NYTimes: Marc Bittman says you don't really need the expensive kitchen stuff

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Thanks for telling me now, eight months after my wedding:


May 9, 2007
The Minimalist
A No-Frills Kitchen Still Cooks

THE question I’m asked more often than any other is, “What kitchen equipment should I buy?”

Like cookbooks, kitchen equipment is a talisman; people believe that buying the right kind will make them good cooks. Yet some of the best cooks I’ve known worked with a battered batterie de cuisine: dented pots and pans scarred beyond recognition, an old steak knife turned into an all-purpose tool, a pot lid held just so to strain pasta when the colander was missing, a food processor with a busted switch. They didn’t complain and they didn’t apologize; they just cooked.

But famous TV chefs use gorgeous name-brand equipment, you might say. And you’d be right. But a.) they get much of that stuff free, the manufacturers hoping that placing it in the hands of a well-known chef will make you think it’s essential; b.) they want their equipment to be pretty, so you’ll think they’re important; and c.) see above: a costly knife is not a talisman and you are not a TV chef.

Finally (and this is crucial), the best chefs may use the best-looking equipment when they are in public view, but when it is time to buy equipment for the people who actually prepare those $200 restaurant meals, they go to a restaurant supply house to shop for the everyday cookware I recommend to people all the time.

In fact, I contend that with a bit of savvy, patience and a willingness to forgo steel-handle knives, copper pots and other extravagant items, $200 can equip a basic kitchen that will be adequate for just about any task, and $300 can equip one quite well.

To prove my point I put together a list of everything needed for almost any cooking task. I bought most of the equipment at Bowery Restaurant Supply, 183 Bowery Street (Delancey Street), where the bill came to just about $200. Throw in a few items the store didn’t have and a few extras, and the total would be about $300. (New York happens to have scores of restaurant supply shops, but every metropolitan area has at least one.)

I started with an eight-inch, plastic-handle stainless alloy chef’s knife for $10. This is probably the most essential tool in the kitchen. People not only obsess about knives (and write entire articles about them), but you can easily spend over $100 on just one. Yet go into any restaurant kitchen and you will see most of the cooks using this same plastic-handle Dexter-Russell tool. (Go to the wrong store and you’ll spend $20 or even $30 on the same knife.)

I found an instant-read thermometer, a necessity for beginning cooks and obsessive-compulsives, for $5. Three stainless steel bowls — not gorgeous and maybe a little thin — set me back about $5. You are reading that right. Sturdy tongs, an underappreciated tool: $3.50 (don’t buy them too long, make sure the spring is nice and tight, and don’t shop for them at a “culinary” store, where they’ll cost four times as much).

For less than $6 I picked up a sturdy sheet pan. It’s not an ideal cookie sheet but it’s useful for roasting and baking (not a bad tray, either, and one of the more common items in restaurant kitchens). A plastic cutting board was about the same price. For aesthetic purposes I’d rather have wood, but plastic can go into the dishwasher.

At $3, a paring knife was so cheap I could replace it every year or two. I splurged on a Japanese mandoline for $25. (It’s not indispensable, but since my knife skills are pathetic, I use mine whenever I want thin, even slices or a real julienne.)

You, or the college graduate you are thinking of, might own some of the things I bought: a $4 can opener; a vegetable peeler (I like the U-shaped type, which cost me $3); a colander ($7, and I probably could’ve gotten one cheaper).

You are thinking to yourself: “Humph. He’s ignoring pots and pans, the most expensive items of all.” Au contraire, my friend; I bought five, and I could live with four (though I’d rather have six): a small, medium and large cast-aluminum saucepan (total: about $30); a medium nonstick cast aluminum pan (10-inch; $13); and a large steep-sided, heavier duty steel pan (14-inch; $25). I bought a single lid ($5; I often use plates or whatever’s handy for lids because I can never find the right one anyway).

I like cast iron, and I have used it in some kitchens for nearly everything; but it can be more expensive than this quite decent cheap stuff, and it’s very heavy. What you don’t want is the awful wafer thin (and relatively more expensive) sets of stainless or aluminum ones sold in big-box stores.

