Sunday, April 3, 2011

Inspirational Cookbooks

    Years ago, my family received the gift of two inspirational cookbooks, Twelve Months of Monastery Soups and From A Monastery Kitchen.  We tried the recipe titled St. Patrick's Cheddar Cheese Soup from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups and fell in love!  The author, Brother Victor-Antoine D'Avila-Latourrette, uses timeless cooking techniques resulting in delicious, hearty meals.  I can imagine following one of these recipes out in my yard cooking over a fire or in a pristine gourmet kitchen.
    Many of the ingredients called for are refrigerator staples.  Simple items -carrots, onions, potatoes- made elegant with the addition of fresh herbs and a classic French method.  Other ingredients have been a launching point for our garden.  I had no idea how invaluable the leek was before these books showed me the way! 
    Brother D'Avila-Latourrette truly embraces the concept of natural living and gives us the knowledge we need to bring this lifestyle into our kitchens.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pray for Japan and Heed the Environmental Warning!

    Beyond the terrible destruction of an earthquake, the people of Japan are in even more danger due to the failure of their nuclear power plant.  The situation continues to deteriorate, and in the worst case scenario      -meltdown- thousands of people will die.  One of the reactors contains plutonium which causes cancer.  The radiation can travel over great distances. The Chernobyl accident displays that once a nuclear disaster occurs the repercussions can be lasting for those affected.  The people of Japan are in a terrible struggle for their lives and my heart goes out to them, because really there is nothing they can do to save themselves.

    When I began to learn about this disaster certain facts jumped out at me.  There was an earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  Horrible happenings and events that could strike at anytime and anywhere.  Please acknowledge that this is true.  Many of us live in an area of the world where earthquakes are highly uncommon, but this does not mean that they can't occur.  Earthquakes can affect any area. 

   Secondly, the crisis at the nuclear facility in Japan was caused by a power failure caused by the earthquake.  I find this to be ominously disturbing, so I must repeat this: a power outage caused the nuclear reactors to begin overheating because the cooling system no longer had a source of power.  This is scary because there could be many scenarios where power could become unavailable to a nuclear facility.  I have heard that in the USA we are more-up-to date and we would not have this problem, but I am not convinced.  Japan is certainly a country with state of the art technology.  I don't believe that their facility was sub-par, what I believe is that the world is putting itself at great risk by playing with a force barely under our control.  A power outage caused by a natural disaster (which there are plenty of) puts all of the surrounding life at risk for death.

    I have been told that we need nuclear power if we continue to use as much energy as we do.  Is it worth it?  Are you aware of  the consequences of  nuclear explosion?  When I was in high school, we studied the aftermath of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  People at the explosion sites were incinerated instantly.  Those who weren't killed immediately were severely burned and many suffered horribly before dying. Some survivors describe a nightmare, others struggled to help the needy.

    Our desire for energy has caused our environment to become poisoned.  Nuclear power is very dangerous, but burning oil, coal, or anything else is deadly as well.  Cancer abounds, and it seems likely this is due to all of the chemicals being put into the environment since the Industrial Revolution.  Hydroelectric power does not put out chemicals, but it does interfere with fish populations -a potential food source.

    All of this is quite negative, and I believe in optimism, so what to do?  Why not use solar power on a large scale?  If  there was a power company that installed and maintained solar panels on many peoples' roofs, then we would have no need to burn anything for power.  I resent paying a substantial amount of money every month to a power company that burns coal.  I feel as if I am buying a prescription for eventual cancer for myself and my children. 

    Having energy doesn't have to be this way.

    As if an answer to my prayers, this power company already exists!  The Citizenre Corporation has taken the idea of solar power to the next level.  Their concept of "renting" solar panels is the way to give average households clean energy.  The homeowner simply pays a utility bill just as they are accustomed and the power company provides a means of energy and maintains the equipment.  The only change for the homeowner is that with their "rented" solar panels their energy will not be part of the disastrous system we currently use. 

    What the general public must realize is that with our current power providers we are all doomed.  One way or another, the filth that is emitted from burning coal and oil will kill us or someone we love.  If we think realistically, we must understand that the risks of playing with nuclear power are too great.  It is a force that is beyond safe control. 

     There are various solar power providers, so they are competitively priced.  Please follow these links to compare companies.

    It is the common man who must act in times of crisis or suffer the consequences.