January 8, 2009

The Way to Cook

Mark Bittman's recent article in the NYT Dining section was a sustainable cooking guide masquerading as a mere pantry reorganization exercise. If you look closely, as everyone should, you will see that - in the name of ease and simplicity - he encourages home chefs to ditch the packaged and/or prepared ingredients. Out with the spray oil cans, pregrated cheese and bottled salad dressings and in with equally easy alternatives like refillable hand pump oil containers, whole parmesan hunks and quickie homemade salad dressing.

But his most notable suggestions (if you're paying attention) involve a wholesale abandonment of canned goods. Though he never mentions it - and lest we forget - almost all food and drink cans are lined with a resin made with bisphenol-A, which has all but been confirmed as dangerous even in tiny doses. It's to the point that the feds are finally admitting the stuff may really be bad for you. Bittman, meanwhile, offers quick alternatives to using things like canned beans, vegetables and tomato paste, along with tips for getting the most out of his zippy preparations. They don't call him "The Minimalist" for nothing. The whole article is a must-read.

This isn't the first time that Bittman has quietly pushed sustainable eating. Back in June, he wrote an article on eating less meat that was long on useful cooking advice and short on meatless dogma. And I'm not saying this in a conspiratorial vein at all. I'm just glad when this sort of advice comes from a well-known chef (or at least a mainstream food writer) and makes the front page of the Dining section of the New York Times.

Photo by Francesco Tonelli for The New York Times

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