Other things, like the mandoline, are almost luxury items: a skimmer (I like these for removing dumplings or gnocchi); a slotted spoon; a heat-resistant rubber spatula (which can replace the classic wooden spoon); a bread knife (good for crusty loaves and ripe tomatoes); and a big whisk (which I might use three times a year).

You should also have a food processor (you want 12-cup capacity, and Amazon.com, for example, has an adequate 14-cup Hamilton Beach for $60); a salad spinner (the one at Bowery Restaurant Supply was as big as my kitchen; you will find one for $15 somewhere); a Microplane grater (the old box graters have been largely replaced by the food processor, but you’ll need something for cheese, nutmeg and your oft-used asafetida; it’ll set you back less than $10). A coffee and spice grinder is another $10 item.

A blender is a bit more optional. An immersion one is nice, but standard ones are more useful, and you can find them for as little as $15.

And, finally, something with which to keep those knives sharp. A whetstone costs about $6, and if you use it, it will work fine; a decent steel is expensive enough that you may as well graduate to an electric sharpener. Though sharpeners take up counter space and cost at least $30, they work well.

The point is not so much that you can equip a real kitchen without much money, but that the fear of buying the wrong kind of equipment is unfounded. It needs only to be functional, not prestigious, lavish or expensive.

Keep that in mind, stay out of the fancy places and find a good restaurant supply house. If you make a mistake — something is the wrong size or of such lousy quality you can’t bear it — you can spend 20 bucks more another time. Meanwhile, you’ll be cooking.

The Inessentials

YOU can live without these 10 kitchen items:

BREAD MACHINE You can buy mediocre bread easily enough, or make the real thing without much practice.

MICROWAVE If you do a lot of reheating or fast (and damaging) defrosting, you may want one. But essential? No. And think about that counter space!

STAND MIXER Unless you’re a baking fanatic, it takes up too much room to justify it. A good whisk or a crummy handheld mixer will do fine.

BONING/FILLETING KNIVES Really? You’re a butcher now? Or a fishmonger? If so, go ahead, by all means. But I haven’t used my boning knife in years. (It’s pretty, though.)

WOK Counterproductive without a good wok station equipped with a high-B.T.U. burner. (There’s a nice setup at Bowery Restaurant Supply for $1,400 if you have the cash and the space.)

STOCKPOT The pot you use for boiling pasta will suffice, until you start making gallons of stock at a time.

PRESSURE COOKER It’s useful, but do you need one? No.

ANYTHING MADE OF COPPER More trouble than it’s worth, unless you have a pine-paneled wall you want to decorate.

RICE COOKER Yes, if you eat rice twice daily. Otherwise, no.

COUNTERTOP CONVECTION OVEN, ROTISSERIE, OR “ROASTER” Only if you’re a sucker for late-night cooking infomercials.

Hurting 2, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 18:14 (fifteen years ago) link

Mr. Jaq brought a bread machine when we combined households. I tried it once, thinking it would be wonderful to wake up to hot bread already made for breakfast. The thing growled through the night in agony and finally cast itself onto the floor in a futile attempt to end its tragic existence. I tried it once more, during daylight hours and fully supervised. The loaf smelled lovely but was a knotted doughy mass of inedibleness. We sold it in a garage sale the next year.

We're really a gadget-mad species. But I still don't have a food processor.

Jaq, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 18:49 (fifteen years ago) link

I feel vindicated by his dismissal of the microwave - I always argue that point with my wife. I hate microwaves

Hurting 2, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 18:57 (fifteen years ago) link

Our microwave is used almost exclusively to reheat tea.

