Wednesday, August 12, 2009

to burn or not to burn

This one is for my sister Sarah. I guess I have been mulling over her blog post from May about "hyperbaking" and a more recent post of hers about finding the proportion of the benefits gleaned from biking and running. At the very heart of it she is talking about fastidiously saving calories while cooking and ravenously consuming them while exercising. Something about the juxtaposition of these ideas struck the ironical chords that reside deep within me. Cooking like Bob Cratchit thaws his fingers by a candle and exercising like Nebuchadnezzar's slave stoking the furnace.

Essentially, hyperbaking or hypercooking is a neat way of not wasting as much heat. You cook noodles, for example, by bringing water to a boil and turning off the flame, letting the heat of the water do the cooking. You throw out less-than-boiling water instead of boiling water and you have used that heat in a more productive way than usual. It is a good idea, but of course it would be a bit of work to get the timing correct for a given project. I suppose there are recipes around to help with that. On the downside, it seems counter-productive if you are just making some sort of yummy dessert to power your not-so-pragmatic running habits.

Sarah's recent post about running a mile being equivalent to biking four miles made me think of this post by Steven Levitt on the Freakonomics blog. He suggested that recreational exercise should be taxed for its consumption of fuel and ultimate acceleration of global warming. In my own twisted fashion, I could not help but wonder if running a mile is somehow equivalent to burning a styrofoam cup. Or three.

Ah, global warming... Unless of course it turns out to be global cooling, in which case we will need to be less efficient in all that we do, right? We would probably have a "cash for hybrids" program and redistribute all of those globe-warming machines that are so uselessly sitting around now. We could then feel free to start a nuclear war, and environmentally-conscious people would probably popularize hypobaking, in which one does not shut the oven door. And recreational exercise would naturally be encouraged.

1 comment:

  1. LOL. This is the best. Love you Nate.