To celebrate World Water Day on March 23rd the ClearWorld Media team decided to cook a low-water intensive meal, and calculate the total amount of embedded water in all the ingredients we used.
Before deciding on the menu, we had to make a very important choice. Will there be any meat dishes, are we sticking vegetarian, or are we going all out with a vegan menu? We decided on the middle path.
Taking meat off the menu easily reduced our embedded water footprint. For instance, it takes 15415 litres of water to produce a kilo of beef, while it only takes 214 litres of water to produce a kilo of tomatoes. That one kilogram of beef uses more water than the four-course meal with alcohol we prepared.
We began our night with a nacho platter with melted cheddar cheese with a freshly made salsa with tomatoes, chives, lime and saltine crackers with cream cheese sprinkled with dill. We washed this delicious appetizer with a couple of Chinese brewed beers.
For the main course, we made a Thai green curry with aubergines and red peppers. When choosing the staple to accompany it we took into consideration this fact: It takes 2497 litres of water to produce a kilo of rice, where as one kilo of bread can be produced with 1608 litres of water. So we chose naan bread to accompany our Thai-curry.
We served a Mediterranean salad loaded with feta cheese, green olives, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. For a beverage, we uncorked a couple of bottles of red wine.
And a dinner party is not complete without dessert. A simple recipe of fresh strawberries and whipped cream topped off our culinary adventure of embedded water consciousness.
Our estimation is that we consumed about 12.5 kilolitres of water for a dinner for 7 people, an average of 1.79 kilolitres per person.
We made the compromise of excluding meat, but serving dairy products, and drinking alcohol which accounted for more than half of the embedded water. A vegan meal is by far the most water responsible. Billions of people are affected by water scarcity, and this dinner party was a great exercise in appreciating how much of this precious resource goes into producing the food we eat everyday.
Interested to know your water footprint?
Check out this interactive website. Here are our estimations and calculations per ingredient…