Does this lament sound familiar? “I want to eat more healthfully but I’m not sure where to begin.” or “I want to feel my family healthy, delicious meals, but I just don’t have time/don’t know how.” If so, Food Matters was written for you by Mark Bittman, who has distilled long years of experience writing a column for the weekly New York Times food pages into this very helpful guide. And he will guide you by providing a wealth of sensible, easy-to-follow advice including principles to help guide food choices (for example, “Eat all the plants you can manage.”), shopping (“avoid anything with more than five familiar-sounding ingredients.”), and planning ahead (“every week, cook a full pot of beans”).
I was inspired by the book tonight as I turned an assemblage of leftovers and frozen ingredients into an incredible soup in 20 minutes: cooked black beans and their broth; cooked pureed pumpkin from the freezer; roasted garlic from the freezer; diced, canned, roasted red peppers; a cup of leftover lamb-chipotle braising liquid; cumin, fennel, coriander, hot paprika, salt and pepper. A garnish of sliced scallions and some coriander, both of which had entered Must-Go’s territory (as in ‘everything in the refrigerator must go!’) That and a piece of bread made a great dinner. Some of the book’s 75 recipes have appeared in Bittman’s column and they bear repeating. They are technically easy, can be embroidered endlessly, and take advantage of seasonal abundance, and taste good. Who could ask for anything more?!