leftovers are yummy!
    > When heating water for tea or coffee, have only what you need in the kettle to reduce boiling time.

  3. 3 dudewheresthestove January 29, 2008 at 4:54 am

    The pressure cooker is an excellent means of minimizing carbon footprint – cooking many pounds of food in a matter of minutes of applying heat. Nice way to avoid using the oven or slow cooker for hours. (Even for roasts!) One of my friends especially likes to use it to cook dried beans quickly.


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