In a world of increasingly voluminous useless information, I’ve always found men’s magazines to be refreshing in how they’re good at getting straight to the point. Combine that with the fact that I’ve always found Mark Bittman to be an incredibly inspiring and to-the-point food writer, and you’ve got a double admiration moment, which is why I’m singing the praises of his recent piece for Men’s Health, entitled “Yes, You Can Become a Great Cook”.
It’s a breakdown of the essential techniques necessary for kitchen liberation. Being in a men’s magazine, the subtext is that it’s a bit of a primer on how to impress women, which, in the gastrokid world, can easily be retooled as a primer on how to impress that other discriminating population group: children. Bittman outlines the basics of roasting, sauteeing, etc. And, in his usual minimmalistt, paradigm sensitive, empower-the-people sort of way, sets up cooks for a lifetime of good meals, with an emphasis on economy of technique. In the gastrokid spirit, he embraces the chaos of the moment and emphasizes making the most of what you have. As he writes:
“My first instruction: Don’t overcomplicate the process. If somebody were to tell you that you should shop only at a farmer’s market, it would be a bit like telling you that you should watch sports only in person. It just isn’t only so. Yes, buy the best quality food you can find on your way home from work (farmer’s markets are great this time of year), but remember: “Perfect” is the enemy of “good.” It’s the enemy of “great,” too, come to think of it.”
Indeed. Relax. Have fun. And share the process and the outcome with your family.