Yesterday was a busy day getting ready for the Earth Day potluck dinner sponsored by the Winthrop Green Committee. My husband, Clif, and I agreed to help with the dinner, and on Narrows Pond Road, it was a flurry of cooking and getting things ready—quiche, chili, apple crisp, napkins, cups, pitcher for water. The list goes on, but I will stop.
For the quiche’s crust, we bought whole wheat pastry flour, made from wheat grown in Maine, and yesterday was the first time I have ever made a crust with anything other than unbleached flour. Although I prefer the taste of unbleached flour (we couldn’t find any that came from Maine), I was pleased with the results. The crust had the “heavy” taste that comes with whole wheat flour, but it was flaky, and it actually meshed nicely with the smoky cheddar cheese quiche. However, rolling the dough was not easy. This flour does not have the elasticity of unbleached flour. A novice pie maker would have been saying more than a few bad words while rolling out the crust, which had a tendency to tear and stick. Fortunately, I have rolled out many, many pie crusts in my time, and I was able to produce a decent-looking crust, albeit with a few patches.
Between 25 and 30 people came to the potluck, and overall it was a success. The food was delicious—we “green beans” are good cooks. Along with what Clif and I brought there were mashed potatoes with goat cheese, a cabbage slaw featuring Maine apples; mussels; deviled eggs (one of my favorites); and lots of desserts. In fact, this potluck was dessert heavy, always a potential with a dinner where people bring what strikes their fancy rather than what they are assigned. Never mind! Dessert is good. I especially enjoyed Rose Dawbin’s pear cobbler made with the pears from a tree in her own backyard.
There were a few snafus, which inevitably come from the first time of organizing an event. If Clif and I help with next year’s Earth Day potluck dinner, we will keep them in mind. (No doubt, other little things will crop up. That seems to be the way of such things.)
After the dinner, we showed the movie Fuel, which was excellent. Really, one of the best environmental movies I have seen in a long time and one of the few that has really made me reconsider my position on an environmental matter—biofuel. Basically, the movie charts the filmmaker Josh Tickell’s personal commitment to biofuels—from the early days when it seemed like an unalloyed good thing to the present, where many environmentalists have turned against biofuels.
Tickell is still a fan of biofuels but acknowledges there is good biofuel—algae and fast-growing trees—and bad biofuel—corn. He makes a convincing case that it must be part of a green energy mix—that large mobile equipment such as tractors, trailer trucks, and planes simply cannot run on electricity. (We’re all waiting for Mr. Fusion, but until that day comes…)
The second realization I had while watching the film is that unlike the era of oil, which I hope will be ending soon, the next era (the green era?) will not have one major answer to take care of our energy needs. It will involve many components, ranging from conservation, solar, wind, geothermal, biking, walking, and yes, even biofuels. This is a radical departure from our current dependency on oil as a primary energy source. (There are other sources of fuel, but nothing is as portable and as powerful as oil.)
Finally, it struck me that right now, if we’re careful, with our current technology, we have the means to live sustainably and comfortably and reverse global warming. (Please note that by comfortably I don’t mean that we can consume mindlessly. We who live in rich countries absolutely need to conserve and control our “appetites.”) Other countries such as Germany and Sweden are showing how it can be done. Unfortunately, the oil companies have such a grip on this country that the battle for green energy will be long and hard as it involves subsidies and incentives from the government. And let’s just say that oil companies are not into sharing.
But we can do it. We have to do it. And I don’t think I’m overstating the case that it’s up to us–to me and you and the many—to be on the right side of history.
Anyway, if you get a chance, please do watch Fuel. It will boost your spirits. It will give you hope. It will encourage you to act. And, as I noted in a previous post, action encourages optimism.