Food Matters

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In his numerous cookbooks and his New York Times column, The Minimalist, food writer Mark Bittman has offered recipes on how to cook just about everything. In his latest book, Food Matters, Bittman advances the idea of rethinking consumption and offers a plan for responsible eating that is good for the consumer and the planet. Here are some of Bittman's recipes:

Chocolate Semolina Pudding with Raspberry Puree

Easy Whole Grain Flatbread

Vegetable Pancakes


Mark Bittman

Comments [27]

wayne from hoboken

bittman's suggestions, less animal product and more plants, are logical. can't really really argue against that.
now, things like the atkin's diet, which is mostly animal products, may work for awhile, but the huge lack of fiber and nutrients in the diet will catch up to you.
any diet that recommends eating bacon is flawed.
on the other side, diets full of soy, especially processed soy, like those meat substitutes, is not good. there is mounting evidence that soy is not as beneficial as once thought. especially the processed types that are prevalent in the US. and children are especially susceptible to the detriments of soy products. just like they are most vulnerable to pesticides...

Feb. 24 2009 01:02 PM
james from chelsea

i know it depends on weight, but how much protein does one actually need to eat daily. i'm programmed to have two eggs every morning plain eggs, a slice of toast. some protein for lunch, if lunch, and of course some for dinner. i'm 6'4" about 195, and have been drilled to always include a protein when i eat. oh well, i just am hearing your signing off, i'll take a chance.

Feb. 24 2009 12:57 PM
Moiz from NJ

I occasionally eat frozen Indian food dishes made by Deep.

If you look at the ingredients that it is made with, they are all whole ingredients. In other words, it's only a handful of ingredients and they each have less than 3 syllables.

I know that eating packaged foods is unhealthy, but I have yet to see any packaged food in an American grocery store that even comes close to having real ingredients in them.

Finally, the plastic container is #1 type of recyclable!

Feb. 24 2009 12:52 PM
db from nyc

"... not of that world?" Mario Batali... Gwyneth Paltrow... Claudia Bassols... a Mercedes convertible... huh???

Feb. 24 2009 12:51 PM
In Chicago

Has Mark heard of the recipe site and does he have any recommendations for recipe sites and food blogs?

Feb. 24 2009 12:50 PM
Drea from Manhattan

Chickpea is a "fast food" chain here in NY that has many vegan and vegetarian options such as hummus and falafel.

Feb. 24 2009 12:48 PM
Janny from jersey city

i never cook with red meat. I only buy organic or kosher chicken, and wild fish instead of farmed. i make a terrific chili with Smart Ground soy product, which i also use for tacos. i have to hide the pkg from my 9 year old stepson, he would *never* eat it if he knew!

Feb. 24 2009 12:46 PM
Jack from Brooklyn

It's not hard to eat well. Most people buy/eat crap because they want to save $1 to $2 here or there, when if you spent $1 to $2 more you can get significantly better food and it's better in the long run.

As far as vegan/vegetarianism goes, I'm not vegan or vegetarian, but simply added more vegetables and fruits into my diet... Still eat meat, but not as often... Maybe once a day at most...

The big problem I have with vegans/vegetarians is how polarized many of them are. If someone eats one burger a day and eats "vegetarian" the rest of the day, what is wrong with that? It's much better than shoving greasy junk into yourself every day.

Also, please folks AVOID HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP as much as possible. It's seriously nasty stuff and it's government subsidized as well... So we pay farmers to grow corn and create high fructose corn syrup so they have a product to compete with "evil" foreign sugar makers.

Feb. 24 2009 12:43 PM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Eating locally is a good way to adjust your diet. You're forced / encouraged to deal with various fruits and veggies at specific times of year. And local produce is so much tastier than what you get in a grocery store which is picked before ripening and traveling a long distance. I've learned to cook and enjoy root vegetables in winter because that's you find at the local greenmarket. I'm dreaming about local asparagus that will be around in a couple of months. As always, everything in moderation. And much less processed sugar!

Feb. 24 2009 12:42 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Sorry, I meant blueberries not strawberries, though the latter aren't too bad either on occasion.

Feb. 24 2009 12:40 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I've been on the so-called "Atkins diet" for nearly a dozen years now, and it's the BEST thing I've ever done in my life. I cram all the meat, eggs, butter, cream, cheese and animal fat I can into my face and don't gain an ounce - as long as I restrict my carbohydrate intake to less than 60 grams a day on average. My only intake of green matter is some cucumbers, and not all that often either. As for fruits, only strawberries when they are cheap enough. I use splenda on everything and make homemade very low carb chocolate treat a few times a day to keep the sweet tooth under control. Sugar and carbs in general are poison and the primary cause of obesity. Aktins said it all, and there is nothing else that works if you are determined to take it off and keep it off.

Feb. 24 2009 12:38 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I think Mr. Bittman did contrast vegans w/"normal people" or something like that.

