Food Matters to Mark Bittman

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bestselling author of How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Mark Bittman, discusses how to eat responsibly and calls attention to the ways government policy, corporations, marketing, and global economics influence the food we eat.

His latest book, Food Matters, has just been released in paperback.

Comments [64]

CAROLINE from New Jersey

Last refuge of a scoundrel - a Jersey joke. Snore.

Jan. 20 2010 09:56 AM
Janice from Brooklyn

Things must be pretty dire in NJ...

Thanks, but no thanks, Caroline, I'd rather watch On Golden Pond while I dip in a bag of Dorito's...

Good night, Mary Ellen, Good-night, John Boy, Good night DB, Goodnight Caroline, Goodnight A.E., goodnight grandpa....

Jan. 19 2010 09:13 PM
db from nyc


Back atcha!

To brief moments of clear thinking!


Jan. 19 2010 02:02 PM
Phoebe from NJ

@18, Rachel from Sunset Park. These are some good general vegetarian cookbooks:

Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian
Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Peter Berley's Modern Vegetarian Kitchen
Moscowitz & Romero's Veganomicon

Jan. 19 2010 01:47 PM

our school pre k - 8 grade, 800 students strong, only allots 15 to 20 minutes for lunch (staggered by grades), basically training a fast food nation. By the time kids have gone through the line to get their food, they can hardly enjoy their meal that it's time for recess. They wolf down whatever is in front of them and up they go. Eating well is not only a matter of what one eats, but also HOW one eats and time is essential to cultivate the ritual of eating, coming together with your peers and the pleasure of exploring and tasting a variety of foods.

Jan. 19 2010 01:35 PM
Rebecca from the Bronx

Marlene and others: Large scale public health decisions need to be based on evidence. I posted the most recent research from a peer-reviewed medical journal. Capitalization and repetition of opinion simply do not carry the weight that well-designed scientific research does. I realize that your opinions are deeply held. That does not make them facts, period.

Jan. 19 2010 01:31 PM
Pope in Hackensack from Living in hell NJ

You’re an adult. You know fat and sugar in large portions are bad. If you don’t have thyroid or metabolism problems you have no one to blame but yourself for eating a box of Oreo cookies in one sitting. It doesn’t matter how you were raised. You’re an adult. Take some personal responsibility. Eating fast food once in a while won’t kill you (as many would argue). But you know eating fast food everyday will kill you. Don’t blame McDonalds for making you fat. You know how bad it is for you before you even step into McDonald’s front door. And don’t play stupid. You know eating a batch of grandma’s 100% natural home made cookies in one sitting will kill you just as fast a box of Oreo cookies in one sitting. Many problems in this country could be solved if we stopped blaming our own personal problems on everyone else.

Jan. 19 2010 01:06 PM
Nora from South Salem, NY

It used to be that you couldn't eat meat, eggs or milk during Lent....what impact would it have if the Vatican or Orthodox Patriarchs mandated the old Lenten fast?

Jan. 19 2010 01:05 PM
A.E. from New York City

Thanks, db. Likewise-- "I even almost like Bittman" is a great line! I enjoy reading your posts in these here parts. --AE

Jan. 19 2010 01:03 PM

[[29] Valerio from Bronx, NY January 19, 2010 - 12:34PM Hey! Mr. Bitman first said we eat an average of 10lbs of meat per week, then he repeated 1/2lb of meat per day. That's 3 1/2 lbs per week... Can he be more specific, and consistent?]]

...i believe he said we eat 10 pounds of animal products per week, meat, eggs, dairy and etc.

Jan. 19 2010 12:53 PM
Barb from New Jersey

I wish the subject of the bees would be included in this discussion: bees pollinate all those fruits & veggies we need to eat -- and there is an apocalyptic-scale die-out of bee population: called Colony Collapse Disorder. Bee keepers know what is causing this: see the new documentary "Nicotine Bees" (seeds are now coated with nicotinyl insecticides) -- but the powerful pesticide industry is squelching the information. If you eat (& pay $ for your food) you need to learn this stuff & speak up!

