The Minimalist: Chef Mark Bittman

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Despite his frankness in writing and on camera, it’s hard for people interested in minimalist living, whole foods or responsible lifestyles to dislike Mark Bittman. As a journalist, author and television personality, he never aims to be a people-pleaser, but his message is pleasing to anyone interested in living life deliberately.

To many Mark Bittman is known as The Minimalist. That’s because he wrote a column for years the New York Times with that name for many years. Although The Minimalist column ended in 2011, he still writes for New York Times Magazine, has a column in the paper’s opinion section and blogs too.

To many others, Bittman is known as either a television chef or an author.

The Minimalist As TV Personality

Because he has appeared in so many places on the television dial over several years, many people outside the New York area first learned about Bittman through one of his many, many television appearance.

As a frequent contributor to the Today Show, Bittman has promoted a no-nonsense way of cooking and eating in many ways, including through his vegan-before-six eating plan. He is also no stranger to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered program.

In his 2005 public television series Bittman Takes on America’s Chefs, he challenged the assumptions and techniques of some of the best chefs in the United States (many of them friends of his) and cooked dishes himself. He won the James Beard Award for best cooking series for his efforts in this funny, educational and unique series.

In 2008, Bittman returned to PBS stations around the nation with a series in which he traveled around Spain with American actress Gwyneth Paltrow, celebrity chef Mario Batali and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols. Called Spain… on the Road Again, it was a heavily produced, beautiful series that included Spanish home cooks and restaurants chefs alike.

In 2009, Bittman began his Kitchen Express TV series, a cooking series with a decidedly environmentalist, anti-establishment feel.

He pops up often on the Food Network as well. And you might have seen him on Dr. Oz or any number of other television shows recently.

Mark Bittman As Author

The Minimalist column is far from Mark Bittman’s only writing outlet through the years. A recent Amazon search for Bittman’s name turned up 164 items in the retailers catalog associated with him. Those items that aren’t books are recording of the television series mentioned above and other DVD offerings.

Bittman’s first book, Leafy Greens, came out in 1995. His book How To Cook Everything, published in 1998, is deservedly more popular and more well-known. In 1999, he came out with Fish – The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking. He followed the next year with Simple to Spectacular. While not exciting, both are solid, well-written, carefully researched works.

In 2005, the ambitiously titled book The Best Recipes in the World was a great success, and so was his Bittman Takes On America’s Chefs volume that accompanied the popular PBS series. As Bittman’s personal eating preferences and position on environmental and consumer ethics have changed, his works have changed as well.

And the list simply goes on and on — and on and on even more. It’s hard to imagine a food writer who’s more prolific than Mark Bittman, and it’s great that he deserves the title minimalist as well. This extensive list of published works doesn’t even include the books related to The Minimalist column.

Concluding Thoughts

It would be easy to spend the rest of the day exploring a list of Mark Bittman’s published works and recording material. In the last 15 years or so, he has been a prolific and very vocal advocate for simple living and better eating.

In fact, you could probably spend hours just browsing through Amazon’s list of works by Mark Bittman. Here’s the bottom line though: All of his stuff is great, and all of it is informative. His more recent works — like Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes — available from Amazon — show an evolving involvement in making not just the dinner table but the planet a better place.

Mark Bittman belongs on this site because he was once known as The Minimalist. Today, he’s simply known as one of the world’s good guys — fighting the good fight for better eating and a better world.