How to eat your Christmas tree
'How to eat your Christmas tree' began life in 2015 as a supper club in London which continues to run every January around the same time that Christmas trees are traditionally supposed to be taken down. During this four course feast, well known evergreens such as pine, fir and spruce are served up in interesting and exciting ways to extend the already short shelf life of a tree. The project has also been turned into a successful, festive cookbook which tackles issues of recycling and reuse.
The aim of the 'How to eat your Christmas tree' project is to raise awareness about waste over the festive period and encourages people to rethink traditions such as chopping down Christmas trees, which can actually be detrimental to the environment. Did you know that if we decided to leave just one year's Christmas tree harvest to grow, those trees, over the course of their lifetimes, could collect the same amount of CO2 emitted annually by the global aviation industry?
Here's the thing - eating Christmas trees won't singlehandedly help any polar bears or freeze any icecaps, but it is an example of how reuse and reappropriation could help, even in a small way, in the global fight against climate change. Feasting on our trees is celebratory and connects us back to the land. By eating them rather than throwing them out once Christmas is done and dusted, we are not only repurposing them, but are acknowledging them as living things instead of simply commodities of Christmas.
Over the last few years, this project has gained more and more traction as the noise surrounding the climate crisis has increased and, in 2020, the 'How to eat your Christmas tree' cookbook was published by Hardie Grant. The cookbook offers ways of cooking with Christmas trees, Christmas tree alternatives and can also be used as a handbook for a more sustainable Christmas. Funds raised by the supper club and cookbook support tree planting schemes and tree protection campaigns.
Images for this project are by Lizzie Mayson, for the 'How to eat your Christmas tree' cookbook. The graphics for this project has been designed by a combination of the team at Hardie Grant Publishers and illustrator, Jess Hart. Other collaborators for this project include designer Lauren Davies, stylists Louie Waller and Tamara Vos and photographer, Carmel King.