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Mark Bittman

Pete Springer/OPB

Mark Bittman didn’t set out to be a food writer. He began by just cooking for his family. Now, years later, he’s one of the most prolific, and most celebrated, food writers and cookbook authors in the country. His most recent cookbook, How to Cook Everything: The Basics is a spin-off from his best-selling How to Cook Everything. His writing in the New York Times is followed by thousands. A few years ago he explained his goal. He said:

I have no interest in helping people become chefs. I have an interest in 50 percent of the people in America knowing how to cook. And whether they cook like chefs or not, I don’t care. It’s probably better if they don’t. It would be better if they cook like me, which is adequately.

It would be easy to make the case that Bittman cooks better than adequately, but he does specialize in relatively simple food. Some recent examples are this recipe for “sasta” (that’s a combination of pasta and salad) or these 12 ways to grill an eggplant.

Bittman has also become fiercely political when it comes to food. He links the high consumption of meat to global warming and criticizes the typical American diet regularly in his columns. He lays it all out in his TED Talk entitled “What’s wrong with what we eat”.

Do you try to eat ethically? Have you reduced your consumption of meat, tried to eat locally, or linked your diet to environmental sustainability? Has Bittman taught you how to grill a tomato, roast a chicken, or make a basic sauce? Do you have a question for him?

Here’s a collection of photos from our conversation at Literary Arts:

Editor’s Note: This show will take place in front of an audience at Literary Arts in downtown Portland. Tickets are free, but must be reserved ahead of time. This event is currently sold out.

If you would still like to see Mark Bittman, tickets are available for purchase for his evening lecture at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

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