October 28, 2010

Mark Bittman says "back to basics"

I had the opportunity to meet with Mark Bittman and to talk to him about the efforts at Kaiser Permanente to encourage people to cook fresh foods. He's a journalist, food writer, cookbook author, and good home cook. He is not trained as a chef. He pointed out that his dishes may look more messy than those of culinary friends but they taste just as good. Knife skills? Just sharpen it and use it. His simple message is just get in the kitchen. While there are many people who like to try various recipes and even something a little fancy once in a while, a large number of people basically only eat out or eat packaged and processed foods. He and I agreed a great goal would be to cook something with fresh foods 5 nights a week. But if you don't cook at all now, just get into the kitchen and do it even once a week. We are all at different places on the continuum. Each of us can move, even if only a little, toward a a better future through home cooked food.

He and I discussed what the basics would look like. It could be as simple as knowing a stir fry or two, cooking with beans and/or rice, a vegetable soup, and a salad. Not only can this be healthy and tasty but you are very likely to use only the right amount of salt as well. A lot of unnecessary sodium comes in the processed foods.

So sharpen your chef's knife (I bailed out years ago and got an electric sharpener; when I put air in the tires of my car, that's the reminder to sharpen my chef's knives), check out some easy recipes of his, mine, or anyone else's and get cooking.