Back t; basıcs Mark Bittman offers essentials
By Tim Talevich
MARK BITTMAN is one of the country’s most
acclaimed food writers. He penned the famous “;e
Minimalist” column in ;e New York Times for 13
years (and now authors pieces for the Times’ Opinion
section and ;e New York Times Magazine), posts a
popular food blog ( http://markbittman.com) and
has written more than a dozen cookbooks, including the best-selling How to Cook Everything series.
But in his latest work, How to Cook Everything:
The Basics, Bittman focuses less on what to cook
than on how to cook. The idea behind the book, he
says, is to teach more people the simple basics of
cooking—and, in doing so, show the benefits of less
eating out and more eating in. The book gives all of
the tools to do just that.
Why cook more often at home? Bittman says it’s
satisfying, saves money, can be more nutritious and
ultimately is deeply rewarding—all of which can be
achieved within 30 minutes, or about the time it
would take to have a pizza delivered.
The Connection recently asked Bittman a few
questions about his latest book and other works.
does eating meals at home more o;en ;t into that?
MB: It’s almost impossible to eat as badly at home
as it is with takeout or in restaurants. Once you’re
aware of what goes into the food you eat, it automatically becomes healthier.
CC: Your “minimalist” approach might suggest less
exciting and less ;avorful foods. Not so! Tell us how.
MB: Most of the foods people love are simple.
Trying to cook like a chef, trying to cook complicated foods, is a mistake for almost everyone except
those who adopt cooking as a hobby. To integrate it
into daily life, it has to be simple.… ;ink [of] pasta
with freshly made tomato sauce and real Parmesan—
nothing is more genuine, few things are simpler and
few things more beloved.
Costco Connection: Why go back to the basics in
your latest cookbook?
Mark Bittman: ;ere are, obviously, tens of millions of people with no idea how to get started cooking; this is my attempt to reach them. It’s both a
teaching and a learning opportunity.
CC: You point to a myth that it’s easier to order a
pizza than to make a nice dinner at home. How did
we fall into that mind-set?
MB: Well, it’s easier to order a pizza, but it’s not
cheaper, better or necessarily faster. We’ve lost our
way because (a) we’ve been told convenience food is
better; (b) we’ve been told cooking is a waste of time
(unlike watching TV!); and (c) we’ve been told it’s
di;cult. All of this is wrong.
CC: Your passion, so eloquently stated in your book
Food Matters and elsewhere, has been healthier eat-
ing—for the sake of ourselves and the planet. How
CC: If I say “spring” (and it is just around the corner, we’ve been told), which recipes come to mind?
MB: I love the Caesar salad, and the broiled—or
grilled, if you’re lucky enough to
with herbs. C
The Costco Connection
How to Cook Everything: The Basics by Mark Bittman is in most Costco locations. You’ll also find nearly all the ingredients you need for your favorite recipes,
as well as essential tools to equip your kitchen, in all Costco warehouses.