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August 16, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Cooking The Noms: An energy efficient guide to cooking food

Welcome to this month’s column on how to maximise efficiency in your flat. Today: how to save money and the planet when cooking. Cooking makes up about seven per cent of a household’s energy use. It doesn’t sound like much, but every little bit adds up.

  • Don’t eat too much meat. Meat is super icky on the planet—think greenhouse gasses in the form of methane, and forest destruction to raise cattle. Besides, it’s expensive.
  • Do all your cooking in the oven in one chunk. Most of the energy of using the oven is in heating it up—try to co-ordinate your cooking with your flatmates.
  • The microwave uses way less power—about ten per cent of the energy that an oven would. It also saves heaps of time. (And it’s oh-so-fun to watch your food spin round—it’s good for you right?)
  • Cover pots when cooking to avoid heat loss. Bonus points: less steam = less moisture = less mould.
  • Making pasta? Of course you are. Boil the water in the jug first, rather than on the stove.
  • People don’t seem to realise, but crockpots really are super cool (and easy to find around). You get to make tea before that mid-week afternoon pub trip, not after. Your flatmates will thank me, and so will you. Looking in op-shops for old recipe books to accompany your crockpot is also super sweet.
  • Don’t use your oven as a source of heat. Or to warm socks.
  • Cook too much food for tea last night? Let it cool to roomish temperature, chuck it in the fridge and bam! Lunch tomorrow, no more shitty over-priced food from uni or squashed sandwiches and bruised apples.
  • No matter how many times you check the fridge, unless you go food shopping, there will not be any new and exciting food in there. No chocolate milk will magically appear (I’ve been waiting, and it doesn’t), and that cold air just falls out of the fridge. You can almost see the wastage.
  • When cleaning up, be sensible about it, kids. Don’t run the dishwasher if it’s only half full, don’t fill the sink to the brim to wash a little pot and always wipe down the bench.
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