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Danger in Your Kitchen
Really - I'm not trying to put a damper on your holiday festivities, but as we head into a heavy cooking week, there are some truths that need be told.
Yes, you will probably gain a few pounds but that's not the most clearly present danger. It's your oven.
A blog posted by Greenguard posed the following:
Q: What do stuffed turkey, baked sweet potatoes, and homemade pumpkin pie have to do with indoor air quality?
A: Well, besides filling your home with the mouthwatering scents of good old-fashioned home cookin', turkey and other Thanksgiving dishes require enormous amounts of preparation in the kitchen-including the prolonged use of your stove and oven. And it's actually your stove and oven-not the food-that can sometimes wreak a little havoc on your indoor air quality.
A major culprit is the self-cleaning oven function, which when heated to 900 degrees Fahrenheit can off-gas potentially toxic chemicals. Also, when improperly installed and/or inadequately ventilated combustion stoves and ovens can release pollutants that can linger on and negatively affect the IAQ in your home.
A recent article in The Washington Post is even more damning. Of all the environmental impacts in the food chain - including transportation and methane-belching cattle - the kitchen is the single greatest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions.
Installing a more efficient appliance isn't the answer. In fact, it isn't even possible since ovens aren't Energy Star qualified. According to EPA, "when you turn an oven on, it has to heat all those pounds of steel plus the air in the oven before it even begins to heat the food. This means that there is a great deal of energy wasted before the oven starts doing its job. Currently, there is no way to make ovens energy-efficient."
Any solution? Cooking small pieces of food is more energy efficient, as are direct cooking methods such as stir-frying. The Post article uses the potato as its example. Baking is the least efficient cooking method while hash browns are best. At last, permission to eat fat! Read the whole article - it's really interesting.
And stay out of the kitchen. I like the Post's suggestion - just tell your family you're not cooking for the sake of the Earth.