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Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes [Kindle Edition]

Mark Bittman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.13
You Save: $5.87 (37%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

From the award-winning champion of culinary simplicity who gave us the bestselling How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian comes Food Matters, a plan for responsible eating that's as good for the planet as it is for your weight and your health.

We are finally starting to acknowledge the threat carbon emissions pose to our ozone layer, but few people have focused on the extent to which our consumption of meat contributes to global warming. Think about it this way: In terms of energy consumption, serving a typical family-of-four steak dinner is the rough equivalent of driving around in an SUV for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home.

Bittman offers a no-nonsense rundown on how government policy, big business marketing, and global economics influence what we choose to put on the table each evening. He demystifies buzzwords like "organic," "sustainable," and "local" and offers straightforward, budget-conscious advice that will help you make small changes that will shrink your carbon footprint -- and your waistline.

Flexible, simple, and non-doctrinaire, the plan is based on hard science but gives you plenty of leeway to tailor your food choices to your lifestyle, schedule, and level of commitment. Bittman, a food writer who loves to eat and eats out frequently, lost thirty-five pounds and saw marked improvement in his blood levels by simply cutting meat and processed foods out of two of his three daily meals. But the simple truth, as he points out, is that as long as you eat more vegetables and whole grains, the result will be better health for you and for the world in which we live.

Unlike most things that are virtuous and healthful, Bittman's plan doesn't involve sacrifice. From Spinach and Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing to Breakfast Bread Pudding, the recipes in Food Matters are flavorful and sophisticated. A month's worth of meal plans shows you how Bittman chooses to eat and offers proof of how satisfying a mindful and responsible diet can be. Cheaper, healthier, and socially sound, Food Matters represents the future of American eating.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cookbook author Bittman (How to Cook Everything) offers this no-nonsense volume loaded with compelling information about how the food we eat is doing damage to the environment, what changes to make and why. Authors have covered this topic before (Michael Pollan, for example, in The Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food), but Bittman takes a practical turn by concluding with 77 recipes that make earth-friendly eating doable and appealing. His collection of reliable recipes even includes such meat dishes as Thai beef salad, which isnt meat-heavy, but rather has just the right balance of meat to greens. There are also such staples as super-simple mixed rice; chicken not pie; and modern bouillabaisse. Bittman decries consumption of over-refined carbohydrates, but doesnt leave off without some sweets, including chocolate semolina pudding and nutty oatmeal cookies—suggesting, as the whole book does, that a diet in synch with the needs of the earth doesnt result in a sense of utter deprivation. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Only America could produce a Mark Bittman. One moment, he’s traversing Spain on public television with celebrities in tow, peddling the newest fad in high-end dining and drooling over prodigious quantities of savory food in tight closeup. The next moment he’s promoting minimalist cooking. Now he reports his own passionate belief in agricultural sustainability and slow food, and he touts a new diet that not only offers guilt-free pleasure but also makes Americans look as good as the beautiful people he hangs out with. His prescription: become aware of where food comes from; choose foods intelligently; pay attention to broad, inclusive nutritional principles; balance intake and exercise; snack judiciously; and make sure that whatever one eats, it’s as attractive to the palate as it is to the waistline. Bittman’s fame will generate lots of attention, and his commonsense advice, while not new, bears the hallmarks of contemporary nutritional wisdom. Recipes included. --Mark Knoblauch

Product Details

  • File Size: 2300 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1416575642
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,542 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
149 of 155 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mark Bittman's Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating is a guidebook for the typical American eating the typical American diet--heavy laden with meat, animal products, and processed foods. This typical American diet, Bittman points out, is calorie-dense, harmful to the atmosphere, taxing on global resources, and unhealthy. Bittman easily mixes scientific research with his own personal account of needing to lose weight due to high cholesterol and sleep apnea and shows that shifting his diet by emphasizing vegetables, legumes, and beans over meats and processed food helped him reach his weight and health goals without resorting to rigid dieting and calorie-counting. Let me make it clear here that Bittman is not advocating vegetarianism. He allows himself a little meat during his dinner meal and incorporates some meat in the recipe section of his book.

A food journalist and cook book writer (his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian has been praised by icon Mario Batali) divides his book into two sections. The first section, Food Matters, lays down the reasons we need to shift from meat and processed foods to vegetables, fresh produce, legumes and beans. If you've already read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma or In Defense of Food, this information won't be new to you. But it is a good recap of the incremental way the typical American diet has become unhealthy, burdensome to the environment, and "insane."

I think one area Bittman differs from Pollan is that I see an undercurrent of horror and disgust Bittman feels for the way animals are treated in the farming industry. While not embracing vegetarianism, Bittman wants to lower the demand of animal products (sadly, he shows world statistics that show that developing countries are actually demanding MORE meat than ever).
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advice and easy to swallow January 1, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Did you know that global livestock production is responsible for about one-fifth of all greenhouse gasses -- MORE THAN TRANSPORTATION? In this concise, well-written book, statistics like that leap off the pages. Here's another one: "If we all ate the equivalent of three fewer cheeseburgers a week, we'd cancel out the effects of ALL THE SUV'S IN THE COUNTRY!"