Jaq, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 19:08 (fifteen years ago) link

YOU can live without these 10 kitchen items: BREAD MACHINE

Heh. I have one. Used it a lot but stopped after a few months. It isn't the bread machine itself that is the problem but.. HOW DO I MAKE THINK SLICES. :-( I'll probably try to use it for making pizza dough soon.

stevienixed, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 20:24 (fifteen years ago) link

think slices? if only!

stevienixed, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 20:24 (fifteen years ago) link

For me, it's just so much easier to use my hands. Also, it's like therapy somehow - you start working this messy sticky rough dough with some angry energy and by the time it's pliant and smooth and alive under your hands, you're not so worked up any more.

Jaq, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 20:29 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm too *pooped* to work my hands in the evening. I prefer to zonk out in front of the telly with knitting in my hands. :-)

stevienixed, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 20:30 (fifteen years ago) link

My Mum uses her pressure cooker all the time! In fact, she uses it to make stock (she doesn't have a stock pot).

Madchen, Thursday, 10 May 2007 12:56 (fifteen years ago) link

I do wish I had read this before I got married - I would have put mainly non-kitchen stuff on the registry and then just taken Bittman's shopping list to the exact restaurant supply store he mentions.

Hurting 2, Thursday, 10 May 2007 13:44 (fifteen years ago) link

I think his list is good, but it does depend on what kind of cook you are. I do make gallons of stock, and I love to bake, so the stockpot and stand mixer are some of my essentials. I'm happy enough with my knife skills to not really want a mandoline. We have a regular blender that never gets used, but the immersion blender is pressed into service fairly regularly. The idea of flexible uses for things (plates as lids, combination roasting pan/cookie sheet) is my modus operandi. Single purpose items are my bane (with the exception of the corkscrew).

Jaq, Thursday, 10 May 2007 15:50 (fifteen years ago) link

There are long periods where my corkscrew gets more use than the can opener, that's for sure.

Laurel, Thursday, 10 May 2007 21:51 (fifteen years ago) link

One kitchen device that really irritates me is the blender with like 10-20 speed settings - almost none of which you will ever use. We put a regular two-speed bar blender on our registry (it's more powerful and better and not that expensive) but instead someone got us this stupid 10 speed blender with a weaker motor.

Hurting 2, Friday, 11 May 2007 05:11 (fifteen years ago) link

A corkscrew with a bottle-opener incorporated into the design is a helpful double-use item I find.

Madchen, Friday, 11 May 2007 12:36 (fifteen years ago) link

Worst thing ever = those Rabbit corkscrews. 6/10 times it pushes the cork into the bottle. The little man corkscrews (with the arms and the bottle-opener head) are much better.

Hurting 2, Friday, 11 May 2007 14:43 (fifteen years ago) link

i love having a microwave. ours gets loads of use since we have leftovers several times a week, plus i love to steam vegetables in it. we've got it on top of a little auxiliary cabinet, so it doesn't waste counter space. i also disagree with him about the rice cooker, but i think i probably cook rice (and dumplings and chinese sausage etc) more often than the average person.

xpost - a "little man" corkscrew is an essential for me.

lauren, Friday, 11 May 2007 14:45 (fifteen years ago) link

I pretty much agree with him on the rice cooker, but I've gotten to where I can cook good rice that doesn't stick even in a stainless steel saucepan.

I agree with him on the bread machine, boning/filleting knives, wok (TOTAL agreement unless there's a high-BTU burner), pressure cooker, copper and rotisserie. (We just moved our Ron Popeil extravaganza into a closet.) Disagree with him on microwave, stand mixer and stockpot. I guess I kind of agree with him on the stockpot, but like Jaq I do make gallons of stock.

Rock Hardy, Friday, 11 May 2007 16:54 (fifteen years ago) link

Screwpull corkscrew for me. The corkscrew is engineering's greatest contribution to mankind's happiness, imo - and it evolved from a gun tool. I have a great bottle opener that is made from old bike parts, so it is also ART.

Jaq, Friday, 11 May 2007 17:22 (fifteen years ago) link

The little man corkscrews (with the arms and the bottle-opener head) are much better.

My friends in France call these Charles de Gaulle corkscrews because they look like him speechifying.

Madchen, Saturday, 12 May 2007 08:05 (fifteen years ago) link

That's great!

