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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back to the Basics


This blog is in a temporary state of minimalism, and that can be a good thing. After all, Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist/Bitten blogger/author has made a career of editing meals down to essential ingredients and seasonings.

Case in point: Bittman's piece in Wednesday's NYT food section, 101 Simple Salads for the Season, ranks #2 on the website's most-clicked list four days later. You can feed yourself for an entire summer with these super simple "recipes," while taking advantage of the abundance of local, seasonal produce. You'll see some familiar food combos, as well as some innovative pairings (tomatoes and strawberries with basil, parmesan and balsamic, anyone?)

But Bittman's legacy won't only be about getting back to the basics in the kitchen. He, along with Michael Pollan and a few others, are helping shape our values and philosophies when it comes to food, and the complicated politics surrounding the dinner table. 

Bittman's latest book, Food Matters, marked a big departure from his previous work, and in it, he shares his personal story of how he changed his approach to food, going semi-vegetarian, and why. The book has 75+ green recipes (meaning plant-based, planet-friendly meals), but also includes some meals with meat. 

If you're interested in healthy eating, feeding a family, food politics or sustainable food supplies, I encourage you to read these books. These two authors peel the layers off of these complicated subjects without resorting to activism or a militant tone. Watch for the fall release of Pollan's young readers edition of Omnivore's Dilemma

In the meantime, try a few of these salads and enjoy the summer!

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