Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Best Food Article I've Read All Year

Okay so it's been all of 7 days in this year. But The New York Times' own Mark Bittman's* "Fresh Start for a New Year? Let's Start in the Kitchen" article would be a great one anytime of year.

Basically, Bitty breaks it down for us and tells us to start 2009 with a clean slate of a kitchen. He simply and directly tells us what we need around the kitchen, what we can get rid of, and lots of short and simple little recipes to enliven our cooking.

It is so good I almost want to print it out and pin it up.

Reading through, there's a lot he recommends that I already do, and I felt like patting myself on the back (Parmesan in our house = never the green can, always the real freshly grated kind). Yay! I win.

But then...there's also a lot I don't do, and want to explore (Beans in our house = always canned, haven't tackled dried). Shoot. I am a total slacker.

So I'm going to take his advice. I'm totally going to try using dried beans this year at some point, and try to work my way through his list and see how else I can make my kitchen a little more real and flavorful.

What about you? What recommendations do you already do? And what are you guilty of?

* For any other Bittman fans out there, this profile, "The Making of the Minimalist," in the Observer from a few weeks ago is great!


  1. Dena - I read that article too and thought it was good. Cooking dried beans is really easy - you will love it!

  2. Okay why am I such a freak about cooking dried beans? Why does it scare me so? I worry they'll come out hard.... My husband is suggesting I check with the Moosewood Cookbook to get the timing right. Any tips are most welcome!

  3. Dena - first start with good dried beans, if possible. From the grocery store, your best bet is in the bulk section. The ones in a plastic bag are typically really old. Next, soak them overnight in salted water (like how much salt you put in pasta water). Make sure you add quite a lot of water - you will be surprised at how much they expand. Drain & rinse them. Depending on what you're using them for, cook in more salted water or add a mirepoix (celery, carrots, onion) to a pot with a little olive oil. I have a ton of locally grown black beans and would love to share them with you (or you can buy them at

    Let me know how they turn out!


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