G00blar, Saturday, 12 May 2007 23:34 (fifteen years ago) link

I call them the "european lady" kind, because she has hairy armpits.

In my defense, I was maybe 10 or 11 when I came up with that.

I use my microwave only for melting butter. And... if you smelled it, you'd guess that.

Obviously I am really happy about my standing mixer though.

Casuistry, Monday, 14 May 2007 20:18 (fifteen years ago) link

I'd love to get rid of my microwave, but even though I only use it for a few things (defrosting veggie burgers, making popcorn, melting butter, melting cheese for snackz) I think I'd miss it.

Jordan, Tuesday, 15 May 2007 20:30 (fifteen years ago) link

I love my microwave. I use it every day. While it's possible to heat and reheat things in pans, it's very handy to be able to reheat a whole meal on one plate.

As far as corkscrews, the double-hinged variety is the only way to go.


The rabbit is great if you're a bartender and you're opening a couple dozen bottles a night, and in a hurry, but really it's not that hard or time-consuming to just use this guy.

The double-hinged part makes all the difference in the world; the notch closer to the axis gets the first half of the cork out, and then the more distant notch takes it home. I've seen some really expensive and gorgeous single-hinged ones, but I wouldn't ever consider trading.

Jesse, Thursday, 17 May 2007 05:56 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh hmm, wait, maybe the one we got isn't actually a gen-u-wine rabbit, but merely a cheap knockoff, hence the faulty construction that leads to pushed corks.

Hurting 2, Friday, 18 May 2007 04:44 (fifteen years ago) link

Ah yes, it's this one, which is about 1/3 the price:


Hurting 2, Friday, 18 May 2007 04:51 (fifteen years ago) link

I have a friend who says he can't cook without a posh knife. Really don't get it. Mine cost 5 quid for a set from Birmingham rag market, about 10 years ago. Still working okay. Anyway, pressing down HARD on everything to make the bloody things go through is GOOD EXERCISE.

I have two woks, very rarely used. Kept them because I thought there was some sort of secret advantage to them that I just didn't understand - also because they were presents so I felt guilty about getting rid. Are you meant to be able to do anything with them apart from stir-fries? Anyone ever tried to sell a wok on e-bay??

hobart paving, Saturday, 19 May 2007 10:27 (fifteen years ago) link

I would sort of like a bread machine, though.

hobart paving, Saturday, 19 May 2007 10:27 (fifteen years ago) link

three months pass...

I finally got a food processor! Well, a little one. pesto!pesto!pesto!pesto!pesto!pesto!

Jaq, Wednesday, 22 August 2007 15:55 (fourteen years ago) link

oh nice, i'm going to bowery kitchen supply! i always thought those stores were mostly professional/restaurant equipment...

bell_labs, Wednesday, 22 August 2007 20:39 (fourteen years ago) link

two years pass...

Bittman has new column in Cooking Light and also How to Cook Everything iphone app! ($1.99, contains all recipes in the book and menu ideas generator thing?)

I was about to cancel my CL subscription, but I may have changed my mind. (even though his first column was a bit choir-preachy and featured a "almost meatless sloppy joe". i'm on board with the almost-meatless concept but i don't much care for sloppy joes. never have, really. mostly i like that magazine for the pictures and ideas, but the latter is getting pretty stale these days. less 'comfort food' and NO makeup tips pls.

anyway. this is the only bittman thread i found, so here is this news.

an outlet to express the dark invocations of (La Lechera), Monday, 19 April 2010 14:19 (twelve years ago) link

word, may check out that iphone app

call all destroyer, Monday, 19 April 2010 14:59 (twelve years ago) link

two months pass...

I bought an induction burner; I'm addicted to technology, I think. It's pretty magical and amazing, though picky about what pans it will work with.

Jaq, Friday, 16 July 2010 16:55 (twelve years ago) link

I was looking into them and it seems they are superior to other methods in almost every way. they even make them with convex indentations so you can use them with woks.

like a ◴ ◷ ◶ (dyao), Friday, 16 July 2010 16:57 (twelve years ago) link

yeah my mum has an induction hob, she says that as long as a magnet will stick to the pan then it will work on the stove?

just sayin, Friday, 16 July 2010 16:58 (twelve years ago) link

That's true about the magnet.

