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

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Length: 337 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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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)
  • Publication Date: 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
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,262 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

150 of 156 people found the following review helpful By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 23, 2008
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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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful By B. J. Lewis on 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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212 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Debra Schiff on 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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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By B. Budra on January 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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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