Sunday, December 20, 2009

12 Days of Cookbooks: Food Matters - Mark Bittman

 Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes

There are many, many books out now on food ethics, eating locally, etc., etc., etc.

Michael Pollan's an Omnivorne's Dilemma is notable, but some of the densest, hard to get through writing I have ever encountered.  It sits, half read, on my nightstand.  Even when I was bedridden in the hospital, I couldn't get through it.  His In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, is a much more digestible, pardon the pun, version.

When Mark Bittman's Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating was released earlier this year, I thought, swell, another book preaching to the choir on reduced meat consumption, and thinking before you graze.  I like Bittman,  and I treasure my copy of How to Cook Everything, which comes in handy, when I'm stumped, usually by something simple.  But until I saw some of his Today Show appearances, talking about the book, I was a little skeptical that the world needed another version of this story.  The fact that he dropped 35 pounds following his own advice got my attention as well.

His no nonsense approach includes a common sense, non-preachy review of how 'Big Food' got where it is, moves to his version of 'how to eat', which is essentially cutting back on meat and processed foods, and about half the book provides recipes.

I think a lot of Bittman's appeal is his totally flexible approach to cooking.  He encourages making the recipes with whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand.  His lists of 101 ideas on New York Times make me wonder if he is gripped by some demon every once in awhile that forces him to get them down on paper as quickly as possible. 

No photos, so if you are looking for a pretty book, this isn't it.  But if you are looking at starting on those New Year's resolutions, this one has a nicely laid out plan to change your shopping habits, your pantry, and your diet, to benefit not only your health, but good old Mother Earth's as well.

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