Jaq, Friday, 16 July 2010 16:59 (twelve years ago) link

All my cast iron pans work, and the stainless Kitchenaid bowl, but none of my other stainless ones are magnetic.

Jaq, Friday, 16 July 2010 17:03 (twelve years ago) link

six months pass...

The Minimalist wraps up:


Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 26 January 2011 17:14 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

I am so over this condescending clown. And I used to love him. Posted yesterday:

Regulating Our Sugar Habit

Mark Bittman on food and all things related.
When Ronda Storms, a Republican state senator in Florida, is accused of nanny-state-ism for her efforts on behalf of a sane diet, it’s worth noting. When she introduced a bill to prevent people in Florida from spending food stamps on unhealthy items like candy, chips and soda, she broke ranks: few of her party have taken on Big Food. And as someone who has called for the defunding of an educational Planned Parenthood program and banning library book displays supporting Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, she is hardly in her party’s left wing. Not surprisingly, she’s faced criticism from every corner: Democrats think she’s attacking poor people, and Republicans see Michelle Obama. Soon after Storms proposed the bill, she told me, “Coca-Cola and Kraft were in my office” hating it.

Yet she makes sense. “It’s just bad public policy to allow unfettered access to all kinds of food,” she told me over the phone. “Why should we cut all of these programs and continue to pay for people to use food stamps to buy potato chips, Oreos and Mountain Dew? The goal is to feed good food to hungry people.”

To some, dictating what recipients of benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can eat seems unfair. But when the program began in 1939 it aimed both to feed the unemployed and to aid farm recovery. Participants received $1.50 in stamps for every cash dollar spent, 50 cents of which was designated for purchase of agricultural surplus. That’s already a directive on spending, but perhaps more important is that nearly three-quarters of a century ago almost the only thing you could buy — with or without regulation — was real food. Since then Big Food has moved our diet in the wrong direction, and now we have a surplus of empty calories.

The argument for limiting the use of food stamps to actual food is consistent with established policy. They’re already disallowed for tobacco, alcohol,vitamins, pet foods, household supplies and (with some exceptions) food meant to be eaten on premises. Payments have been based on the cost of a “nutritionally adequate diet.”

Let me state the obvious: there is no nutritional need for foods with added sugar.

All of this is part of the bigger question: How do we regulate the consumption of dangerous foods? As a nation, we’ve accepted the need to limit the marketing and availability of tobacco and alcohol. The first is dangerous in any quantity, and the second becomes dangerous when overconsumed.

And added sweeteners, experts increasingly argue, have more in common with these substances than with fruit. In a recent paper in Nature, Robert H. Lustig, Laura A. Schmidt and Claire D. Brindis remind us that for the first time, chronic diseases pose a greater health threat than infectious ones, and of the three main risk factors for chronic diseases — alcohol, tobacco and diet — two are regulated and one is not.

The authors specifically target “any sweetener containing the molecule fructose (which makes sugar sweet) that is added to food in processing” as the key problem in our current diet, and correlate the rise in consumption of sugar with a rise in disease, listing the many ways in which sugar’s effects on the body are similar to those of alcohol. Their contention is that sugar is hardly “an empty calorie,” but rather an actively harmful one: “Fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic metabolic diseases.”

Added sugar is not the only dangerous food. But unlike animal products, for example, which we also overconsume, it has no benefits. Yet we down it at the rate of 150 pounds per person per year, and while scientists argue whether it is addictive in humans (it meets the criteria for addiction in animals), it is most certainly habit-forming. Lustig and his co-authors suggest that actions like imposing taxes on added sugar or establishing a minimum age for purchase of sodas (they mention 17 in their paper) would reduce consumption.

