It’s an unwritten law that you don’t talk about how many calories are in a Christmas dinner. It would take a courageous host to mention while passing around a dish of roast potatoes that the average person consumes almost 5,200 calories per day, according to one calculation – more than double the advised consumption.
So perhaps analysing its environmental impact isn’t exactly joyous either. You might feel as though you can’t ignore these issues after reading news reports for an entire year about the global biodiversity crisis, water shortages, and the catastrophe caused by climate change. What if you could serve a holiday meal that is so outstanding that no one really notices that it is also environmentally friendly?
Here are some tips on how to enjoy a very happy Christmas while causing the least amount of environmental harm, whether you’re a traditionalist or a creator of novel gastronomic delights. After all, what could be more suitable than making sure that future generations can still hope to wake up to snowflakes in northern regions of the world? In addition, several of these suggestions will aid in the rising expense of living crisis.
by Isabelle Gerretsen The meaty main
Since I don’t enjoy turkey too much, I choose to serve roast chicken for Christmas dinner. The meat has a lower carbon footprint than cattle, lamb, hog, or cheese, making it a “low CO2” animal product. Its impact is nearly nine times lower than that of beef (49.9 kg of CO2e) and twice as low as that of cheese (10.8 kg of CO2e), at 5.7 kg of CO2e per 100g of protein (Read more about the lowest-carbon protein).
After conducting some research, I soon come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t roast my chicken in the oven because it uses a lot of energy and takes a long time to cook. In this situation, I would have to roast the chicken in a fan oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 180 C (356 F). It’s a very inefficient method of cooking because you’re warming not just the food but also the air around it and the oven.
Instead, I opt to cook my chicken in a slow cooker for three hours. I employ the French cooking method known as “sous vide,” which entails wrapping the chicken in butter and cooking it for a long period of time at a low temperature. The slow cooker’s temperature was set to 58C. (136F).
Despite their lengthy cooking durations, slow cookers are among the most energy-efficient equipment, producing little greenhouse gas. In comparison to a stovetop model, an electric slow cooker uses 50% less energy.
I take the chicken out of the bag and put it in a pan on the stove after three hours. I cook the chicken for five minutes over high heat with the skin side down. I give it another five minutes to rest before presenting it to my friends with vegetables and roast potatoes.