Wednesday, January 26, 2011

mark bettaman

Today marks the end of an era at the Times, with Mark Bittman announcing the conclusion of his weekly column, The Minimalist. Can I say I have read and cooked over 700 columns worth of his work? No. And I can't even say that Bittman taught me how to cook (I mean, I have a mother and a grandmother, y'know?). And well, he hasn't taught me anything about LaMonte Young or Steve Reich, minimalists both.

But did he offer a new perspective on consumption choices? Did he help me understand the process of cooking and eating? Did he encourage me to stop buying things like cake mix, packaged granola and salad dressing in a bottle and instead DIY? Did his columns and cookbook allow me to experiment with things at the vegetable stand that I had never risked buying before? Did I make a white bean soup with collards and brisket just last night out of his Minimalist Cookbook? And did a casual discussion at a bar with a woman about --of all the recipes in the world-- parsley cream sauce, lead me on a new life adventure? Unequivocally yes.

(Incidentally, his parsley cream sauce recipe is one of the few disasters.)