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Home Cooking Changes Due to California Drought

08/12/2015

As most people know by now, the state of California is experiencing a horrible drought. As a result, lawns are not being watered, swimming pools remain empty, and now, even the way people cook is changing.

Innovative Cooking

One restaurant owner is looking for innovative ways to make great dishes while preserving water. Andrea Nguyen, a well-known cookbook author, understands that a serious drought does change the way food is cooked, so instead of using a lot of water to make pho in a pressure cooker, she devised a method for making delicious Vietnamese noodle soup with only half the water and in just under an hour.

Nguyen stated that everyone is trying to do whatever possible to help, but it begins by being conscious of the situation. Throughout the state, both home cooks and chefs in high-end restaurants have had to adjust to the way they normally cook. Prior to the drought, no one gave a second through to running water over fresh vegetables, making big pots of stock, or cooking pasta, but now, things are different.

For the fourth year in a row, California is struggling. While people have become accustomed to cutting back on water, the real impact started to be felt this past spring. At that time, people in literally every city and town were ordered by officials to start conserving water. If not, there would be serious consequences to pay.

To ensure everyone abides by the rules, some people in California have turned to social media to tattle on individuals with perfectly watered lawns, full swimming pools, and other outward signs that they are not following the official mandate. Obviously, cooking at home or in a restaurant does not require as much water as watering a lawn, but this is an area also impacted by the drought.

Other Challenges

Another group that has been forced to make changes is food producers. For example, for cheese to be made, producers use milk from animals, but to get rich milk, the animals have to feed on lush, green grass. One tofu maker had to come up with a solution, since this food item requires a lot of water for washing and chilling.

Finding certain foods in the grocery store is getting tough because of the California drought. Cherries, strawberries, peaches, avocados, and other foods are scarce. When they are available, the price is more than 10 percent higher than normal. This affects not only California but also the rest of the country.

Now, it appears that cooks and chefs are getting ready for even more shortages. According to the California Rice Commission, due to the drought, 30 percent less rice will be planted this year.

With no letup in sight, the people of California will continue to deal with the drought while looking for unique ways to cook. While difficult, a large number of cooks and chefs actually believe that making dramatic changes in the kitchen is a good thing, since it not only saves water but forces creativity.

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