cooking with…

The solemnity of Holy Week seemed to me a good time to think about our relationship to our environment. Add to the that the fact that Pope Francis has already reminded us several times about how badly we have handled that relationship.

I love our kitchen, and I love our stove. When we did the remodel we very consciously bought a gas stove and oven. I enjoy using my stove top, seeing the blue gas flame, and having that precise control. And the nice thing is that supplies of natural gas are abundant and it is inexpensive.

Except.

Except that the reason that natural gas is abundant and it is inexpensive is because much of it is being obtained through the process of hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking. It is a process about which there are many questions and which uses large amounts of water. There are also questions about how destabilizing it is to the surrounding land. Perhaps there are safe ways to do hydraulic fracturing, but there’s no guarantee that drillers will follow those procedures without proper government regulation.

A much more energy-efficient way to cook is induction cooking, which is electric. And since we have solar panels cooking that way would greatly minimize the impact on the environment and the use of fossil fuel. The catch is that your cookware needs to be sensitive to magnets. That is, if you can get a magnet to stick to the bottom of your pan you can use it with an induction cooker. Of our stainless steel Calphalon pans that I sampled, only one qualified.

These things are never simple.