Food Matters

Hello friends!! Hope everyone had a great start to the week! Mine has been pretty darn good. A full day of great training clients, then seeing one of my favourite chefs/authors in person!!


Mark Bittman, first and foremost, is the author of several of my favourite Runner’s World columns. He’s also the man behind The Minimalist. Always my favourite food column in the New York Times.

Ohyeah, and he’s got a bunch of those things… books?? :P


Tonight, he spoke mostly about the content in his Food Matters book to promote the new Food Matters Cookbook. It’s all about eating consciously. I’m actually more familiar with How To Cook Everything, which is one of his awesomely simple and easy to follow cookbooks.

I went in armed with not only my camera and foodie excitement, but also my trusty notebook. I’m an old journalist after all, I can’t help but take notes! Here are some of my favourite points from the Q&A:

  • Americans spend only 7% of their income on food. A very low percentage representing how many are living off cheap processed food.
  • “Pay the farmer, not the hospital.”
  • Ideally, our diets would consist of 90% plants with 10% coming from everything else (meat, processed food, and “junk”). An alarming number of people take in the reverse percentages. Bittman says we don’t have to be perfect – we just need to “seesaw” to get those numbers closer together. i.e. More plants, less of everything else.
  • Bittman thinks veganism is the highest form of conscious eating, but admitted  he personally will never get there. Instead he does a vegan diet until 6pm every day, then might have animal products with dinner. He said it doesn’t matter if you are a vegan, so long as you take steps in that direction.
  • Drew several comparisons between cigarettes and processed foods. Mentioned that only a few people quit smoking when the surgeon general’s warning against it came out in 1964. It took mass coercion and enforcement to see a big change in the number of people smoking. He used this to demonstrate that warning about the health risks of processed foods may not be enough. Also pointed out that much like cigarettes are linked to cancer, some foods are linked to diabetes.
  • “Cooking is not a spectator sport.” Bittman is not a huge fan of the Food Network, saying, “People are too busy watching other people cook on television.” Touché.

Overall it was a fun Q&A! I raised my hand to ask him about how running changed his perception of food, but my hand was never picked. I will say he’s exactly how I pictured him. Brutally honest, funny, self-deprecating and personable all in one.


Now how about I start showing you some food!


I’ve had a few stellar food combinations recently. Beginning with this bowl of spicy oats.


1/2 cup rolled oats cooked with water, a pinch of salt, bacon, and a scoop of cream cheese. Topped with two soft-fried eggs and Frank’s hot sauce.


The cream cheese made the oats just that – creamy and cheesy! Runny yolks on hot oats is something you must try if you’re in to that sort of thing. It’s dreamy!

I’ve also been mixing cream cheese into salsa.


Makes it something a little reminiscent of that neon-orange Tostitos con queso dip and awesome with carrots!

I paired this combo with a ham + swiss sandwich. Except I added a little kick with fresh herbs.


In this case, a oregano under the melted cheese. I remember Leah posting about keeping fresh herbs on hand so I’ve been giving it a go. Wow! They make everything taste a million times better!


Just like that, with a little cream cheese and oregano, my dinner turned from blah to extraordinary :)


Dessert lately hasn’t been too classy.


Some days I crave the fancy dark 80-whatever chocolate. Other days I just want some old-school Jersey Milk.


Hits the spot. Reminds me of childhood when I only ate milk chocolate.


Another childhood favourite is sloppy joes paired with corn. I don’t know why my mother always made this particular combo, but now every time I eat sloppy joes, corn needs to be had. I polished off the lentil-based Snobby Joes the way they were meant to be eaten… on a bun. 


Much better warm on a bun as opposed to cold on a pita like I’d been eating it.


With the corn and green beans! Perfection.

There happens to be a fruit and vegetable stand a block away from the running store I work at. Their baskets are brimming with local Ontario apples and I can’t help but snatch some up every time I pass!


Including this GINORMOUS honeycrisp. I put it in front of this crappy DVD for size comparison, but I realize you’re not getting the width of it here, which was very respectable indeed.

I ate it all.

Last, but not least, I’ve been snacking on Scottish treats!

