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This didn’t get a lot of traction on the political blogs yesterday, but the very excellent Mark Bittman of the New York Times announced that he’s ending the greatest newspaper column ever, “The Minimalist,” which is a column that very quickly shows you how to make pretty much anything, with whatever’s in your fridge and pantry (if you actually buy vegetables and spices now and then).

The best thing about Mark Bittman, to us, is how he validated our particular lifelong half-assed “well that looks pretty good enough” cooking habits. Because we were right, all along! There is no single recipe for anything, and people who obsess over measuring and “having all the ingredients” and everything are, basically, insane people. That is not how you cook to eat, which is the point of cooking: to make a meal you are going to eat, at that point in time.

(Last night, for example, we had some almost-getting-bad tomatoes and a couple of leeks in the fridge and not much else, so we threw those in a baking dish with some herbs and olive oil and garlic cloves and let them roast for an hour while we did whatever, and then we made a pot of penne and saved a quarter cup of the starchy salty pasta water and put that in the blender along with almost all of the roasted tasty things and hit puree and put the remaining whole tomatoes and leek chunks on top of the sauce and it was delicious and it took, seriously, five minutes of hands-on preparation. This is a very Bittman-esque way of doing things, we realized when reading his good-bye column just now.)

Anyway, he is joining the Good Food Rebellion with Michelle Obama and Michael Pollan and the rest of the people who have, at this weird point in American Life, dedicated themselves to trying to get Americans to eat real food grown on real farms and in real gardens and cooked, occasionally, in real American kitchens. Sarah Palin doesn’t like that, of course, but she will topple off a melting iceberg pretty soon, and the autopsy will reveal she was only 35% Taco Bell seasoned ground beef. [Mark Bittman]

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