Feb. 24 2009 12:37 PM

Can Mr. Bitman comment on the Mayor's panel warning that we must prepare for Global Warming.

This was not covered by WNYC.
But was covered by the New York Times.

Feb. 24 2009 12:37 PM
courtney from brooklyn, ny

Cow waste can be transformed into energy!!!

In 'the olden days' cow waste was a great energy source/fertilizer, now as with many things it is wastefully discarded...

Bittman's argument is relevant but at present there is great opportunity for change. Various companies are incorporating this shift in animal waste treatment...

In general, Americans love their beef- this could for a useful and less wasteful incorporation of animal waste into our "reusable energy grid".

Feb. 24 2009 12:35 PM
Michelle Puleio

Everything I've heard so far aligns with the perspectives of the slow food movement. Are you aware of this movement? Do you mention it in your book?

Feb. 24 2009 12:35 PM
In Chicago

Mark, I made a suggestion to a friend that young people need to learn how to cook. I was speaking specifically about college-bound students. Can you do a couple of segments on your NYT video blog aimed at high school and college students. Or perhaps a video version of your Men's Health article, "Yes, You Can Become a Great Cook."


A fan.

Feb. 24 2009 12:30 PM
Beth from NY

Mark, if you add an avocado and some tofu or tempeh to your lunch, or have a fruit smoothie made with a vegan protein powder and some flax or hemp oil for breakfast, I suspect that the evening cravings for cheese will lessen. They may be due to insufficient fat/protein consumption during the day.

You are doing a fantastic job of presenting the benefits of a plant-based (if not necessarily vegan) diet to a reluctant Western audience. I think the word "vegan" scares people. "Plant-based" allows for the occasional cheat, thus making it more palatable (pun intended).

Feb. 24 2009 12:24 PM
Bobby G from East Village

How can you find out if there are trans fats in bread or other restaurant food?

Feb. 24 2009 12:24 PM

What are you spending as a family each week on food (average in supplemented meals)?

Suggestions on shopping for a family of 4 at Whole Foods for less than $300 to $400 per week?

For 95% of the population everybody would eat better save the cost.

Feb. 24 2009 12:23 PM
Jill from Manhattan

Being vegan isn't off the wall, as Mr. Bitman implied. I'm a normal person. I eat wonderful, delicious food and don't feel I'm sacrificing anything by avoiding animal products. Veganism might not be for everyone, but please know we are not crackpots.

Feb. 24 2009 12:22 PM
kai from NJ-NYC

Likewise, reducing the high consumption of food like animal protein, processed food, and out of season produce (transported long distances) lowers not only your carbon footprint, but also the amount of (precious) water used, otherwise known as your water footprint.

That is not to say that there should be a prohibition against these food products mentioned above, but that we should be conscious of eating less since it our consumption pattern in the US is unsustainable.

Thanks to Mr. Bittman to linking food consumption to these patterns as well as to the negative affects of our (factory) farming practices.

Feb. 24 2009 12:22 PM
Amy from Manhattan

On microwaving pre-cooked foods, aside from any objections on the basis of the quality of the food itself, does cooking of these foods on a large scale in 1 place use more or less energy than cooking the same no. of meals separately in individual homes? And doesn't microwave cooking use far less energy than conventional or toaster oven cooking?

Feb. 24 2009 12:21 PM

Mr. Bittman, I made your polenta pizza over the weekend and it was quite a hit.

Feb. 24 2009 12:19 PM
Tony from Manhattan

Mr. Bittman seems hypocritical writing this book during his PBS show in Spain where he does not seem to practice what he is preaching today.

Feb. 24 2009 12:16 PM
jill from new york

I'm curious about Murray's chicken. I usually buy that brand as it's less expensive than organic, but it claims to be less processed that regular chicken. Does Mr. Bittman know anything about that company and whether the chicken is indeed better to eat that regular factory farm chicken?

Feb. 24 2009 12:16 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

RJ [1] your comment is non-scientific. Eating vegetarian does not guarantee a perfect physique. You don't know how much worse your heeavier relatives would have been without their vegetarian diet.

Plus, you do not comment at all about these folks' exercise habits.

In other words, the diet is only one dimension -- albeit a crucial one -- of a healthy lifestyle.

Feb. 24 2009 12:14 PM
rj from short hills, NJ

It is a myth that cooking at home or being a vegetarian is good for waistline. I am a vegetarian by birth, and vegetarianism runs at least 2000 years in my family history. Almost all my relatives are so too. out of which some are lean by nature and most are overweight by nature. As far as i know no one is on restricted diet purely for vanity. they all eat 99% home cooked food, no canned, or frozen. buy fruits and vegetables fresh daily from local vendors. they do not keep left over nor freeze food. The cooking is almost always done by the Lady of the house. almost all of them are great cooks. Very few have heart disease, some have high blood pressure, and very few have cancers etc. but no body has the perfect waist that is highly sought after by the west.

Feb. 24 2009 11:34 AM

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