Mr. Bittman knows how to get one's attention. But he follows these and other startling statistics with calm and rational thinking. Radical is OUT; common sense is IN. His recommendations for change are not based on deprivation. Neither are they faddist nor elitist. Stock your pantry with whole grains, beans, and your refrigerator with washed greens, vegetables and fruit. READ THOSE LABELS when you shop. Avoid hydrogenated anything, MSG, high fructose corn syrup or anything containing an ingredient you've never heard of. Most of us know this; Bittman just has a talent for presenting it concisely and entertainingly.

He knows we are not immune to unhealthy cravings and deals with it intelligently. For example, if you love bacon, "Keep a hunk in the freezer or fridge and use it for seasoning. An ounce goes a long way." And when the flavor of butter is indispensable in a certain dish, think of it as an occasional pleasure -- a little reward for following the essential principles presented in this book for the majority of the time.

The recipes are extremely easy -- familiar to most everyone. But he adds many creative touches; for example: seasoning blends that you can make and store, ready to add a little punch here and there. No insipid, bland, I-hate-this-but-it's-good-for-me nonsense for this gourmet author.

I've already started putting this book into practice.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best January 24, 2009
This is a great book for those who are new to the subject. For us who have already read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, it adds little new. For Bittman fans, what's more disappointing is that it seems to have been ghostwritten. I don't hear any of Bittman's voice in the first half describing the issues. It's written in that prescriptive, snake-oil tone of many diet books, e.g., "I assure you that the logic behind Food Matters is solid.")
The recipes are appealing but contain too many editing errors, like asking for butter in the instructions when there is only oil in the ingredients. This leads me to believe they were converted from previous cookbooks, and hastily so.
Altogether, it's not his best work.
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212 of 247 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing New Here January 5, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been a fan of Bittman's for a few years, reading his Times column and using his How to Cook Everything cookbook on a regular basis. So, I was pretty disappointed to read his new book, Food Matters, and find that there wasn't any new information included, except for his personal weight loss experience (which was a bit lightweight, if you pardon the pun).

The recipes are a bit of a let down as well, so let me say from the start, save your money and buy one of his cookbooks instead. If you are a reasonably well-informed eater, especially someone of the vegetarian or vegan variety, this book is a waste of time for you. However, if you are a big beef eater, you'll probably learn a lot.

I found that his criticisms of the meat industry could have well been backed up by the same of the poultry industry, but he steered quite clear of that.

Overall, the book was very repetitive. Bittman found endless ways to rephrase his point about eating less meat. While he did give a month's worth of meals, he didn't help with the calorie count. It was highly disappointing. It seemed to have been written and edited in a hurry, and just doesn't seem typical of Bittman's work.

Sorry, but I just can't recommend this one of his books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Who doesn't love the Bittman
Who doesn't love the Bittman?! This is the "diet" that all Americans should get on; pronto. I'm adapting to it right now; lots of great advice AND recipes!
Published 1 month ago by Edward J. Guice
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!
So informative and interesting. Mark Bittman wrote this in the perfect way so at not to push but inform.
Published 3 months ago by Erin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thumbs up!
Published 5 months ago by SHERIKA
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
i really liked this book. it was an easy transition to learning more about vegetarianism. a year ago, i was a tried-and-true omnivore.. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Cavewoman15
3.0 out of 5 stars about as expected
Similar to most books of the genre, no more, or less than expected. Added to library with like books.on the subject.
Published 12 months ago by Galen A. Crandall Jr.
2.0 out of 5 stars Quit reading halfway through - it's all repetition
While there is some common sense advice in this book - eat more vegetables, eat less meat and junk food - it's page after page of the same message. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Nonnie Muss
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive
I loved it. It is full of information that is relevant. It is easy to read. I highly recommend it.
Published 14 months ago by Kathycg
5.0 out of 5 stars what a success !!!!
a well written, informative, eye opening book that has inspired me to change my way of eating. the author is humorous at times and humble with respect to his knowledge of the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by susan gagnon
5.0 out of 5 stars Another solid book from Mark Bittman
I have been using MB's cookbooks for many years and really love the direction he has taken. He helps me keep my commitment to whole, home prepared foods with his simple, tasty... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Penelope
5.0 out of 5 stars Food really matters excellent book
This is the Cain of book you will read and understand that we had forget to live a quality life with quality food, how we want to be healthy if we don't help our bodies to consume... Read more
Published 16 months ago by MIGUEL MIRANDA
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More About the Author

Mark Bittman is one of the country's best-known, most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. Bittman writes for the Opinion section of the New York Times on food policy and cooking and is a columnist for the New York Times magazine. He is regularly featured on the Today Show in How To Cook Everything Today cooking segments. For 13 years he wrote "The Minimalist" column and now a "Minimalist" cooking show is featured on the Cooking Channel. The How to Cook Everything series is highly respected: the first edition of the flagship book How to Cook Everything won both the IACP and James Beard Awards, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian won the 2008 IACP award. He is also the author of Food Matters, Food Matters Cookbook, Fish, and Leafy Greens.

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