The question “Is this necessary?” is unavoidable. But as obesity and its consequences ravage our health care system, we struggle not only with our own diets but also with preventing our children from falling into the same traps. Last year a brigade of parents stood watch outside a corner store in North Philadelphia in an attempt to prevent their kids from buying junk food.

They’ve been called foot soldiers, but you might call them vigilantes. Vigilantism occurs when people believe the government isn’t doing its job. We need the government on our side. It must acknowledge the dangers caused by the most unhealthy aspects of our diet and figure out how to help us cope with them, because this is the biggest public health challenge facing the developed world.

a serious minestrone rockist (remy bean), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:08 (ten years ago) link

i'd be v. curious to see the data (or lack thereof) behind these proposals--i.e. how ppl actually use food stamps

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:14 (ten years ago) link

Yah. I'm sure most SNAP recipients "abuse" their benefits according to the noblesse who are oblige-ing them with "nutritionally adequate" payments amounting to a monthly pittance. The issue isn't with poor people eating poorly, it's with everybody eating poorly. At any rate, so much for bake sales.

a serious minestrone rockist (remy bean), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:20 (ten years ago) link

Things I'm kinda fascist-y about: Storms and Bittman otm.

Steamtable Willie (WmC), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:39 (ten years ago) link

I won't send you the cookies I made, either.

a serious minestrone rockist (remy bean), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:43 (ten years ago) link

I need you to keep them from me, I'm fat as a freaking hog.

Steamtable Willie (WmC), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:45 (ten years ago) link

I have no problem w that proposal.

simulation and similac (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:52 (ten years ago) link

The argument for limiting the use of food stamps to actual food is consistent with established policy. They’re already disallowed for tobacco, alcohol,vitamins, pet foods, household supplies and (with some exceptions) food meant to be eaten on premises. Payments have been based on the cost of a “nutritionally adequate diet.”

uh yeah, the 'established policy of food stamps is that they should be for food'. if you want to establish a policy where they can only be used for some food, they should be called 'foods-I-think-are-okay stamps'

iatee, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:55 (ten years ago) link

I already got into this in some other thread the answer to every problem is to just give poor people wads of cash

iatee, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:55 (ten years ago) link

whether or not we should make it harder to buy sugary foods should have nothing to do w/ poor people in particular

iatee, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:56 (ten years ago) link


40oz of tears (Jordan), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:57 (ten years ago) link

if you limited food stamps to foods that don't contain added sugar, probably the only food people could buy with food stamps are cardboard and shredded newspaper

flagp∞st (dayo), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 20:21 (ten years ago) link

one year passes...

ok even i officially can't stand this guy
1) mark bittman -- you do not own the concept of "healthy sensible eating"
2) anyone who names his own diet and tries to sell it to people is an asshole

i appreciate that he is trying to help people and i understand that what he's selling is good -- i just object to the commodification of eating practices in general. yuck.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Monday, 29 April 2013 13:36 (nine years ago) link

almond unen-joy

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 21:21 (nine years ago) link

oh hey like every issue bon appetit has a feature on some restaurant in some stupidly far-flung part of the world (well, far-flung if you are american). like, some place in darkest fucking sweden or, this month, some dude cooking with flowers in a strip mall outside of melbourne. every one of these articles is a hilarious and transparently desperate bid to "discover" the next rene redzepi or adria or whoever.

i read this and then i go lie down and read elizabeth david until sanity returns.

adam, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 22:14 (nine years ago) link

mark bittman says
who the hell cares what mark bittman says anymore?
that's what i want to know at this point

i bought some ocean perch at the store yesterday with the intention of doing something lemon-buttery with garlic and dill, and i consulted his book Fish (that's the kind of book title I appreciate), which confirmed what i thought i should do and gave me a few other ideas for next time i want to eat this (very delicious, inexpensive, and tender) fish. It didn't have a stupid name and claim to elongate my life. It just told me how to make the fish in a variety of ways. RIP that mark bittman :(

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Monday, 13 May 2013 13:33 (nine years ago) link

can you give me an example of the new bittman article

乒乓, Monday, 13 May 2013 13:36 (nine years ago) link

i mean, an article written by the new bittman

乒乓, Monday, 13 May 2013 13:36 (nine years ago) link

he is selling a diet book with a special name that he claims is "his" diet -- isn't that enough?

