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A conversation with Mark Bittman

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A small group of journalists got together with New York Times food writer, Mark Bittman at the recent Natural Foods Expo in Boston. The visit was part of Bittman’s book tour for “Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating.”

It seemed a bit of a contrast to be chatting with Bittman above acres of booths selling products that have been packaged with “organic” or “gluten-free” labels since the kitchen guru thinks the best approach to maintaining a healthy relationship to food is to just start cooking.

“One surefire way to be healthy is to cook your own food – that way you have complete control over what you are eating,” Bittman says.

Yet a key element that Americans seemed to have lost is the natural joy of creating a tasty and interesting meal, Bittman says. Getting people to chop and sautée vegetables instead of flipping channels on the Food Network is proving to be a formidable challenge. How do you make something that people associate with chores look more fun?

“It’s like the Zen of house cleaning,” Bittman says about mastering cooking. “You are learning to do simple tasks and learning to do them well…. How do
you convince people that exercise is fun even though it looks like work?.... It’s the missing key and very hard to do.”

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