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Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes Paperback – December 29, 2009
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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).Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this book. Excellent explanation of why meat consumption on a national or global scale is not sustainable or reasonable.Published 2 months ago by eliza
All right for people who need to change their eating habits.Published 3 months ago by Chantal Andrews
Fantastic book. Well written. Easy to read. Chock full of fantastic and useful information.Published 11 months ago by uawildcatgrl
An excellent book. If you're remotely concerned about what you eat in todays industrialized food business, you should read this. Read morePublished 11 months ago by helen