Mark Bittman, food and op-ed columnist for the New York Times, and renowned recipe simplifier (if that is a thing), spoke at Carnegie Music Hall on November 7th. His whole thing is simplistic cooking with fresh ingredients that are healthy and environmentally and socially responsible. He spoke about some staggering numbers. For example, American’s diets are 10% vegetable based and 90% other crap. That is scary and makes you wonder how toilet paper companies stay in business.
I guess there are several things I could say about Mark Bittman’s lecture. One being that it made me think about the choices I make on a daily basis. When someone makes you think about parts of your life that could use improvement, it can produce a lot of anxiety. Bittman didn’t do this for me.
He assured us we did not all have to become vegans who only eat organic and local products. Instead, he suggested making small changes once a day, even once a week, moving toward healthier choices for ourselves, the environment, and our fellow human beings. He explained it as seeing our food choices as a spectrum rather than black and white. He says this all because it is realistic. And if 600 out of 1200 people leave your lecture making small changes, it can and does make a difference…and is more realistic, for right now.
I was raised vegetarian. My parents taught us about nutrition, made us try everything, and rarely had junk food in the house. I care about eating healthy and love to cook, but I am human. I have days where I want and even eat like, more than a normal amount of Taco Bell. But hey, I am a vegetarian! I am doing the right thing! I didn’t get the beef!
Wrong. I won’t get into a laundry list of the things I could improve. However, one example is I don’t always make sure the dairy I consume is not coming from an industrial farm. As Bittman said, sometimes these cows are worse off then the ones used for meat because they endure a longer life in horrible conditions. That really made me think.
So this is one thing I am going to try to improve upon to move toward that positive end of the food choices spectrum.
In closing, Here is a present for you, warm chickpea salad. Make it one day when you want Taco Bell.
p.s. I am not a food expert. However, if you would like to hear from one, here is a link to Bittman’s Blog.