book review: The “Food Matters” Cookbook

21 Sep

I have been coveting The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living, by Mark Bittman, for a while, and I got it for my birthday. I’ve used it for a few weeks now, so I guess it’s time for my review.

For the most part, I like it. It contains a lot of how-to-cook ideas and bits about technique, in the recipe instructions sections. It’s simple and descriptive. My biggest peeve is that it doesn’t contain pictures, although I can understand why (it’s already a hefty book with just the text). The dishes I’ve made have been good, and it’s given me some great ideas for lunches and breakfasts, which are the hardest for me to keep interesting.

In theory, I’d also like calorie counts, but in practice, these recipes are so flexible that it would be sort of pointless to include those. Bittman’s recipes are basic plans, not prescriptive or fussy blueprints. He includes plenty of choices and variations for almost every recipe. This approach encourages the use of seasonal produce, which I like.

This cookbook is aimed at readers who have read Bittman’s more argumentative book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes. I like both of these books very much, and I recommend them both. If you’re not interested in reading about food, though–you just want the recipes and that’s it–there’s no reason you can’t get the cookbook alone. The basic philosophy is simple, and it’s covered in the cookbook as much as it needs to be in order for you to understand it.


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