Jan. 19 2010 12:51 PM
Paul I. Adujie from New York, New York

Actually, you can eat Oatmeal for breakfast everyday!

And here is how.

On Monday, add fresh strawberries

On Tuesday add fresh blueberries

On Wednesday add fresh basil leaves

You get the idea?

In oatmeal you have fiber or good old roughage and you get the taste or flavor from the added fruits

These fruits/vegetables add taste and you NEVER have to add salt or sugar to your oatmeal breakfast.

AND no monotony... as you use the variations as suggested or your favorite fruits of course!

It is possible to eat healthy... it takes thoughtful planning ahead and some discipline ... does not hurt the process

Most sincerely,
Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Jan. 19 2010 12:50 PM
Rebecca from the Bronx

The title of the article from Pediatric Infectious Disease was cut off from my earlier post. It reads:

Project EAT: no association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, adolescent weight gain

Sugar-sweetened beverage and juice consumption was not associated with adolescent weight gain during a five-year study period.

Jan. 19 2010 12:49 PM
Mickey from New York

Chipotle makes an effort to have well sourc3d healthy food, but the portions are WAY too big, as the calorie count reflects.

Miriam--are you suggesting obesity is a good thing? Regardless of Bittman's sloppy use of and/or lack of statistics, it is not disputable that weight effects quality and length of life--diabetes is directly related to being overweight,as is heart disease and certain cancers. Moreover, obesity contributes to a lack of mobility that results in myriad joint problems. We could all (or at least most of us) lose weight and exercise more.

Jan. 19 2010 12:43 PM
Susan from White Plains,NY

What is Mr. Bittman's rationale for eating whatever he wants after 6:00 p.m.?? He's discouraging people from eating too much meat, but it's ok to have a 1 pound burger as long as it's after 6:00???

Jan. 19 2010 12:42 PM
Marlene from Camden, NJ

Rebecca, soda has NO nutritional value whatsoever. It's loaded with sugar, sodium, bone-leaching chemicals and JUNK. PERIOD. It has no business in schools or adolescent diet. PERIOD. It doesn't need to be sexed-up with multi-vitamins or "real" sugar. PERIOD. It's CRAP. PERIOD.

Jan. 19 2010 12:41 PM
Tammi from Brooklyn, NY

I wouldn't call Maoz healthy. I'd say they may be a healthier choice than McDonald's. I haven't been to one in awhile, but I believe all of their toppings are fried, even the cauliflower. Delicious, but I wouldn't call it health food.

Jan. 19 2010 12:41 PM
David Kostek from CT

I find myself nodding in agreement... while in the drive-thru line at Wendy's. Sigh

Jan. 19 2010 12:41 PM

i love ma oz!

Jan. 19 2010 12:40 PM
Greg from Bronx, NY

Leonard: you said that major cities like ours and San Francisco and so on have far less obesity than other parts of the country. Only partly true -- you are probably circulating mainly around the downtown WNYC area where slender yoga ladies intermingle with gym-membership guys. Head uptown, out to the outer boroughs, and other parts of our city of New York, and the picture changes drastically: lots of very heavy folks out here.

Jan. 19 2010 12:40 PM
Lou Friedman from Woodbridge NJ

I am an internist who sees 10-15 diabetic hypertensive patients per day. I am a huge fan of Mark Bittman and I totally agree with him. If my patients changed half of what they eat to plant based foods, many would be able to come off their expensive medications. Keep it up Mark. I love the Kitchen Express book and Food Matters!

Jan. 19 2010 12:39 PM
Chicago Listener

there's a place here in chicago doing the same thing as's called falafill. fresh mediterranean.

Jan. 19 2010 12:39 PM
Mo from nyc

I love Maoz. But for the record, the chain was founded by Israelis in Amsterdam, not Spain, or Israel. Ok, who cares, but if anything try it. I really love their food.

Jan. 19 2010 12:39 PM
db from nyc

[27] A.E. from New York City:

Well put.

