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Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes Paperback – 29 Dec 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 Reprint edition (29 Dec. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416575650
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416575658
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 364,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

This is truly a book whose time has come. Bittman is sensitive, pragmatic and sane as he tackles thorny global ecology issues, all the while this book is simultaneously entertaining, educational and an inspiration to anyone who cares for and about what they eat and where their food comes from

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gary Sage on 4 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is truly a book whose time has come. Bittman is sensitive, pragmatic and sane as he tackles thorny global ecology issues, all the while this book is simultaneously entertaining, educational and an inspiration to anyone who cares for and about what they eat and where their food comes from. If we all heeded Bittman's advice the world could become a better place.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Mar. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Food Matters is a lightweight (pun intended) look at how your eating choices affect the environment, your health, and your weight. Mark Bittman provides familiar arguments in favor of enjoying food choices that don't use as many resources that are also good for you to eat. To underscore the point, he describes how he lost weight by changing to more environmentally friendly choices (fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and relatively little eggs, dairy, fish, chicken, and beef). The book ends with some recipes to help you switch from animal-protein-centered dishes to ones that either have little protein or none. He also teaches you how to prepare and keep masses of vegetable- and fruit-based ingredients ready to go for tasty eating.

As far as this book goes, it's well done . . . but it's just not enough for many people to buy and use the book. Here are some examples of problems with the book:

1. He argues that you shouldn't buy out-of-season fruits and vegetables from halfway around the world because of all energy expended. In many developing countries, out-of-season fruits and vegetables are the way that poor farmers are trying to get out of poverty and use less environmentally damaging methods. Mr. Bittman doesn't differentiate between who is producing the out-of-season fruits and vegetables and how they are produced. In some cases at least, doing the opposite of his advice can be an environmentally friendly decision.

2. He focuses on food-related ways to reduce the carbon footprint without considering how you cook and store the food and that impact on carbon footprint.

3.
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By Yummie1 on 21 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book for those who want to eat healthily and be aware of their affect on the environment. Some ingredients are not staples in my kitchen cupboards but some recipes are brilliant
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 17 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Saw this in Runners World and thought it would be a useful addition to the cook books. The book is a really interesting commentary on food manufacturing and farming. There are recipies which are good and tasty.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 116 reviews
149 of 155 people found the following review helpful
An Appealing Approach to Sane Eating Without Sacrificing Pleasure 23 Dec. 2008
By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mark Bittman's Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating is a guidebook for the typical American eating the typical American diet--heavy laden with meat, animal products, and processed foods. This typical American diet, Bittman points out, is calorie-dense, harmful to the atmosphere, taxing on global resources, and unhealthy. Bittman easily mixes scientific research with his own personal account of needing to lose weight due to high cholesterol and sleep apnea and shows that shifting his diet by emphasizing vegetables, legumes, and beans over meats and processed food helped him reach his weight and health goals without resorting to rigid dieting and calorie-counting. Let me make it clear here that Bittman is not advocating vegetarianism. He allows himself a little meat during his dinner meal and incorporates some meat in the recipe section of his book.

A food journalist and cook book writer (his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian has been praised by icon Mario Batali) divides his book into two sections. The first section, Food Matters, lays down the reasons we need to shift from meat and processed foods to vegetables, fresh produce, legumes and beans. If you've already read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma or In Defense of Food, this information won't be new to you. But it is a good recap of the incremental way the typical American diet has become unhealthy, burdensome to the environment, and "insane."

I think one area Bittman differs from Pollan is that I see an undercurrent of horror and disgust Bittman feels for the way animals are treated in the farming industry. While not embracing vegetarianism, Bittman wants to lower the demand of animal products (sadly, he shows world statistics that show that developing countries are actually demanding MORE meat than ever).

The second section of Bittman's book, the recipe section, is excellent, not just for the 75 recipes and suggested menus, but for the basic foods he says you should always keep stocked in your kitchen and the secrets for adding bold flavors to your meals.