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Monday, 13 May 2013 14:05 (nine years ago) link

doesn't really raise any red flags for me

乒乓, Monday, 13 May 2013 14:06 (nine years ago) link

yeah see i guess i feel that's gross -- i can stand personal branding! it grosses me out.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Monday, 13 May 2013 14:10 (nine years ago) link

i meant can't
my outrage (i'm not really that outraged) has made me typo crazy

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Monday, 13 May 2013 14:12 (nine years ago) link

i guess because i believe in his general philosophies w/r/t food i don't mind that he's building his personal brand

乒乓, Monday, 13 May 2013 14:28 (nine years ago) link

i agree with him and i still think it's gross
he has become a pontificator, and i preferred him as an educator. i realize it's a fine line, but still somehow in my mind he has crossed it

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Monday, 13 May 2013 14:34 (nine years ago) link

that's probably true but i think the enemies on the other side of the line (corporate food laboratories and taste labs and advertising and etc. etc. etc.) are so numerous, that....

乒乓, Monday, 13 May 2013 14:36 (nine years ago) link

you're totally right -- i realize not everyone would feel the same way
cooking is a basic life skill, imo, and treating it like a program/commodifying it is kind of antithetical to that
again, imo
what could a businessman ever want more, etc. i'm a product of my times! it's inescapable.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Monday, 13 May 2013 14:39 (nine years ago) link

How to Cook Everything was the first cookbook that made me feel like I could actually succeed at cooking, and it opened me up to a lot of foods -- it's like the ipad/iphone of cooking in terms of user-friendliness compared to most of the other available stuff, at least when it came out.

THIS IS NOT A BENGHAZI T-SHIRT (Hurting 2), Monday, 13 May 2013 16:41 (nine years ago) link

I mean, it's not like Julia Child wasn't heavy into personal branding, there just wasn't that term for it yet.

THIS IS NOT A BENGHAZI T-SHIRT (Hurting 2), Monday, 13 May 2013 16:42 (nine years ago) link

Oh hell no you are not equating MB and JC!

quincie, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:07 (nine years ago) link

Rachel Ray or Paula Deen, yes. But not Julia Child.

Jaq, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:15 (nine years ago) link

I hate Bittman too.

Jeff, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:19 (nine years ago) link

I'm trying to imagine Julia Child or James Beard "branding" stuff and failing. Links required for proof. The only similar thing I recall from that era is Graham Kerr's spurtle.

Jaq, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:20 (nine years ago) link

i do kind of avoid reading bittman's stuff now that he's less of a cooking writer. not having those weekly minimalist columns let him wander too far into dr. oz land. i still like his videos when he does them.

circles, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:40 (nine years ago) link

His minimalist stuff is great; the title of his new "work" has made him my enemy 4evah

quincie, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:53 (nine years ago) link

Like I will not even type it out here because it makes me spit.

quincie, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:53 (nine years ago) link

I'm trying to imagine Julia Child or James Beard "branding" stuff and failing. Links required for proof. The only similar thing I recall from that era is Graham Kerr's spurtle.

― Jaq, Monday, May 13, 2013 11:20 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

it seems kind of naive to think that a chef with a long-running television series and a number of bestselling cookbooks with her name directly in the title is not engaging in branding

THIS IS NOT A BENGHAZI T-SHIRT (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:56 (nine years ago) link

A cookbook or tv show is not a line of cookware, patented spices, tableware, appliances, or "must-have" utensils.

Jaq, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:59 (nine years ago) link

Yeah but the ". . . lose weight in X days" uuuuuuugh fuck that dude.

quincie, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 04:02 (nine years ago) link

A cookbook or tv show is not a line of cookware, patented spices, tableware, appliances, or "must-have" utensils.

― Jaq, Monday, May 13, 2013 11:59 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Bittman has these things?

