Food Matters... Or Does It??? - Adventures in Cooking... Learning one step at a time. Blog at - 88214

Adventures in Cooking... Learning one step at a time.

Food Matters... Or does it??? 
Apr. 8, 2009 3:01 pm 
Updated: Apr. 14, 2009 8:51 am
Recently my husband borrowed a book from the library called FOOD MATTERS by Mark Bittman (<

With my recent health issues, he wanted to investigate further into the entire WHOLE FOODS trend.

After MUCH discussion we decided to try this way of eating cold turkey using the recipes in the book.

I am not the greatest cook because unlike most people I NEVER follow a recipe word for word.  I love to play, so unless I am trying something REALLY new or difficult, lets just say I am one to experiment and make the recipe more match what my family likes. (Yes, I am one of the people who give a recipe a high grade, although I have changed things).  This philosophy comes from my belief that if a recipe is truly good it is flexible and I can never follow a pattern (too boring).

Well, I will say I love how Mark Bittman writes his cook books.  ALL his recipes start with a basic and then end with up to 10 suggestions of how to alter it to suit what you have, want, or like.  He teaches the basics followed by slight increases in difficulty to intermediate.

Much to my surprise he has about 10 cookbooks out there... Including HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN, and they are all as simple and well laid out as this most recent book.  The problem is all you need is the most recent book because once you know the basics you can make the changes yourself.  So really I didn't really need to investigate the other books, and in the end I came back to ALLRECIPES again, because I got more ideas from this site than his books, I used his titles or ingredients or instructions as a starting point and then the variations on ALLRECIPES to figure out in the end what I wanted to make.

As for the rest of the book, I didn't even read it.. My husband loved it, but not many of us can afford to be as descriminate about our eating habits while in this recession.  Also, he would say things about foods that as a person with a FOOD SCIENCE degree, I had to disagree with.. I.E. that probiotics in yogurt are not good because they are just another industrial additive.  Where I know some great yogurts out there made very naturally with minimal carbon foot prints.

If you want to learn some new techniques or change your diet to a whole foods diet the recipes in this book are an excellent starting point.  Just remember they are only a place to start, make them your own, and the transition away from meat and to a more healthy primarily whole food vegetarian diet (which by the way, actually does cost less, once you know how much veggies you eat and stop throwing away tonnes) will be easier and not as much of a shock to the system.


PS.. I was curious why are so many vegetarian recipes curry??  Our family does not like curry (we find it bitter) and although I want to increase beans in our diet most recipes are curry or chili... What other spice or flavor blends can replace these??

OH and try the SLOPPY SAMS on this site.. I loved them and finally after 6 weeks of low fat foods our family could have 'Sloppy Joes' again without impacting my health.. But my hubby and sons did put cheese on theirs.. CHEATERS!!!
Apr. 8, 2009 3:27 pm
I LOVE curry, but only very mild curry. Try about 1 tsp for a family of four and add some yogurt to mellow it out. I also sneak some fruit into a lot of the curries we eat: dried cranberries, raisins, chopped mangos or pineapple or peaches are good places to start. One thing I do with garbanzos that involves neither curry or chili is to marinate them in 2 parts olive oil to 1 part rice vinegar, along with some crushed garlic and minced onions (okay, maybe some cumin, too -- its a spice thing) and then add them to green salads or smash them and use like mayonnaise in whole wheat pita sandwiches. Basil is also good with just about any bean, but add it at the end of cooking so it doesn't get bitter.
Apr. 8, 2009 6:59 pm
I love curry so much! Maybe you should try some different curries? Perhaps the kind of blend you use makes it seem bitter to you. Also, I think that maybe veg. meals often have spices because vegetables are less flavourful than meat. That's just a guess. The spices bring out the flavours in the veggies more. There are many ways to incorporate legumes in salads too...just do a search for chickpeas for example and search only in salads/side dishes.
Apr. 9, 2009 2:21 am
Perhaps try Thai curries they are not as "pungent" as Indian ones!!
Apr. 9, 2009 6:45 am
I never thought of Thai Curries.. DO you know of any retail spice blend (curry blends I could try??) TJ
Apr. 9, 2009 10:40 am
I'm also not a curry fan, but I keep trying! I also wanted to suggest Nava Atlas' cookbooks - I have one (I think it's called the Vegetarian Family Cookbook) and she not only has some interesting recipes, but also ideas for snacks, etc.
Apr. 9, 2009 3:13 pm
start with yellow curry or massaman then try red or green. Usually stores have packets that are ready to go. They do the job but nothing like
Apr. 9, 2009 3:36 pm
Try Thai Kitchen curry paste...there's red, green & favorite is the red. My only frustration is that it's sold in really small bottles...and not so cheap, but we love the flavor. I've been trying powders, but like you, find them somewhat bitter at times. Just recently I came across a site for making curry paste, but haven't had the time to pursue it, but plan to since cost is a factor for me. At this time I save the curry paste for the couple of dishes that are big favorites. You're right, the Sloppy Sams are really good! They are on a regular rotation here. Hang in there...yes, alot of vegetarian dishes seem to have curry, but there are lots that don't. Keep looking...they're out there. Check out and take a look around...maybe you will find something that appeals to your family. Heidi's approach is whole, natural, fresh foods...several of our favorites have come from her site...I check it almost as much as I do AR. When we made the decision to become strict vegetarians, cooking became exciting in a completely different way...not sure just how to explain it. We've never been big meat eaters...and not much red meat...but not approaching a meal from the perspective of "meat & sides" set me free. AR has become a regular/daily resource for me. I sometimes take a dish that includes meat & alter it for our use. Like you, I see recipes as foundations on which to build according to personal tastes. I'll have to check out Bittman's FOOD MATTERS...I started reading his HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN and ran out of time...I checked it out from the library & there was a hold on it so I couldn't renew...just haven't pursued it again.
Apr. 10, 2009 9:09 am
The reason that so many vegetarian recipes are curries is that so many people in India are vegetarians. :) Good luck on your quest - nice post! :)
Apr. 14, 2009 8:45 am
I'm half Asian so I LOVE LOVE LOVE curries. You might want to try different ethnic curries. Thais have green and red curries and the Japanese make sweet curries the roux for which you can purchase at supermarkets made by the S & B company. Also, you can sometimes find JFC brands. Furthermore, "curry powder" is a combimation of many spices so you can make your own curry roux to suit your tastes. Many Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs are vegetarians, so many South and Southeast Asian recipes are vegetarian. Plus, most of the population in Asia can't afford to eat meat everyday, so meat is either used sparingly as a flavoring or not at all. Most of the world doesn't eat like Westerners.
Apr. 14, 2009 8:51 am
Also, since you're from a commonwealth country, your cookbooks and area restaurants will be more similar to British cuisine, which has been heavily influenced by the culinary traditions of its former colonies, like India. That's why Brits are mad for food from the former "Jewel in the Crown."
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About Me
Currently, I have 3 children. I am working at reducing the cost of our grocery budget, eating whole foods, paleoish diet, adding more whole grains and real foods but still having the flavorful and fun food that we know and love.
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Green Smoothies, main courses, and treats (when able)
My favorite family cooking traditions
Czechoslovakain.. Or however it is spelled... I want to cook like my grandmother used to cook.
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So far looking for something to brag about here.
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I could not be successful with Paleo/Whole30 living.
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