In his opening remarks author Mark Bittman mentioned that he had been writing about food for 30 years noted that the American diet had "undergone some changes, few of them for the better." At about the same time Mr. Bittman had also experienced some changes - he was over weight, his blood sugar and cholesterol were up, he had sleep apnea, and recently underwent knee surgery. His doctor suggested he become a vegan. Of course, Mr. Bittman strenuously objected to this suggestion, reminding the doctor that he was a food writer.
The doctor's reply? He reminded him that he was a smart guy and that his condition was serious. "Figure something out" was the doctor's injunction. As we now know Mr. Bittman more than figured something out. With his bestseller FOOD MATTERS he brought to light the impossible amount of meat we consume and the ensuing effects on both our health and environment. He devised a plan for addressing these issues.
Now, with THE FOOD MATTERS COOKBOOK he provides us with 500 recipes that are not only a pleasure for our palates but also intelligent choices that are healthful and environmentally friendly. His focus is on grains, vegetables, and legumes, reminding us that in no time this way of eating will become natural to us as we "shift the proportions of what you eat and make your diet as plant-heavy as you can." Bittman tells us it is a case of seeing and presenting animal products as garnishes rather than the main dish. We're not giving up meat, we're simply rethinking the way we eat it.
If there's anyone who doubts that these recipes are not gourmet quality, just taste Pasta with Cumin-Scented Squash and Lamb or Kohlrabi Stir-Fry with Pork, plus a multitude of others.
Not at all dictatorial in suggesting we change our eating habits, Mr. Bittman says, "Sane eating is about moderation, not deprivation, so feel free to eat the foods you'd miss, just in smaller portions and less frequently."
THE FOOD MATTERS COOKBOOK makes responsible, good sense - enjoy!
- Gail Cooke