Sunday night I made corn tortillas from scratch; they are so ridiculously easy. Masa harina and water – form into balls, press into patties, toast 1 minute or so on each side and voila, fresh corn tortillas.
Making things from scratch can be time consuming, and sometimes recipes flop (I have yet to make perfect pita, for example).
My main motivation behind making things from scratch is to avoid the waste of food packaging. It’s one of the many reasons I love buying in bulk as well. So far, I’ve been reusing plastic bags at the bulk bins, but my dream is to get (or make) enough cloth bags to hold everything I buy at the store and then transfer items to glass jars when I get home.
This means I make a lot of things from scratch at home – almond milk, hummus, tortillas. I buy almost everything else in bulk – peanut butter, olive oil, tofu, nuts, grains, beans, etc. We go sort of ridiculously far out of the way to buy bread for three reasons: 1) it’s the only place in SF that sells whole wheat sourdough that I can find , 2) it’s freaking delicious, 3) we bring our own bags, they take it out of the case, slice it and wrap it up for us. I was gathering so many plastic bread bags that I had to find another solution. I know I could obviously make my own bread as well (which would be better economically) but so far, my bread making has not been a success. Something to work on!
After Burning Man last summer, Alex and I visited a landfill to drop off our camp’s trash. It was the first time I had visited one and it opened my eyes to the amount of waste generated. Heaps of trash at the actual landfill and then the surrounding area was just covered in trash. It was an eye opener for sure. Obviously we also recycle a ton – and the plastic yogurt and hummus containers hopefully end up getting melted down and repurposed. But we all know that’s not a continual sustainable solution.
Don’t get me wrong – there are jars of pasta sauce in my fridge and I don’t make my own condiments (although Mark Bittman has some great recipes for different ketchups). It’s not an easy problem to solve – particularly because the majority of people don’t have access to any bulk bins, much less the incredible ones at Rainbow Grocery.
But I subscribe to the philosophy that if I can do it – I should. Meaning, if I can afford to buy organic, I do. If I can take the time and have access to bulk bins, I use them. If everyone takes the small steps that are available to them, it’s better than giving up and giving in.