It has often been said that Whimsy is Radical.
Well, maybe it hasn't *often* been said, or possibly even said by anyone other than me, but in this post I intend to demonstrate the radicalisation of Whimsy!
A coupe of weeks ago, I received an email from Luke at THE RADICAL TEA TOWEL COMPANY explaining that he would like to give me a RADICAL TEA TOWEL. Those regular readers amongst you will be aware that I am a big fan of tea towels, and that indeed Sally and Dave from TO DRY FOR have long been Friends of Whimsy. Anyway, I checked out their website and thought some of the RADICAL tea towels were mighty fine. These are my favourites:
I'm not 100% sure how Emmeline would feel about having her face on the washing up, but whatever spreads the message and all... (I got my form to write her name in capital letters in their exercise books on International Women's Day and quizzed them on her name every day for a week. I felt a bit bad at the variations in spelling, but at least they know Ms Pankhurst's name and what she did.)
ANYWAY, I think THE RADICAL TEA TOWEL COMPANY are a great company and they have an excellent range of tea towels. I was THRILLED when I received my tea towel in the post, and I have to say it really got me thinking. Not only does it have a quotation from 'He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven' by Yeats (which has the doubly fantastic versatility of rendering it a classroom teaching aid), but it also made me sit up and question the carbon footprint implications of baking.
I've been ruminating on this ever since and it's made me think about lots of issues arising from baking. I know that a vegan cake would have a lower carbon footprint, but then what about all the extra ingredients that make up for the dairy and what about the packaging? If you use hyper-local ingredients, a low cooking temperature, minimum dairy and make a cake that will last for a long time does that make it vaguely equivalent to a dairy free cake, or is it just as bad? Clearly, the imaginary vegan cake with all produce bought locally would be the best option, but this isn't a vegan baking blog, so I've tried to come up with something that has a low carbon footprint but still contains some (minimum) dairy products. Also, I suppose you could quite easily make this recipe vegan by replacing the butter with vegan margarine and the milk with almond milk and you could try leaving out the egg and see what happened. BUT if I'd have done that I would have had to buy almond milk and vegan margarine (both in their packaging) and surely the purchase of those products rather than the use of what I already had would have added to the carbon footprint of this particular baking adventure?London Farmers' Market in Whamps:
Goes without saying you should be walking to the Farmers' Market. Also, whilst there purchase organic eggs directly off the farmer along with some milk. Again, there is less packaging, less transport and therefore less carbon if you buy directly from the farmer. I found this article: 'Where's the impact of a home-baked Cake?' really interesting about the carbon intensivity of eggs when looking into all these issues. For the rest of the ingredients (150g plain flour, 125g fairtrade caster sugar, 2 teaspoons corn flour, 100g butter, half a teaspoon baking powder, one egg, 100g light brown sugar, 50g almonds, 50ml milk, 100g flaked almonds - recipe grace a Dan Lepard in the Guardian) I tried to use what I had in the cupboard to avoid more purchasing and therefore more carbon footprint creating, and I had recently purchased organic almonds from our local healthfood store, Peppercorns:
hence the almond content in this recipe. I can't find any online data about the carbon footprint of almonds and whilst I would imagine it's quite high if you buy them from an independent shop at least there will be less delivery, packing and transport implications. Also, I already had them so it made sense to use them rather than waste them...
PETITS FOURS as they were baked in the residual heat of 18th century cooling ovens. Although the carbon footprint implication of time travel is probably quite high.)
THE RADICAL TEA TOWEL COMPANY without whom this particular blog post would have never come about. It really has made me think. And I'm not sure what to do about the whole thing. But I do suggest you check out this blog: Charlie Bit My Tofu for interesting and lively ruminations on vegan food.