Last Friday I had the opportunity to meet New York Times food writer Mark Bittman. I was in a group of about a dozen journalists who sat down with the kitchen guru at a natural food expo in Boston.
Bittman, besides being a cookbook author of “How To Cook Everything,” has recently published “Food Matters,” which includes a one-month food plan based on the guideline that foodies are advocating right now: eat mostly plants and less in general.
Our chat was informal, but one thing in particular stood out to me: He said that his life really changed when he went into the produce section and bought one of everything he saw so he was forced to learn how to cook and enjoy new dishes.
I applied this same spirit when I stopped by a farm stand on the way back from kayaking on the Concord River last weekend. I was eyeing a row of local butternut squash propped up in a rustic wooden crate. I’ve eaten butternut squash many times but I can’t recall ever actually making something from the vegetable that looks more like a dumbbell weight than something edible. With some trepidation, I bought one.
The squash sat for a few days on my kitchen counter quietly mocking my lack of knowledge of what to do with it. I figured if Bittman had gotten me this far he’d probably have a solution. Sure enough, I found this recipe for pasta with butternut squash on his food blog.
It was amazingly simple to make and good!
Oh, and one more thing. Not wanting to repeat my tongue-tied encounter at Michael Pollan’s book signing, at the Bittman chat I tentatively mentioned to the author that I had reviewed “Food Matters” for the Monitor. He very graciously said he had enjoyed my review.
See? There’s no reason to be afraid of strangely shaped vegetables and famous food writers.
(To read more about the conversation with Mark Bittman go here.)