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Friday, October 22, 2010


THE FOOD MATTERS COOK BOOK; 500 revolutionary recipes for better
living (Simon & Schuster, 2010, 645 pages, ISBN 978-1-4391-2023-1, $35
US hard covers) is by Mark Bittman, well-known award-winning author and
New York Times columnist. His own health prompted Bittman to change his
diet, and so he has become more conscious of losing weight with healthy
foods that take little out of the environment. If you have read (and
enjoyed) Food Matters, then this is the book for you. It's a guide to
responsible eating: more plants, fewer animals, and less processed
foods. The emphasis here is on "taste" and that involves a more
judicious use of herbs and spices, and cutting back on sugars and
salts. There is a full range here, from apps to desserts, with cook's
notes for each prep, an indication of ease or make-ahead, time
involved, but no nutritional information at the end of the recipe which
many other similar books have. There's a page index to fast recipes,
one for make-aheads, and one for pantry staples. He also has a
bibliography of source materials on food and the planet. Preparations
have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is
a metric table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginners, concerned eaters, Bittman fans.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: crisp rice cakes with stir-
fried veggies and chicken; faro with grapes and rosemary; pasta with
fennel and chicken risotto, bowties with arugula, olives, bulgur and
fresh tomatoes; black kale and black olive salad; creamy navy bean and
squash gratin with bits of sausage.
The downside to this book: the easy-going non-doctrinaire tone doesn't
give any sense of urgency.
The upside to this book: a good beginning for the unconverted.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

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