Archive for the ‘food’ Category


Berry Hill egregious taco packaging saga continued (with photos)

August 20, 2008

So I’m a green freak, but Berry Hill’s (360 & Westlake Dr in Austin) breakfast taco packaging is over the top by any standards. They make McDonald’s DLT burger box look like a Prius next to this Hummer of a to-go order. One would hope that tacos protected by tin foil and Styrofoam and accompanied by a whole utensil set and chips would be a culinary masterpiece.  Sorry, they’re not even that good. If you want great breakfast tacos then go to Texas Honey Ham on Bee Cave. Those tacos are AWESOME and appropriately packaged.

That is a lot of packaging for 5 tacos!

That is a lot of packaging for 6 tacos!

Looks like a lot of food, but it is?

Looks like a lot of food, but is it? No.

The picture below is not a packaging rant because I’m not sure which way makes sense. Ideally, the plastic box would be reusable. We could buy the appropriately packaged cheese and restore it in the convenient box. The strange part is that the price is identical. I would expect that the more durable package costs something extra.  This confirms that retail pricing is not logical – people buy on impression and instinct.

More questionable packaging?  Same amount of cheese, but lots more plastic.

More questionable packaging? Same amount of cheese, but lots more plastic.


Beef high in fat and Oil

July 20, 2008

About 10 years ago I stopped eating beef because it was high in fat and that’s not healthy for me.

Now I have a second reason.  Beef is a huge energy waster.  Here’s the chain:

  • Beef comes from cows.
  • Cows from feed lots are fattened up with corn.
  • Corn takes a lot of oil to produce (plus corn for ethanol competes with oil)

Cows also use lots of energy in transport and processing.

Source Federico Mena Quintero

Source Federico Mena Quintero


Rising tide lifts all prices

July 20, 2008

I heard from a friend that coal is now 100% more expensive than last year and that increase is going to show up in our electric bills.  I heard yesterday that wheat is now 200% more expensive than last year because corn prices have skyrocketed based on ethanol demand.

The price of oil has a direct impact on ALL OTHER forms of energy.  Energy is fungable and there are substitutes for oil.

There is no end to the sky and sea.

From "There is no end to the sky and sea."


Peak Oil Meet Up

July 19, 2008

I was invited to the Peak Oil (aka “crude awakening“) meet up today at Lester Germanio‘s sustainable food/water/shelter project deep in the heart of West Lake Hills.  While the project is breathtaking in both actual views and vision.  I’m having trouble reconciling the obvious benefits of “living off grid” aspects of this long term project with seeing this as reproducible model for other people to follow.

I’m looking for ways that the body of society becomes sustainable collectively not just individually.

Lesters courtyard is cool and inviting

Lester's courtyard is cool and inviting

Here are all my pictures.  Lester’s project is very thought provoking.  His designs (will) include double roofs to manage heat and collect rain water.  A huge cistern and water tower.  An integrated garden and root cellar.  The project, boostrapped and self-built, has been going for quite a while and encountered plenty of governmental road blocks.


Talking Trash on the Beach

July 19, 2008

Yes, I’m a sustainability nut… Instead of frolicking the the surf, I was taking pictures of the beach trash cans at Fort Walton Beach, Fla,  I was appalled, appalled I tell you, about amount of recyclables in the trash.  While it’s pathetic much litter remains on the sand, I’m even sadder that the City of Fort Walton Beach (FWB) puts out trash cans in pairs, yet does not offering beach side recycling.

The photo shows the obvious – typical beach waste is at least 80% recyclable!

This is NOT trash!
This is NOT trash!

This leads to interconnected two questions:

  1. Does it make sense for FWB to provide beach recycling as a service?
  2. Would people use it if they offered it?

Unfortunately, it’s not a viable service unless people will use it.  I wonder if recyclers could handle the 20% waste in the otherwise Al & PET rich trash.

From the photo below, Austin clearly has both the motivation and participation to provide recycling.  What will it take to push this municipal attitude to the mainstream?

Austin does it right
Austin does it right

Unsustainable breakfast tacos, this has GOT TO STOP

July 19, 2008

Nothing is more ubiquitous in Austin than long chains of 100+ summer days than breakfast tacos.  Typically, these tasty tortilla mastications are simply wrapped in a square of foil.

Unless you happen to buy them at Berry Hill.  There you get the foil surrounded by a foam box included in a plastic bag.  What’s a taco without a bag of chips and cup of salsa.  Don’t forget to throw in the utensils set!

Oh, I wish I’d taken a photo!


Like a headless chicken

July 14, 2008
And, it tastes like chicken!

And, it tastes like chicken!

I’m catching up on posts about BIG ideas, so I thought to offer this small item while those stew as drafts.

Laura and I used to only eat chicken breasts.  We’d buy them in frozen bulk at SAMS in convenient flash frozen boob bags.  I always assumed that the rest of the chicken was shipped to Russia to feed orphans.  I have this Oliver Twist image of our dark meat being served to singing hordes of delighted delinquents.

Not too long ago, Laura realized that the dark meat is both cheaper and had more nutrition that our bleached and water-injected white meat.  Once I got used to the novel idea of eating dark meat, I grew to prefer it.

We’ll have to get used to eating locally as the cost of shipping food increases.  That includes making more efficient use of local supplies.  The idea of only eating 1 part of the chicken is going the way of the dodo.