Jan. 19 2010 12:38 PM
hjs from 11211

Atkins had a heart attack 1 year before his death

Jan. 19 2010 12:38 PM
Rebecca from the Bronx

Stop saying things that you do not have evidence for! Here's the latest research regarding sweet beverages:

Researchers for Project Eating Among Teens (EAT), a five-year longitudinal study of adolescent eating patterns, enrolled 2,294 adolescents in the Minneapolis/St. Paul school system. Adolescents completed surveys on beverage consumption in 1998 to 1999 and 2003 to 2004.

Survey results revealed that, at baseline, drink consumption was high for sugar-sweetened punch; sugar-sweetened soft drinks, up to six times per week; and white milk, up to seven or more servings per week.

When researchers adjusted for dieting and parental weight-related concerns in prospective analyses, the positive association between weight gain and low-calorie soft drinks was no longer present, suggesting that “use of low-calorie soft drinks is a marker for more general dietary behaviors and weight concerns,” they wrote.

There was a link reported between adolescent weight gain and consumption of white milk. Those who drank little or no white milk gained significantly more weight and had a higher BMI compared with adolescents who drank white milk nearly every day.

The association between beverage consumption and obesity is of concern for all age groups. In September 2009, a group of medical researchers proposed a 1-cent per ounce tax on beverages that contain any added caloric sweetener as an attempt to alleviate escalating health care costs and the rising number of diseases related to poor diet.

Future research on beverage consumption and adolescent weight gain should address portion size, adolescent maturation and dieting behaviors, the researchers concluded.

Jan. 19 2010 12:37 PM
Anne from Manhattan

I would like to voice my support for Mr. Bittman's philosophies. I am a vegetarian who occasionally eats eggs, dairy and seafood. I have found the cooking challenge to use more vegetables very interesting. Over the past year, as I have incorporated more vegetables into my diet I feel healthier, have lost weight, and have had success introducing friends to my eating style.

Jan. 19 2010 12:37 PM
kim from Brooklyn

If one eats only pasture raised meat, do you still feel the same way about limiting meat intake so much? I have read research that indicates it is processed food and industrial meat that correlates with heart disease and cancer, but not pasture raised meats. Your thoughts, Mark? Thanks.

Jan. 19 2010 12:37 PM

I was saying the other day, "I'm going to my fave fast-food place, Pret a Manger."

My friend said, "I'm smiling at what you define as 'fast-food.'"

What about Pret a Manger?

Jan. 19 2010 12:37 PM
db from nyc


Back to the rear seat of the Mercedes convertible, with him!!!

"Natural", what the hell does that mean???!!!

Jan. 19 2010 12:36 PM
Marlene from Camden, NJ

Eating out of boredom is a constant battle in my house. Not for me personally, but I make a point of teaching my kids the difference between eating because of legitimate hunger vs. snacking from boredom, for comfort, as an accompaniment to reading or watching TV. Children do not need to be eating every 20 minutes and I swear I see parents and caregivers do this very thing, constantly offering them drinks, snacks before the child even voices hunger or thirst. I know people who can't drive 2 miles without a bottle of water or bag of Cheerios in the car. Be a little hungry, be a little thirsty for half an hour, you are not going to die!

Jan. 19 2010 12:36 PM
Opal Stanfield from Manhattan

One size does not fit all. Many people need high protein for energy. I haven't eaten meat for over 30 yrs but I do eat chicken and fish. I'm ahigh cholesterol person and cannot eat cheese. I am allergic to tofu and the spoilage that collects on it (which may be penicillin) is quite revolting.
Although I have diabetes in my family so far I have avoiced it (78 yrs. old).
I eat organic (cancer survivor) and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. The chicken has no hormones or anti-biotics.

Jan. 19 2010 12:36 PM
edward Ng

Shout out to Mark Bittman,

I would love to ask if there's a sequel to PBS On The Road. And if co-host Claudia will be around (doubt it since she's native to Spain).


Jan. 19 2010 12:35 PM
A.E. from New York City

Yeah, the "I'm not a personal responsibility guy" remark is one among many markers of Bittman's vapid posturing. Please stop engaging in stroke-fests with this pseudofoodie, Leonard!

Jan. 19 2010 12:35 PM
Ron Phlegar from Briarwood, Queens

Mark Bittman is a phony and a jerk. He once offered a recipe for Cherry Pie that told people to leave the pits in the cherries!!

