You know what? Old people who complain never get invited anywhere. People of any age who complain every time you see them pretty much don't get invited anywhere.
Mark Bittman is leaving the minimalist column at the NYT after thirteen years. I think he's a genius of a cook, and proof that a great editor is always a good idea. Rick Flaste, the founder of the dining section, perceived -- no doubt from reading the downscale Woman's Day
magazine -- that women work fulltime jobs and must come home and cook for their children. The previous NYT take on the 20th century needs of their readers had basically been the cock rock gourmet take -- Pierre Franey's 60 Minute Gourmet -- which, while great for food snobs and food scholars and technique freaks and food porn people and knifework heads and Francophiles of the classique yadda, like me, resulted in no actual cooking.
Bittman brought a Mediterranean soul food palate to the enterprise and created new recipes and techniques to get the tuna (with lemon zest and canned canellinis and vinaigrette!) ON THE TABLE. (Here
, his immortal take on 101 summer salads.) His most famous recipe is the no-knead bread, which in his farewell column today he generously credits to its creator Jim Lahey.( Lahey's No-Knead Bread )
He charts his move to less meat for planetary reasons, about which he will be writing on the OpEd page, as well as blogging and doing recipes for the Sunday mag. I was interested the other day to see his three recipes for the planet -- his thoughtful pieces on really using your refrigerator freezer
-- and his pointing out the sacreligious idea that frozen vegetables are way more sustainable than "fresh" ones flown from Peru -- and the broiler
instead of trendy and expensive grills and trophy appliances are typical of what he's calling his populist attitude.
This also includes cooking with others (Franey wouldn't ever think or admit such a thing), learning from them (Jean-Georges' watermelon and tomato salad
, genius, one of his 25 favorites from the 13 years) and then going to the kitchen to think. Braised turkey
, genius.( Bittman's Three Sustainable Recipes for the Planet )
His all time favorite? ( Corn and tomato salad with soy. )
As it happens, I am preparing a cock rock recipe from the strangely snotty Paula Wolfert, one of the big swinging dick cookbook authors, who prefaces every (bumpin'
) recipe with three oleaginous snot grafs, these from the Chickpea, Celery and Porcini Soup with Pecorino Cheese and a Side of Attitude
from her amazingly good and yet snotty Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
, which delectates on a two-day process for hydrating and cooking dried chickpeas in the oven for three planetarily unsustainable fucking hours before you get to use them in the soup. Nobody but kept women has time to do this, raising the cost of these cheap meatless peasant dishes to about $721 an hour (this would be for a cheap kept woman), as Woman's Day
knows. They have somebody working on translating all these delicious whole food Mediterranean flavors to the crockpot
, a real contribution to American health and women's lives. ( Crockpot tagine! )
Two words, Paula. PRESSURE COOKER. (Which as it happens, has solved all my bean cooking problems previously complained of in this space. Cook's Mag tested them and recommends the Fagor Splendid six-quart
, which just cooked my soaked chickpeas in seven, count 'em, seven, minutes. I have garrity
's husband to thank for this life-altering tip.)
Oh Paula, you slow food slut you:This fine recipe employs the same [food porn, three hour bake] cooking method described in the preceding recipe....It was inspired by a soup served at the restaurant Oasis in the mountains of Irpinia....Members of the Fischetti family who run the restaurant.....Papa Generoso gardens and provides fresh vegetables and herbs. When Maria Luisa and Puccio came to the United States to teach at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley....simple yet delicious....authentic flavorful chewy pastas....I was especially inspired and charmed by this one....each proving that long, slow cooking....can result in food one never tires of eating.