With a cookbook like this, it's important to focus on what it does and what it doesn't do. The Climate Change Cookbook is not a vegan cookbook. What it does is offer recipes that have been designed using the EAT-Lancet Commission's 2019 report, a scientific review of what constitutes a healthy diet from the point of view of a sustainable global food system. The book offers more than 60 recipes designed by Sheffield-based catering company PJ Taste, focusing on wholegrains, vegetables, pulses, beans and nuts, alongside small amounts of animal products.
It has been authored by Peter Taylor, who has a BSc in nutritional medicine and has written books including Overtired? Overweight? The Solution and What's In My Food?.
Taylor does not mince his words. "Be alarmed," he writes in the introduction. "Global warming will not blow over. It will gradually worsen, killing increasing numbers by starvation, drought, flooding, fires, storms, hurricanes and natural disasters." In the first chapter, titled ‘What is global warming?', the reasons why we should care are clearly stated – and what we eat now can make a difference. I also appreciated the inclusion of what the publishers are doing to reduce their environmental impact – practice what you preach, or publish, in this case.
However, I was left with questions, the biggest one being why the recipe on the book's cover was arepas with avocado. Many of us are now aware of the environmental impact of our avocado obsession in recent years, and although Taylor says what you eat matters a lot more than where it comes from, since transportation accounts for only about 6% of food's total climate footprint, it seems an odd choice.
As an introduction to climate-conscious cooking, the book keeps it simple and even has a weekly meal planner. But I was personally left wanting to know more about the nutritional and environmental impact your choice of ingredients can have in order to make the most informed choices we can.
The Climate Change Cookbook, by Peter Taylor (Meze Publishing, £18)
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