Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Root Cellaring

Consuming less oil (the fossil fuel variety) means eating less meat.1 Eating less meat means eating more vegetables. Eating more vegetables means storing more vegetables.

I have to face the cold, hard facts. My refrigerator isn't up to the task. Thirty pounds of potatoes, squash, apples, carrots, and beets are making it difficult to close the door. You know what is up to the task? A root cellar:

Food Storage as Grandma Knew It, New York Times, November 5, 2008

Says Elizabeth Cromley, author and professor of architectural history at Northeastern University:
"At one time, just about every house had special facilities for preserving food."

"More than 400 books instructed 19th-century Americans on how to plan a functional house, with a practical larder, basement and outbuildings."

"You’re not going to die if you don’t get a new dress," she said, "but if you don’t know this, it will kill you."
Unfortunately, we don't have a basement:
"The Worleys, like a number of other Americans, have made the seemingly anachronistic choice to turn their basement into a root cellar."
But we do have an unheated garage, where my accomodating husband has meted out space on a once tool-heavy shelf for some cold storage:

1 The Staggering Cost Of Rising World Meat Production, Mark Bittman, New York Times, January, 2008:
"If Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent, it would be as if they all switched from a standard sedan - a Camry, say - to the ultra-efficient Prius."
Photo of root cellar in Vermont from Vermont Geological Survey. If you drive into less developed areas in PA, you'll see some of these. I wonder if they're still in use.
Photo of our squash-and-potato shelf: I took this at night. The room was completely dark. I'm just lucky the camera has a flash.

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