Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bittman's Bite


As much as I love staying at home, tapping away on my laptop on the kitchen counter, padding around to warm up some coffee in the microwave, tripping over a Corgi or two on the way there, I sometimes find it instructional to get out of the house once in awhile. Not by attending a class, mind you, but by putting myself in an unfamiliar situation to see what happens.

Like going with a friend who's a dog breeder into the backstage "Best in Show" world of professional dog shows. Or spending a couple of days helping sort grapes at a winery. Or, like last night, attending a book reading/talk at Powell's downtown. Of course, the person doing the talking was Mark Bittman, columnist for the New York Times Dining section, author of several cookbooks and at least one book, Food Matters,about our broken food system.

He presented himself exactly the way he comes across in his writing and his videos—laid back, plainspoken yet thoughtful and funny in an off-the-cuff sort of way. His topic these days is that broken food system and, in his opinion, that people have forgotten how to cook. That in the post-war 50s our food system was taken over by industrialized agriculture, which promoted the idea of modern convenience foods, making "old-fashioned" cooking with simple ingredients look like way more work than it should be.

Part of his solution to the epidemic of obesity and diabetes is to start teaching people how to cook again, using simple ingredients readily available, what he termed "a new CCC—Civilian Cooking Corps." And while he said that some of the changes need to be made on a national level, involving dislodging entrenched interests, he feels many changes can be made on a local level in our own communities.

Granted, none of what he said was new or startling. But the fact that a journalist at his level is championing the cause of good food and health is a positive sign, one that made me glad I ventured outside of my comfort zone.

7 comments:

mydogischelsea said...

I wish I had gone! I've got a nasty cold so I opted for hanging out at home. But it would've been really cool to hear him speak.

LeafandInk.com said...

dropped by from your twitter post to see your blog. Nicely written. Will come by again :+) Subscribed via email. Live here! Love it!
Blessings, Lisa~LeafandInk

kab said...

I was stuffy myself, mydogischelsea, but feeling OK otherwise, so decided to go. (The toddy beforehand helped a bunch!)

Thanks for your kind words, L&Ink, and come back again soon!

Giovanna said...

Thanks for filling me in. I really wish I could have gone...seems as if you're always missing out on something here in Portland!

kab said...

Would have loved to share that toddy with you but you're right, it's tough to decide which great event to attend. (Just take a look at the calendar on the left!)

Kat said...

Hey I thought I saw you! He's so inspiring, but like yes, like he said "I know I'm preaching to choir." Still excited that I got to meet him/interview him, though:)

kab said...

Good for you for getting the interview, Kat. And next time, say hi!