Bon Appétit's Test Kitchen Promises to Be More Sustainable in 2020

Public Domain. Unsplash / Milo McDowell

A list of 10 resolutions shows that big changes are coming to the professional food world.

Bon Appétit, the only magazine to which I have subscribed faithfully for more than eight years, has just released a list of ten ways in which it plans to become more sustainable in 2020. The list is more radical than anything else I've read from a major food publication and shows that it is taking recent studies about food production and climate change seriously. This is a good thing. I hope that Bon Appétit can stick to these pledges and inspire others to do the same. I'd like to share three of the most interesting promises below.

1. "Thirty percent of new recipes we develop will be meatless. While experts have recently gone back and forth over the health benefits of eating meat, there is no doubt that plant-rich diets have less negative impact on the earth’s resources."

This is huge news, but it's not entirely surprising because I've noticed more vegetarian mains showing up in recent issues, including a multi-page feature on plant-based cookbook author Heidi Swanson in the August/September issue. This is also the reason why I unsubscribed from Fine Cooking, a publication I used even more than BA, but whose issues were overly meat-centric. Perhaps this has changed since I complained.

2. "We will encourage you to cut down on disposable materials too. That means our recipes may sound a bit different, calling for a bowl with a lid, a reusable container, waxed paper or beeswax wrappers in place of plastic wrap."

This is awesome. I hadn't seen these kinds of directions in a cookbook until I got a copy of Keda Black's Batch Cooking from the library and was pleasantly surprised to see her telling readers to use glass jars and beeswax wraps and to avoid plastic. A shift is definitely coming to the recipe-writing world.

3. "We now compost all food scraps generated by the Test Kitchen. Yes, we were a bit late to the game there. But the fact is we don’t have a backyard here at 1 World Trade Center to start a compost heap of our own, and we needed to work with building management to develop a composting program that works within the logistical demands of a 100-story office tower. The upshot of that effort? We are now able to divert a lot of our waste from landfills."

If BA can do it at 1 World Trade Center, which is as urban as it gets, nobody else has an excuse not to compost food scraps. This should become a requirement for all building management companies to figure out on behalf of residents, a service to which we should feel as entitled as we do to running water and electricity.

This is such happy news from Bon Appétit. It's worth checking out the full list here and seeing how many of these resolutions you can implement in your own home kitchen.