Happy Fourth! But Beef Is an 'Environmental Disaster,' Potato Salad is 'Always Wasteful,' and 'Skip the Pie'

When liberals sputter at a study showing the Fourth of July celebrations mint Republicans, perhaps they should consider how liberals tend to ruin patriotic occasions. In a New York Times op-ed, Brian Palmer of Slate.com breaks out the carbon-emission sermons about the dangers of grilling, beef, potato salad, and pie:

Fourth of July, the national celebration of combustion, presents an opportunity for atonement.

I’m not advising you to forsake grilling this holiday and join the ranks of raw-foodists. Nor do I believe that we can reverse climate change by eating burgers rare instead of well done. But a little creative thinking can reduce this year’s Fourth of July carbon emissions without gustatory sacrifice. And maybe that awareness will carry into other days and other parts of our lives.

Consider potato salad: a pale mixture of boiled potatoes and mayonnaise that is sometimes appetizing but always wasteful. An overwhelming majority of the energy in boiling goes into heating the water rather than cooking the potatoes.

Direct-heat methods are more efficient and usually tastier. Cubed and pan-fried potatoes take just 10 minutes to cook and require less than one-third the energy of boiling.

And the meat? Forget about it. "Now for the burgers and dogs. First, a green disclaimer. Beef is an environmental disaster, no matter how you cook it. However, if you can’t resist grilled cow, your big decision is between charcoal and propane." Palmer decides charcoal briquettes are the least objectionable. The lecture isn't over:

And finally we come to dessert. Skip the pie. Baking is so energy profligate that the government hasn’t yet figured out a way to reward any residential ovens with the Energy Star label.

Palmer suggests grilling some fruit with your least objectionable briquettes:

Maybe an Independence Day meal of pan-fried potatoes and grilled peaches seems un-American. But the tradition of backyard grilling isn’t exactly Jeffersonian in pedigree. Independence Day feasts in the early 1800s featured such classic American fare as turtle soup...Backyard grilling didn’t become popular until the interwar period at the earliest, and accelerated with the baby boom and suburbanization that followed World War II.

In other words, there’s nothing so very sacred about the Fourth of July cookout. So this year, why not experiment?

What's apparently sacred to Palmer and The New York Times is the Global Warming Science/Theology. Repent from thy grilling ways and your baking in residential ovens! Repent from beef, that environmental disaster! They are the ecological version of Mencken's Puritans: worried that someone, somewhere is enjoying a dangerously charred piece of disastrous cow with wastefully boiled potato salad and pie.

[Hat tip: Cam Edwards]

Tim Graham's picture