Bittman's call for sane eating has much in common with the aforementioned Michael Pollan and readers with an interest in intelligent, healthy eating without sacrificing pleasure will want to read Mark Bittman's Food Matters, Michael Pollan's food books, and Brian Wansink's Mindless Eating.
75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Good advice and easy to swallow 1 Jan. 2009
By B. J. Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Did you know that global livestock production is responsible for about one-fifth of all greenhouse gasses -- MORE THAN TRANSPORTATION? In this concise, well-written book, statistics like that leap off the pages. Here's another one: "If we all ate the equivalent of three fewer cheeseburgers a week, we'd cancel out the effects of ALL THE SUV'S IN THE COUNTRY!"

Mr. Bittman knows how to get one's attention. But he follows these and other startling statistics with calm and rational thinking. Radical is OUT; common sense is IN. His recommendations for change are not based on deprivation. Neither are they faddist nor elitist. Stock your pantry with whole grains, beans, and your refrigerator with washed greens, vegetables and fruit. READ THOSE LABELS when you shop. Avoid hydrogenated anything, MSG, high fructose corn syrup or anything containing an ingredient you've never heard of. Most of us know this; Bittman just has a talent for presenting it concisely and entertainingly.

He knows we are not immune to unhealthy cravings and deals with it intelligently. For example, if you love bacon, "Keep a hunk in the freezer or fridge and use it for seasoning. An ounce goes a long way." And when the flavor of butter is indispensable in a certain dish, think of it as an occasional pleasure -- a little reward for following the essential principles presented in this book for the majority of the time.

The recipes are extremely easy -- familiar to most everyone. But he adds many creative touches; for example: seasoning blends that you can make and store, ready to add a little punch here and there. No insipid, bland, I-hate-this-but-it's-good-for-me nonsense for this gourmet author.

I've already started putting this book into practice. And I believe, if asked, he would give me permission to make (maybe only once a year and sliced very, very thinly) my favorite pâté, Mr. Bittman's own Country Pâté from the NY Times.

My advice: Buy it and READ it.
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Not his best 24 Jan. 2009
By B. Budra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for those who are new to the subject. For us who have already read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, it adds little new. For Bittman fans, what's more disappointing is that it seems to have been ghostwritten. I don't hear any of Bittman's voice in the first half describing the issues. It's written in that prescriptive, snake-oil tone of many diet books, e.g., "I assure you that the logic behind Food Matters is solid.")
The recipes are appealing but contain too many editing errors, like asking for butter in the instructions when there is only oil in the ingredients. This leads me to believe they were converted from previous cookbooks, and hastily so.
Altogether, it's not his best work.
212 of 247 people found the following review helpful
Nothing New Here 5 Jan. 2009
By Debra Schiff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've been a fan of Bittman's for a few years, reading his Times column and using his How to Cook Everything cookbook on a regular basis. So, I was pretty disappointed to read his new book, Food Matters, and find that there wasn't any new information included, except for his personal weight loss experience (which was a bit lightweight, if you pardon the pun).

The recipes are a bit of a let down as well, so let me say from the start, save your money and buy one of his cookbooks instead. If you are a reasonably well-informed eater, especially someone of the vegetarian or vegan variety, this book is a waste of time for you. However, if you are a big beef eater, you'll probably learn a lot.

I found that his criticisms of the meat industry could have well been backed up by the same of the poultry industry, but he steered quite clear of that.

Overall, the book was very repetitive. Bittman found endless ways to rephrase his point about eating less meat. While he did give a month's worth of meals, he didn't help with the calorie count. It was highly disappointing. It seemed to have been written and edited in a hurry, and just doesn't seem typical of Bittman's work.

Sorry, but I just can't recommend this one of his books.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Slow global warming by changing what you eat! 23 Dec. 2008
By Peregrinn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love this book! I was already familiar with the principle that an individual can have a greater impact on reducing global warming by eating less meat and dairy products than by switching to a hybrid vehicle. Well, I've already got the hybrid. And I had started cutting back on my meat consumption. But this book combines the logic behind the change with some different approaches to eating. I like it that the recipes are "flexitarian" -- they can be made without meat, or with a small amount of fish, chicken, or other meat. Vegetarian purity is not the goal; changing the burden of your diet on the environment of the planet is. My family will be happier with a gradual reduction in meat-eating. We don't have to go Cold Tofurkey!
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