Saturday, September 11, 2010

What I am Reading: Food Matters

Let me start off by telling you that Mark Bittman has already changed my life. It was reading and trying recipes out of his book, How to Cook Everything that really taught me how to do most anything in the kitchen. The book is chock full of simple recipes made out of fewer ingredients, in simple preparations with more flavor than I had ever known. So, you may say I'm sort of a fan.

I knew this book came out a few years ago but somehow failed to bump it to the top of my reading list. That was a total loss on my part and I am sorry I waited. Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes is the most practical, pragmatic and easy to understand food book I have ever read. I highly recommend you read it. He really cuts to the chase in this book. Yes, local food is great. Yes, organics are usually a good thing. However, the most important thing is what food is making up the majority of our diet. Bittman announces loud and clear, what anyone reading the Word of Wisdom should know: plants are the answer. 

Plants are the answer to the tune of 90% of our diet. Wow. I would really have to sit down to do the math to figure out the fraction pie of my diet. I will spare you and instead tell you what that means: whole unrefined grains, vegetables and fruits. We are not eating enough. So much so that as Bittman points out in the book- we get what we demand: the people want and eat meat and so that is what is being produced at an ever increasing rate. Our demand for plant based food is so low that IF we all were to eat the five servings a day of fruits and vegetables that the USDA recommends we wouldn't have enough fruit and vegetables to meet the demand; there isn't enough being grown, because we don't want it.

The book outlines what needs to change and how to do it. There are 75 recipes and lots of ideas of how to do it. And if this isn't enough for you I just found this to add to my birthday wishlist (anyone want to buy it for me?) The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living. It is coming out in a week and a half: an entire cookbook dedicated to plant focused eating. And it is for everyone. You don't have to push meat totally off the plate, you just need to decrease it. And all of the recipes I have looked at so far seem fantastic. I can't wait to cook through them.
I even pulled a simple idea tonight- Justin was out and the kids and I were alone for dinner so I quickly steamed some whole wheat couscous (read: boiled 1 1/4 cup of water in the microwave, added a dash of salt and 1 cup of couscous, covered and let it stand for 5 minutes) and followed directions to accessorize our basic grains. It was about as easy as pouring cold cereal and infinitely better on every level, kind of like my so-easy-that-I-am-embarrased-call-this-a-recipe for oatmeal.
One more thing. If you have anytime at all this week please watch this 
TED Talk by Mark Bittman. It is really, really good and then pass it on. I think you'll want to.

More good things to come this week: I will profess my love of fresh mint. Stay tuned.

So have you read Food Matters?
Have you walked the TED talk?
Tell me what you thought.

Oh, and thanks for reading. I really like sharing all of this.


  1. Good read! I really should eat more greens in my diet, especially during the pregnancy, but I am not craving them. I did make a chicken pot pie tonight that was good with a few veges. This pregnancy though I have not been up to eat much meat, very little! Fruit it my favorite! As well as CARBS!

  2. Thanks Sandra. We just finished reading "In Defense of Food" and it's helped us rethink some things. Will check out Food Matters.

  3. Thanks for the book referral. I put it on my list of books to read!

  4. Hello Sandra and Section 89 Ladies,

    I would like to pass the "Blog With Substance" award along to you! I don't have an email address for you, but you can view the information at:

    Have a happy day!

  5. Thanks for sharing. How are the recipes? Every time I find a vegetarian recipe, it calls for weird ingredients I've never heard of before, or other expensive ingredients that I have to go and buy for that specific recipe. Do you know of a cookbook that has simple recipes that are vegetarian that don't call for a lot of ingredients (especially ones I've not heard of before) to help a poor college student family?

  6. Thanks for the comment love.

    I would recommend Mark Bittman books to you. He usually uses a lot less ingredients then most. You should check out his archives online or check a book out at the library to see if his stuff is to your liking. Here is his blog:

  7. Thank you for reminding me about Food Matters. I ordered it from just now.


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