Monday, January 26, 2009

Stuff that Sticks

I can't believe it's been a whole week since my last post! But it's been so freakin' hot here that I haven't been whipping up much. A lot of pasta salads and cheese sandwiches--nothing spectacular. But the heat has got me thinking about global warming and all of that scary environmental stuff. So, speaking of stuff, I urge you to check out The Story of Stuff to learn more about how and why we create so much waste. It gives an overview of the economic and social reasons for our unending consumption.

It seems that Argentina doesn't have as much stuff to deal with, perhaps a positive side effect of not exactly being a first world country. In many ways, Argentina is green by default. Lacking the economic prosperity that the US has enjoyed since the end of WWII, Argentines have remained somewhat frugal. This is changing, of course, with all of the crap coming in from China--gag me.

But it's nice to see that things are re-used out of necessity. For instance, we return our beer bottles to get a peso back. And you'll often get a glass bottle of soda in a restaurant--don't try to take the bottle, they will chase you.

When it comes to food, we use everything until it grows mold. And usually we just scrape it off and use the rest. I eat food here that I would have frowned upon and quickly tossed away at home. But it makes me happy to use ugly food. For one thing, I know that my produced hasn't been shined with wax to make it look pretty. I hate waxy apples.

I use veggies that have gone soft for cooking -- tomatoes for making tomato sauce, carrots for stocks or soup, bananas for banana bread. Guille's mom plans all of her meals so that nothing goes bad. I haven't gone that far yet--I cook according to cravings, convenience, and curiosity--but it's a very economical way of eating.

For aging tomatoes - cut out the nasty bits, drop in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, drain and they will be easy to peel (but don't burn yourself), mash with a fork and you've got a great base for homemade tomato sauce. You can even freeze it for later.

The thing is, since Argentina didn't progress in the same consumer ways that the US did, eating fresh, organic produce is much more cost efficient here. I've been reading tips on how to save money during this economic crisis and one tip (from a US website) was to eat less fresh produce, buying canned and frozen to save money. How sad is that?! How is it possible that food that requires processing and packaging is cheaper?! Doesn't it make more sense to only pay for the growing and picking of the fruit, rather than an intensive preservation process and international shipping?

crazy. Argentina wins this match.

1 comment:

Julia said...

yay go argentina! i've seen that movie the story of stuff, it's great, i wish more people have seen it. it really makes you think twice before buying things. i haven't been cooking anything interesting for the opposite reason here: winter doldrums