How can anyone so irresponsible be taken seriously about anything?

Jan. 19 2010 12:34 PM
Valerio from Bronx, NY

Hey! Mr. Bitman first said we eat an average of 10lbs of meat per week, then he repeated 1/2lb of meat per day. That's 3 1/2 lbs per week... Can he be more specific, and consistent?

Jan. 19 2010 12:34 PM
yo g

anthony bourdain-- jumped the shark?

Jan. 19 2010 12:33 PM
A.E. from New York City

Bittman's own recipes are full of fat, especially saturated fat, and include many animal products. The Bittman brand is all about selling statements of the obvious, garnished with statements of the untrue.

Jan. 19 2010 12:33 PM
Estelle from Austin

By the way, your three savory pancake recipes from the Times a while ago are staples in our house! The baby loves them too! I make them with alternative flour, though (wheat, spelt, barley, or rye).

Jan. 19 2010 12:32 PM
Betty Anne from UES

I challenge him to to do a blind test with canola and olive oil after it has been used to cook at a high temperature with.

Jan. 19 2010 12:31 PM
m from NJ

I used to think Mark Bittman was a poor man's Michael Pollan, but really, he's an important voice on his own. (flip through Pollan's new book -- it's obvious he's jumped the shark!)

Seriously though, I think we need as many people as possible talking about changing the way we eat, from Pollan to Bittman, and from the DIY butchers to Jonathan Safran Foer. More people thinking and talking about sensible and meaningful relationships to food can only be a good thing. So I'm always glad to hear Bittman on WNYC.

And this is all from a long-term vegan!

Jan. 19 2010 12:31 PM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

Want to lose your fat? Lose your CARBS! Atkins FOREVER!

Jan. 19 2010 12:31 PM
Greg from Bronx, NY

As soon as Mark Bittman said, "I'm not a 'personal responsibility' kind of guy" -- this guy was confirmed for me as basically a hack with some good ideas here and there.

Jan. 19 2010 12:29 PM
kate from washington heights

Obesity is a real problem. Its a time bomb waiting to go off.

Jan. 19 2010 12:29 PM
Raya from Manhattan

Whether diabetes (type II) can NOT be cured according to your guest, is debatable, and someone who is not a doctor or has anything to do with medical profession, shouldn't be making such statements casually.

Jan. 19 2010 12:28 PM
Shane McAdams from greenpoint

I also always wonder why a tofu isn't consider a 'processed' food; a spongy mass of bean protein steeping in a pool of cloudy water looks every bit as unnatural to me as a cheeto.

Jan. 19 2010 12:27 PM
Rachel from Sunset Park, Brooklyn

I want to cut down on the meat I cook for my family. I don't know anything about Tofu or Seitan or those types of products. Can you recommend a cookbook or two? Thanks.

Jan. 19 2010 12:27 PM
db from nyc

[13] CJ from NY:

Ditto. BIG TIME!

Insipid, indeed!!!

Jan. 19 2010 12:27 PM
Estelle from Austin

I love catfish, and I know to buy domestic. What are the differences, though, between farmed and wild, in terms of contaminants?

Jan. 19 2010 12:26 PM
Dinu from New York

I think Mark Bittman's uninformed and badly research input on agricultural practices are un-necessary.
Regarding commercial fishing vs. wild fish, his was the worst answer I have ever heard, the radio equivalent of a deep shrug. There are many successful sustainable wild fisheries in this world but Mark seems to have never heard of them despite now being some kind of expert on the matter.
Hasn't a clue about the environmental impact of soy farming. The only reason it's cheap has to do more with the fact that it's most commonly grown as subsidized cattle feed.
Stick to bad criticisms Mark. You're much more an expert there than anywhere else.

Jan. 19 2010 12:26 PM
Shane McAdams from greenpoint

We love to vilify 'processed' foods, but isn't the fat in a pork belly at Per Se just as bad as that in a Dorito? If we want to regulate something, why don't we regulate jogging five miles a day.

And as for eating locally, if everyone was willing to eat local insects, wouldn't have all the protein we need and wouldn't have pesticides in our rivers?

