My 10 favorite food posts of 2016

chopped vegetables
CC BY 2.0 Personal Creations

I write many food articles each year, but these are the ones that really stood out for me.

It should be no surprise that food is a hot topic on TreeHugger. Dietary choices play a significant role in shaping the environment. What we choose to put into our bodies not only affects our physical and mental health, but also the way in which agricultural land is used, the transportation networks that link fields and greenhouses to our plates, and the government policies that oversee all of it.

Food is powerful. Every time we eat, we ‘vote’ with our forks, whether it’s opting for seasonal foods over imported ones, zero waste packaging, homemade meals instead of takeout, vegan over meat dishes. It is said that opting to cut meat out of one’s diet is the single biggest thing a person can do to reduce their carbon footprint.

As someone who thinks about food from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep at night, I write a lot of these food posts for TreeHugger. I would like to share a list of my favorite posts from the past year, all of which share a common thread – that of challenging the way I operate in the kitchen and pushing my culinary boundaries. May these posts do the same for you in 2017.

10. 5 ways cooking from scratch will change your life

cooking from scratchDamian Siwiaszczyk/CC BY 2.0

Cooking from scratch is about so much more than just making fresh food to eat. Your relationship to food will be transformed the more you handle ingredients, turn them into delicious recipes, and learn how they work together. Full story here.

9. 10 unusual foods you can make in a slow cooker

slow cookerJanine/CC BY 2.0

Cooking alone might not save the world, but it could go a long way toward improving things. That’s why I’m a big proponent of time-saving, simplifying tactics that make it easier for people to cook homemade meals on a regular basis. Slow cookers help a lot. Full story here.

8. Make homemade artisan bread part of your daily routine

artisan bread in 5 minutes© K Martinko -- Fresh bread just in time for breakfast.

Another home-cooking technique that can be incorporated into busy everyday life, fresh bread does not have to be a weekend-only project. Full story here.

7. Why we need to start drinking coffee like Italians

Sicilian coffeeErik Törner/CC BY 2.0

I believe that food must be thought of in the context of its packaging, in addition to nutrient value and origin. Coffee is an integral part of North American culture, but it generates crazy amounts of trash, which is why I argue that we could learn a lot from Italians when it comes to drinking zero waste coffee. Full story here.

6. We all love baking soda, but where does it come from?

baking sodaAqua Mechanical/CC BY 2.0

It’s all in the title. Baking soda has become the darling of the eco-conscious world, and yet we know nothing about it! (Just ask a few people if you don’t believe me and you’ll see.) Learn where and how it’s made, and whether or not this is something we should be worried about. Full story here.

5. 3 ways to make vegetarian cooking much easier

basket of vegetablesTake Back Your Health Conf./CC BY 2.0

The theme for 2016 in my home kitchen has been ‘meat reduction,’ but when there’s an entire family in tow, it’s not a smooth transition. Old habits die hard. Full story here.

4. A guide to buying edible insects

Entomo Farms crickets© Entomo Farms (via Facebook)

You might be a little shocked if you opened my kitchen pantry. There are fried chrysalises, packets of cricket powder, a few giant water scorpions, and mealworms in full view. A big part of my meat reduction efforts has been to explore alternative protein sources, and they’re not as scary as I once thought! Full story here.

3. What kind of milk can I drink without feeling guilty?

I love milk - glass of milkJoe Shlabotnik -- If only it were this simple.../CC BY 2.0

Welcome to my personal dairy dilemma and the weird, convoluted thoughts that keep me up at night. The commenters taught me some interesting facts I didn't know (such as the existence of hemp milk), but I've pretty much concluded that overall reduction is the most important approach. Full story here.

2. SuperMeat wants to grow real meat, without harming animals

chickens© SuperMeat

I've come to believe that cultured meat is the way of the future, and this fascinating Israeli company has a plan unlike any other in the world right now. If successful, their three-dimension “meat” will revolutionize kitchens and diets worldwide. Full story here.

1. 8 new cookbooks for vegetarian or vegan cuisine

A Modern Way to Eat© The Little Loaf

Good cookbooks are so important for a home cook. They inspire, teach, and guide, and become invaluable references. They also encourage you to develop favorite standard recipes, which make home cooking easier. Full slideshow here.

Tags: Cooking | Food Miles | Food Safety | Food Security | Fruits & Vegetables | Local Food

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