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Book Review: The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman

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The Food Matters Cookbook is the cookbook for people interested in eating more plants while cutting back on animal products, processed food, and junk food. The recipes are creative and tasty. They include meat, poultry, fish, eggs or dairy, however they are not the main part of the meal. There are even a number of vegetarian options.

The author is concerned about global warming and sees a connection between that and industrial livestock. Studies show that about 70% of all the land on earth is devoted to livestock production and generates 18% of our annual greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, Worldwatch has reported that livestock and their by-products may account for as much as 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States alone, we eat almost 10 billion chickens, pigs, cows, and turkeys every single year! Americans consume about 200 pounds of meat per year! That’s twice the national average. Almost one third of our total caloric intake comes from nutrient poor foods like sweets, salty snacks, and fruit drinks (i.e., junk). Soda alone counts for 7% of our total daily caloric intake with donuts, cheeseburgers, pizza, and potato chips not far behind! Geesh no wonder obesity is a problem!

The recipes in The Food Matters Cookbook will help you get a handle on sane eating. You will eat fewer animal products. Eat all the plants you can manage. Make legumes and whole grains part of your life. Avoid processed foods. You can still have treats daily!

The first part of the cookbook talks about cooking and debunks the myth that cooking is hard. It’s not. Cooking is easy. There are no special techniques or equipment necessary to make these meals. Plus there’s a handy flag that alerts you to the recipes that are very fast to make or can be prepared ahead for all those overworked moms out there. You can find everything you need at a regular grocery store — no exotic, strange ingredients necessary. The author also encourages gardening to get the freshest, best tasting produce. He also gives you information on setting up a basic pantry system.

The recipes included are appetizers and snacks; soups; salads and dressings; pasta, noodles, and dumplings; rice and grains; beans; vegetables; bread, pizza, sandwiches and wraps; and desserts and sweets. Don’t let the lack of meat, poultry, fish, egg, dairy, and cheese sections fool you. Many of the recipes contain these ingredients, however they do not devote entire chapters to them. My family definitely contains meat eaters and there’s no way I could get them to totally give it up. However, there are a lot of recipes in here that I’m going to try like the Kimchi Rice with Beef and the Fruity Breakfast Pilaf.

The Food Matters Cookbook is a fantastic cookbook for anyone who is interested in eating more healthy meals. It’s perfect for the beginner but will be enjoyed by even the most accomplished chef because of the variety of creativity of the recipes.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.
  • I absolutely love Mark Bittman’s newest Food Matters cookbook – I cooked over a dozen of the recipes, and while not everything turned out perfectly (in fact the Cauliflower Mac and Cheese was revolting), all in all this book was full of great ideas for healthy eating.

    Happy Eats,

  • We should all be concerned about eating more healthy meals and Mark Bittman’s new book is a great reference for healthy eating. I personally feel that beans and whole grains along with fruits and vegetables should comprise the bulk of what we eat for healthy living. You will some very interesting healthy recipes in Mark’s new book.