Fa(i)rsighted habits, Fresh life bulletin-February, 2016

What is the purpose of our daily little choices if they cannot affect others' habits? We should
think more over the fact that we are only guests on this planet and it would be egoistic not to care of
its future. When we produce what will be eaten on our tables, we should do it without
compromising future generations' ability to do the same.
Bio agriculture is among the different sustainable methods
having a better impact on environment. It is carried in
respect of the European regulation CEE 2092/91 and
thanks to the employment of natural resources, it avoids
extreme exploitation of soil, water and air. Chemical
products are completely forbidden and replaced by
traditional techniques, like organic fertilisation or crop
rotation to allow soil's enrichment. To kill parasites, rather
have bacteria or insects instead of pesticides. Furthermore, to go bio means rebuilding a balance
among agricultural companies, which often become fair in their trade. This can improve producers'
life standard: access to market increases relations between developed and developing countries and
protects children and women from exploitation. A kind of binding ethical code for each partner.
However the industry works, can we also take implicitly part in this code? If yes, how? Shopping
knowingly and share our awareness is the first step. As already mentioned in January’s bulletin,
winter is the best season to eat earth’s products like broccoli, cabbages, Brussel sprouts, leeks.
Fortunately, in this little green world, tubers like carrots, beetroots and potatoes bring their touch of
original colours. Therefore this month will be dedicated to potatoes: yellow and strong like the
winter sun shining almost all over Bulgaria in these days. In 2005 FAO promoted potato plantations
around the world and found out some strategies to increase harvest output. Faostat collected data
about the production and diffusion of this tuber and noticed that even if for decades the main
producer countries were in Europe, Asia is now on the first step of the continental podium. Positive
and optimistic result are also coming from the mountainous Lesotho and from the Andes, i.e. from
Peru. This means that potato is a very flexible, accommodating and not-at-all-expensive plant. The
seeds will sprout well at a temperature of 14°-16°C and need a stable soil instead of turnover
between wet and dry. That’s why irrigation plays an important role in the process. One can ask “In a
world damaged by water scarcity, how is it then possible that these are sustainable products if they
need lots of water?”, of course. To avoid resources squander and to increase production around 10
and 20%, both farmers and factories are employing drip irrigation, useful for many different reasons
among which saving nonpotable
water, highly uniform
distribution of it and decrease of
diseases risk. En plus, the risk of
aquifer percolation is totally
reset. The difference is only in
the cooking methods. We will
see it in a while. First, we should
focus on the nutritional facts or
properties potatoes have. This
food is very low in saturated fat,
cholesterol and sodium; it is also
a good source of Vitamin C –
very useful and important
against cold- and Vitamin B6,
providing brain cell, nervous
system activity and
cardiovascular protection. Furthermore, it contains Potassium and Manganese, necessary both as
antioxidant and for speeding up the metabolism. In the graphic above we can see the Causes of
ecological damages of carbohydrates, analyzing Zubereitung (preparation), Weiterverarbeitung
(further processing), Transport (transport) and Anbau (cultivation). As can be seen, the most
balanced is the second one from the left -Bratkartoffeln (baked potatoes). In fact, baking potatoes
has no big impact on the environmental balance of your meal, differently from French fries or
mashed potatoes which need either oil or milk to be cooked.
However, we can keep on being sustainable, also cooking a more creative meal, very good
and tasty for cold winter days. First of all, switch on the music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=T5Cp55MvX54 and now that the kitchen is honeycombed with music and is in a cozy
atmosphere, let it bake!
Ingredients for two:
· 4 baking potatoes
· 2 spoons olive oil
· Coarse or sea salt
For the topping:
· 300g classic Лютеница (Liutenitsa)
· 100g canned corn
· 100g kidney beans
· 1 spoon grated Кашкавал (Kaschkaval)
Preparation:
First of all, we have to cook the topping sauce. Boil kidney beans (if they are not the canned ones)
in a pot full of salty water. When they are ready and the water has dried out, add Лютеница, canned
corn and 1 spoon olive oil. Mix them and let them cook for 5 minutes at low fire.
Adjust the rack in your oven to the middle position and preheat oven at 190 °C. Now it's time for
taking care of the potatoes. Rinse and scrub them under cold running water, as you will be eating
the skins: the majority of the vitamins and minerals are found there. Do not use hot water or you
will start cooking the outside. Dry each potato thoroughly with a clean towel. Remove any bruises
or discolored spots with the tip of a knife. Pierce each potato deeply with a fork or sharp knife on
each side. This will allow steam to escape during the baking. If you do not pierce the potatoes, they
may explode during baking in the oven. Before filling and baking, roll the potato in olive oil and
then lightly in salt. Bake on racks of oven for 1 hour. However, it is important to be vigilant. Take
the rack out from the oven. Cut each potato on its top; fill them with the sauce and the help of a
spoon; put them again in the oven for 15-20min. When ready, grate some Кашкавал on top. Serve
hot: tasty, uhm?
Federica Grassi

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