Friday, August 6, 2010

Greening Up Your Summer Cookout isn't Just About Paper Products

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Colorful Tablecloth Adds 
Atmosphere to Your Cookout
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal was brought to my attention by a reader. While there was nothing new in the article except attitude, you might find this topic of interest. Playing up the natural options, this article made frequent mention of the lack of color, yet solved this problem themselves with their photo layouts. Go figure!

When using sugar cane or corn starch-based cutlery, plates and cups, adding color to this otherwise bland tableware is as easy as tossing a colorful, reusable table cloth on the table and serving some colorful foods.

Grilled veggies, including red, yellow and orange peppers with broccoli, cauliflower and yellow squash make a wonderful grilled dish.

 Another way to add color is the entertainer's old standard--flowers. Cut an assortment from your yard and arrange them in a vase or pitcher of water.Viola'! 

The final point made by WSJ was that the goal of a cookout is to have fun. Keep that in mind and don't worry so much about every detail. Just keep the food healthy and you're good to go. How many of your guests will really care if you use white, corn starch-based paper plates instead of bright red plastic?

One interesting parallel, found among a number of the companies interviewed about their greener products for WSJ's article, is that the companies' anticipated sales were lower than actual revenue. Several companies found products, that they believed to have small niches, to be more widely accepted and revered as Eco-chic. To my ears, that's great news--a trend in the right direction.

The cost of organic meats was barely touched on, and therefore merits some mention here. While I, like the retired farmer in the article, purchase some organic or grass fed beef from the likes of Whole Foods, there are cheaper sources. Whole fryers, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and ground beef are among the many organic meats I am able to purchase from my local Costco at a significant savings over smaller markets. 

Do I consider the cost of the petroleum used for transporting these products? Sure. We all have to weigh the benefits of eating local versus saving dollars. In my home, our solution is one that many consumers are choosing today; we eat less meat. More meatless meals and smaller portions help keep our budget in line with our comfort zone. When it comes to your own comfort zone and budget, it's your call. Make it carefully.

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