The Man In My KitchenOctober 24, 2012
A confession: for the past couple years, I’ve been having a secret love affair. With Mark Bittman. It’s so secret, even Mark Bittman doesn’t know. Mark Bittman writes food and drink articles for the New York Times, and every week, I hustle down my driveway on Sunday morning to see what kind of love letter he’s written me. A few weeks ago, he outdid himself and flirted me up good with an article on 25 ways to cook bacon. Be still my heart, the one soon to be suffering from arteries clogged by 25 ways to cook bacon.
Last summer, he seduced me with a matrix of options for cooking spinach, which pretty much changed my whole entire life. Spinach, chickpeas, coconut milk, and cumin. Spinach, onion, and a fried egg. Spinach, parmesan, garlic. The simplicity, the elegance, … the iron.
What I love about Mark Bittman is that he combines straightforward, easy ingredients in wacky ways. He’s been called “non-cheferly,” and for that quality, I profess my eternal gratitude. When you have three jobs and child to cook for, you need kitchen help from someone who’s non-cheferly but doesn’t feed you from a can. I served the very easy egg-in-a-nest-of-spinach when I hosted dinner for my parents, and I think I could have probably negotiated for unlimited babysitting hours with that dish.
In the more recent 25 Ways article, Mark wrapped whitefish in bacon, my first pick from the Times‘s bacon grid last night, and I think I heard little angels sing when I tasted it. We served it with Mark Bittman spinach, of course. You must cook this dish. No, really. Cook it NOW.
It gets better. Mark Bittman is a runner. His perspective on food and running is as elegant as his writing: “To me, running and cooking are both uncomplicated and essential pleasures that can be enjoyed with minimum equipment and time.” In addition to this approach, his book on conscious eating taps into the Buddhist idea of mindfulness, which resonates deeply with me. As I try to simplify the pleasure I find in sport, cooking, and this whole enterprise of adult living, I feel warm (and hungry) when I read his stuff. In the name of all that is good and tasty, I might have to start a fan club (a fan club that is in no way creepy).
If there could be a way to organize a running and food event with Mark Bittman, I would take it on in a heartbeat. I would call it 25 Miles to Cook Bacon. I suspect it would sell out faster than Boston 2011. The medal would be a kitchen timer, and everyone would get an apron instead of a t-shirt.
Mark Bittman, I think this has potential. Bon appetit.