Prunus and Pronto

Discussion of the California drought is not limited to California anymore. One topic that gets a lot attention (even a segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) is almonds and their supposedly inordinate consumption of water.

I love almonds. I east a handful of them (unsalted dry-roasted) almost every day. I love them almost as much as peaches, which are, as far as I can think about it, my favorite food of all. And guess what! The almond tree (Prunus dulcis) and the peach tree (P. persica) do not only belong to the same genus, but the same subgenus Amygdalus. I am not a dendrologist, or a biologist of any sort, but to me it seems unreasonable that two tree species of the same genus or subgenus would have drastically different water requirements. But I haven’t heard any complaints about peaches or plums or apricots or cherries.

At any rate, I am willing to sacrifice some of my own water use if my doing so will help keep the Prunus crops growing. I know it’s unlikely, but there’s always the categorical imperative.

One of the ways in which I can save a little water is, since I am also a big eater of pasta, by using a new product from Barilla called Pronto. It’s a pasta made not just with wheat flour but also with semolina, and it consequently absorbs its cooking water, like rice or couscous. To cook 6 ounces (175 g) of pasta requires only 1½ cups (360 ml) of water, instead of the several liters for conventional pasta, and none of the water is wasted. And since you start with cold water, time is saved as well. Since to me pasta is pasta (I don’t care if it’s fresh or dried), the result is completely satisfactory. Bravo Pronto!

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