THIS IS NOT A BENGHAZI T-SHIRT (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 14 May 2013 04:04 (nine years ago) link

The Dr. Oz relationship is omg u dead to me dood

quincie, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 04:05 (nine years ago) link

Telling me how to cook something is so very different from telling me what to eat. I'll stick with Harold McGee for now.

Jaq, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 04:28 (nine years ago) link

It's only a matter of time before Bittman has a line of supplements.

Jaq, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 04:31 (nine years ago) link

Or he jumps on to homeopathy.

Jeff, Tuesday, 14 May 2013 11:40 (nine years ago) link

i'd like to know why no one (no public figure at least) seems to be satisfied/gratified by simply teaching people how to cook
that's what he used to do really well, and in a way that wasn't insulting
i no longer care what he says about anything because he's a pontificating weight loss salesman instead of a teacher

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Tuesday, 14 May 2013 12:20 (nine years ago) link

five months pass...

Mark Bittman's fearmongering is starting to remind me of Glenn Beck -- what's wrong with this guy?

sweat pea (La Lechera), Thursday, 17 October 2013 19:55 (eight years ago) link

He's the worst and I hate myself every time I'm baited into clicking one of his articles.

Jeff, Thursday, 17 October 2013 19:58 (eight years ago) link

What now? I haven't been paying attention.

Jaq, Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:00 (eight years ago) link

Chicken. Fucking chicken.

quincie, Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:01 (eight years ago) link


quincie, Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:01 (eight years ago) link

It's just that he's always Mr Everything Is Killing Us and it's really tiresome! I understand that there are battles to be fought, but at this point it just seems like he is riling people up for the hell of it.
I'm bored/somewhat affronted by activism of this nature, I guess.

sweat pea (La Lechera), Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:03 (eight years ago) link

It really is a shame, because his mac and cheese recipe walked the spouse through making his very first roux, and it all came out great and delicious, and he (spouse) felt very happy and accomplished and no longer intimidated by roux/cheese sauce that isn't microwaved Velveeta.

quincie, Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:05 (eight years ago) link

He's definitely not a teacher anymore. He's a pontificator, and the worst kind! Blech.

sweat pea (La Lechera), Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:06 (eight years ago) link

Like, "being angry about Monsanto" is not a pastime, and I think he is feeding some people's hunger for outrage-as-pastime, which is both boring and offensive imo.

sweat pea (La Lechera), Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:19 (eight years ago) link

He could be teaching people to feed themselves and their families.

sweat pea (La Lechera), Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:20 (eight years ago) link

Which he used to be so good at doing! And I really don't understand why the NYT feels they need a sub-Michael Pollan pontificator when they already have Michael Pollan pontificating.

quincie, Thursday, 17 October 2013 21:09 (eight years ago) link

Ugh. Thx for the update, what a shame.

Jaq, Thursday, 17 October 2013 22:00 (eight years ago) link

chicken is awesome, buzz off bittman

call all destroyer, Thursday, 17 October 2013 22:04 (eight years ago) link

What if chicken blood gets on my lettuce in a shopping bag? What if someone else’s chicken contaminates my apples on a supermarket conveyor belt?

then you're a dummy

call all destroyer, Thursday, 17 October 2013 22:06 (eight years ago) link

I don't mind his cookbook but I'll be damned if I choose to read his ideas about food policy.

mh, Thursday, 17 October 2013 22:08 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

file under 'nope'

Op-Ed | Mark Bittman
Years Ending in 4

Disaster has been well represented in years ending in “4,” but probably not disproportionately so. Does history give us reason to be optimistic about 2014?

j., Thursday, 2 January 2014 00:03 (eight years ago) link


set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 2 January 2014 00:12 (eight years ago) link

geez louise, what's wrong with him?!

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Thursday, 2 January 2014 00:13 (eight years ago) link

That this man, instead of me, got to spend time with Marcella Hazan in her final weeks is just so wrong!

quincie, Thursday, 2 January 2014 00:14 (eight years ago) link

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