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Food Matters: learning to cook sanely with Bittman

While we're on the subject of vinegar love, let me share my latest crush: Mark Bittman.

Now, Heather has been all over him for ages (Hmmm, not literally. I don't mean to imply anything unseemly). And I don't know why. I guess I was prejudiced against him. I suppose it's the New York Times connection. I don't know why. OK, yes I do. I really get steamed about hot trends from New York or LA, and the rest of us in this very large country don't seem to count for much and are just supposed to want to do what the the big city folk do. Whatever. Or, perhaps I felt like since he was a big city food writer, it'd be all about fancy restaurant food, that has almost zilch appeal to me since my kids won't eat anything spicy (as in containing black pepper).

Long story short. I was so wrong about Bittman. I picked up 'Food Matters' from our local library. And pretty much fell in love. It melds all the things I've been trying to achieve with food: eat locally and in season whole foods instead of processed; eat healthfully (which means you have to forget some of the crazy trends like 'fat free'); eat less, but better, meat; eat more veg; and eat less overall. He calls it 'sane eating' or 'conscious eating' and I have to agree, it is sane! Plus it has a slew of really good recipes that show you how to eat this way, instead of trying to cook for your fam and minimize the meat when they're all going 'Hey mom, did you forget something? Where's the beef?'

I recently also bought his 'How to Cook Everything' (10th edition), which emphasizes 'wonderful simple food' and leaves the fancy stuff for the high-end restaurants. It sometimes stuns me how often we talk about food here on the EnviroMom site. It's such a big part of our footprint, and I don't think I realized that at the outset, so many years ago (I figured we'd always find something along the lines of the 3Rs to blog about!) Anyway, what I really love about Bittman's books is that he is teaching me to cook. Something in his explanations gives me a confidence I never had before in the kitchen. I am trying new things. My CSA no longer overwhelms me. It's like he holds my hand, but never patronizes me. Thanks, Bittman, I needed that!

Have you read 'Food Matters' or any of Bittman's many cookbooks? He writes columns, and I believe he has a TV show too. What are you thoughts? Are you feeling the Bittman love?


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