And by “snack” I mean I came home tonight and completely demolished the rest of the traditional Scottish oatcakes. Left side topped with PB + fluff, right side with almond butter + chocolate chips. Too bad I don’t have any jam in the house – it would be perfect! Guess I’ll just have to make more ;)


**If you’ve got a few seconds**
 pleasepleaseplease click here to vote for my Taste of Scotland post for the Project Food Blog contest!

And thank you if you already have! I just worked out a really fun concept for the third dinner party challenge and I really want to share it!


Question of the Day: What famous chef would you like to meet? Obviously my pick here is Alton Brown. I <3 that man!

Posted on September 28, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. W00t W00t for fresh herbs, yo!

  2. The idea of savoury oats still creeps me out a little, but I might come around one day.

    And I’ve already met the famous chef I’ve always wanted to meet ;) But if I had to pick a second, it would definitely be Masaharu Morimoto!

  3. “Pay the farmer, not the hospital.” I love that quote. It’s awesome and my belief, too!

  4. Ah! I love him! I always love his spots on the Today Show

  5. Mark bittman seems really cool. I’d like to meet Paula Deen. Some of her food doesn’t appeal to me, but she seems like a hoot!

  6. I’m glad to hear he was exactly like you imagined! I wish I could have gone last night!!!!
    I love his quote ‘pay the farmer, not the hospital’ :)

  7. Voted!

    Mark Bittman is coming here but I just couldn’t swallow the $35 price tag. I would love to meet that man – hero!

  8. I think I’d like to meet Emeril. I like his show on Planet Green. He camps out at a Whole Foods and helps people solve their healthy cooking issues. Great recipes. Also I’ve eaten at NOLA and it was delicious!

    I’ve met Paula Deen’s sons but not the lady herself. Bobby is a great sport! My friend’s daughter who was 8 at the time ran and gave him one of those crazy jumping hugs in the middle of the restaurant the second she saw him! He took it pretty well! lol!

  9. That is so cool that you got to “meet” Mark Bittman. I enjoy him too. I would absoutely love to meet Mollie Katzen, I just love her food. Alice Waters would be up there too.
    This is only somewhat related but I went to an author reading last week with Lawrence Hill. Are you familiar with The Book of Negroes? It was amazing, and so my thing. I loved it.

    • I would love to meet Mollie Katzen too! All of her recipes are “my kind of food.” Even though they’re all vegetarian. I remember you blogging about that book – I will definitely look for it now. I think we have the same taste in books :)

  10. So jealous you got to see Mark Bittman, but I was on my way back to the States! Interesting facts you got from him.

    Personally, I REALLY want to meet Anthony Bourdain!! Or Thomas Keller.


    • Anthony Bourdain was in Toronto over the weekend on his book tour! I missed it though, didn’t here about it until after the fact. Ah well, I’m sure he’ll be back and we can go together ;)

  11. Mark sounds like a really cool and savvy guy! I love the notes you took too. Attention getters ;)
    Voting for your round two submission now ! :)

  12. Glad you enjoyed the talk last night, wish I could’ve been there but I was hobbling all over my house like a little old lady! Ha ha ha Thanks for the crib notes from the talk, Bittman is so awesome!

  13. Dani @ Body By Nature

    Great post on Mark Bittman…he is my culinary crush!!

  14. id like one of those scottish treats please :)

    I have still never made savory oats!!! i think its about time, but for some reason when i think of oats all I think about is them in the sweet way! haha

  15. oh my gosh! i am so jealous of your experience. but thank you for sharing it with us!

    clearly i am not in that statistic of spending only 7% on food. i don’t think any of us food bloggers are! i do need to spend more time eating plants, for sure.

    spicy oats! wow, it has been so long i almost forgot about them. must make soon. and cream cheese in salsa is actually one of my go-to party dips!

    already voted for you! you will make the cut, i know it!

  16. This post has made me realize that it has been far too long since I had some savory oats in my life!
    I would love to meet Alton Brown too–and I actually might get a chance later this semester! I would also like to meet Ellie Krieger; she has my dream job!

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