To what degree is the good food revolution entwined with a parallel crusade against corporate america and, if so, is it losing its focus on the real mechanics of making us healthy??

Jan. 19 2010 12:24 PM
Don from manhattan

For breakfast, what non-processed foods would you recommend?

Bread, cereal, yogurt, milk, juice. What of these would you qualify as "non-processed"? Can you give examples?

Jan. 19 2010 12:23 PM
CJ from NY

I think Bittman, Batali and Paltrow need to pay back public television for the insipid road trip through Spain its viewers ended up financing. Lost much respect for the participants.

Jan. 19 2010 12:23 PM
garth from brooklyn

Another complication of farm raised fish vs wild fish: A friend of mine in a wholesale fish distributor. He tells me that the international fish market is like the wild west. There is almost no regulation, and that most of the fish you see labeled as "wiled" is actually farm raised. In addition, tracking where the fish actually comes from is impossible. And anyone who tells you that they know where their fish is from, is most likely lying, or misinformed.

Jan. 19 2010 12:20 PM
Chicago Listener

Are there any "good" fast food restaurants? I've sworn off the major hamburger chains, but should I also ditch Potbelly's? I'm just talking in a pinch here, not as an everyday thing. Should I just pack a lunch like when we were kids?

Jan. 19 2010 12:19 PM
Sarah from Weston CT

As the parent of a child living with Type 1 diabetes, I beg, plead, implore your guest to PLEASE correct his statement ( on air) regarding the number of kids with will develop "diabetes. My daughter's auto-immune disease was not caused by "obesity" and it is cruel to inflict that stigma on her and all the other kids living with the huge burden of insulin dependent Type 1 diabetes.

Jan. 19 2010 12:18 PM

Mr. bittman

Your/our UWS fish market tells me that Chilean Sea Bass is no longer endangered. Where can one check on the wild fish which are now at sustainable levels and safe to eat.

How do we pressure the local markets to accept local organic as well.


Jan. 19 2010 12:17 PM
db from nyc

Mark Bittman, again!!!???

I even almost like Bittman. But he's beginning to sound more and more like a less interesting Michael Pollan wanna be/clone.

The "pop" food "thing" suits him better... Gwyneth, Mario and Mark!


Jan. 19 2010 12:16 PM
Miriam from Westchester County

Mark Bittman - Stop blaming obesity for all of the world's problems. You are not a scientist, and you are greatly exaggerating the statistics on obesity. If you cite statistics, please back them up with sources. This is nothing but overt discrimination and it's inexcusable.

Jan. 19 2010 12:16 PM
Pope in Hackensack from Living in hell NJ

Please ask guest how do you change public policy without making all lobbying illegal and publicly financing all political races? How can the food distribution be radically changed without eliminating or drastically rewriting the farm bill which is the most heaviest lobbied bill there is to date?

Jan. 19 2010 12:15 PM
Adriana from New York

The supermarket fish has the country of origin. However, I once found one with the label "swordfish farmed from Mexico". I'm an ichthyologist, and farmed swordfish sounded very fishy!

Jan. 19 2010 12:14 PM
Janice from Brooklyn

SR: Maybe, just maybe self gratification through the James Beard awards?

Jan. 19 2010 12:12 PM
sr from NJ

Leonard, you seem to have turned a real foodie. more than 50% of your show seem to have something to do with food/cooking/diet. wondered what is happening!

Jan. 19 2010 11:30 AM
Diana Manister from Staten Island

Dear Leonard, I listen to your show every day and love it, but listening to foodie talk when people in Haiti have no food or water goes against empathy. When every other cable tv channel is about food of every kind, exotic, weird, elaborate, southern, scandinavian, and chefs compete like sports figures in cook-offs, it's hypocritical to say the least for any tv or radio show to also schedule segments on the costs to health and the economy of obesity, don't you think?

But especially when huge disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes deprive populations of all nourishment it's obscene to schedule chefs as guests, in my opinion.

Anyway, I still love the show. When you have chefs on, I turn to my iTunes library of podcasts on more important subjects.

Jan. 19 2010 09:53 AM

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