You've recently become more involved in food politics. What do you think is the biggest issue that needs to be solved to improve America's food system? I think radically altering the Standard American Diet (yes, it’s SAD) is the most important place to start. Changing the way Americans eat will affect industrialized food production, the healthcare system, even climate change. By eating large quantities of sugar and meat -- on average, Americans each eat more than 150 pounds of meat and poultry a year, something like three times the global average -- and by not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, we’re hurting our hearts, our planet, and our fellow beings.
In your opinion, what's the biggest myth that keeps people from cooking? That cooking is hard, which we know it’s not. In fact, I think most people who take the time to become used to cooking find it a welcome respite from the chaos of their lives. (Am I crazy?) People become intimidated by words like ratatouille or tagine, but they’re both basically one-pot dishes that I guarantee anyone can make. When people buy frozen meals and packaged goods because they think cooking will either be too time consuming or cost too much, they’re throwing their money away. In reality, you’ll end up eating tastier, healthier and cheaper meals if you’re cooking from scratch at home. Obviously not everyone can cook all the time, and it’s easiest if you have a cooperative spouse, or roommate, or kids, or whatever…but it can be done.
It's lunchtime, you've only got 10 minutes to prep a meal, and it's got to be vegan. What do you make? The fast answer is: salad.
But I generally have some kind of extra cooked grain lying around -- like bulgur, quinoa or rice. I often have beans, too. To that I add whatever veggies I have -- frozen edamame, carrots, broccoli, what have you -- and maybe some tofu. Toss that all in a pan with a bit of oil, some soy sauce, maybe some chile flakes, and you have a satisfying meal in under 10 minutes.
Your cookbooks literally teach us how to cook everything -- but what types of cookbooks do you tend to buy for yourself? What types of recipes attract you? Those days are gone for me. I don’t want to get into complicated food, and I don’t really want to hunt around for ingredients. I’m pretty happy with the repertoire I have, actually.
When guests arrive unannounced, what do you make for them? They don’t.
We're giving away 5 downloads of Mark Bittman's Cooking Basics app. To enter, tell us about the best healthy one-pot dish that anyone can make -- we'll pick five winners at random by Friday, June, 28 at 3 PM EST.
The Food52 Vegan Cookbook is here! With this book from Gena Hamshaw, anyone can learn how to eat more plants (and along the way, how to cook with and love cashew cheese, tofu, and nutritional yeast).
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.