At our best, we humans, when faced with crisis, we club together and act collectively. We invent new shared ways of doing, being and providing for ourselves. We pay attention to the needs of others. We give. We receive. We share. We eat together.
Since the middle of the last Century one of the dominant memes of human society has been the multiplication of Consumption by the creation of more Consumers.
Individuation of human groups, the nucleation into two generation “nuclear” family groupings, created extra Consumers. Even more Consumers have been created by further sub-division of families, resulting from cultural trends such as divorce.
Almost everyone in the so-called developed nations has been encouraged to believe that, if they live by themselves, then they need a television, a car, a freezer, a refrigerator, a computer, a washing machine, a central heating system, a microwave oven; and perhaps a dishwasher, a tumble dryer…the list goes on.
The levels of material resources and Energy used to supply all these goods and keep them running is phenomenal. The good Professor David MacKay, (although he is misguided about his advocation of Nuclear Power), has a lot of useful things to say how much Energy we each use on average :-
“Cambridge Ideas: How many light bulbs does it take to change a man? We have an addiction to energy that is not sustainable with oil, coal and gas. David MacKay, a physics professor at Cambridge University, investigates what it will take to get Britain off fossil fuels.”
Why are people so afraid to live without a refrigerator, a washing machine, an oven, a shower ? Is it because there are no public services that people can rely on any more ? Where have all the launderettes gone ?
Didn’t people go to the Public Baths in days gone by to wash ? They might have had toilets in their back yards, but they didn’t necessarily have bathrooms.
“Ironmonger Row Baths were built as a public wash house and later upgraded to a Turkish Bath…The baths were designed by architects AWS & KMB Cross, and built in 1931…”
And in major cities there have been various cultures of public canteens. For example, in London, England, there are still well-known cafeterias with cheap (if heartstoppingly greasy) food, the product of many decades of community cooking.
It is clear that in the next few decades each individual household will need to cut back on Energy use, because of Peak Oil and Climate Change policy, both leading to higher prices and maybe even Carbon Rations.
One of the obvious things to do will be to turn off your refrigerator and freezer once and for all, and start dining at your local eatery. For our general national health it is going to be important to raise the bar on public food : less saturated fats, less meat, fresher, local food.
And those who understand bulk buying and mass cook-ups are going to be best prepared for employment in the new Community Kitchens, where Energy is shared and everyone is fed.
Today’s best recipe is raw chocolate banana truffle cake. It is nutritionally excellent, despite being “dessert”. And because it is vegan it has a low Energy cost.
See you in the street kitchen !
Raw Chocolate Banana Truffle Cake
1/4 cup golden flax seed (linseed)
1/2 cup sesame seed
1 cup sunflower seed
4 dates, pitted and soaked
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon 5 spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup oats
Blend the flax seed, sesame seed and oats until they make a fine fatty flour.
Blend 3 of the bananas, sunflower seeds and agave syrup into a paste, and mix into the seed flour.
Finely chop the remaining banana and dates and mix into the truffle mixture. Optional : add the mixed spice, 5 spice and cinnamon. If the mixture is a bit wet, add more oats (judgement call).
For truffles : make small patties from rolls made by hand.
For cake : oven cook in a flat tray for approximately 15 minutes to dry it out so it can be cut like cake.
For cookies : leave cut flat pieces in a tray to dry out, in a cool place for 8 hours or so.
Dust trays with toasted coconut (optional), oats and cocoa powder before putting the cake in.