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The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,000 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
From the award-winning champion of conscious eating and author of the bestselling Food Matters comes The Food Matters Cookbook, offering the most comprehensive and straightforward ideas yet for cooking easy, delicious foods that are as good for you as they are for the planet. The Food Matters Cookbook is the essential encyclopedia and guidebook to responsible eating, with ...more
Hardcover, 656 pages
Published September 21st 2010 by Simon & Schuster
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How to Cook Everything by Mark BittmanFish by Mark BittmanThe Best Recipes in the World by Mark BittmanHow to Cook Everything by Mark BittmanHow to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
Best of Mark Bittman
7th out of 33 books — 2 voters
The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. RombauerThe New Basics Cookbook by Julee RossoThe Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion CunninghamThe Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee RossoEssentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Best Cookbooks Ever
167th out of 181 books — 121 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,281)
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Steven Peterson
Oct 12, 2015 Steven Peterson rated it liked it
Another in Mark Bittman's corpus of work. I have always enjoyed his cookbooks, and I have incorporated a number of his recipes into my cooking "cycle." This book focuses on healthier dishes. Early on, he notes (Page ix): "If you swap the basic proportions in your diet--increasing unprocessed fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains--you'll wind up losing your weight and improving your overall health. . . ."

One thing that he aims to do in this cookbook is to reduce the percentage of ca
Gail Cooke
Jan 13, 2011 Gail Cooke rated it really liked it
In his opening remarks author Mark Bittman mentioned that he had been writing about food for 30 years noted that the American diet had “undergone some changes, few of them for the better.” At about the same time Mr. Bittman had also experienced some changes - he was over weight, his blood sugar and cholesterol were up, he had sleep apnea, and recently underwent knee surgery. His doctor suggested he become a vegan. Of course, Mr. Bittman strenuously objected to this suggestion, reminding the doct ...more
Aug 31, 2011 Academama rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
This is a useful and interesting cookbook, and it's given me lots of ideas for reducing our consumption of animal products. My biggest peeve about it is that it has no pictures; I really like a cookbook to have pictures, partly because it's hard for me to imagine what a finished dish is like without a photo. It also doesn't have nutrition information, which is unsurprising: Bittman advocates changing the way you think about food, and he's not a portion-counter, plus these recipes are mostly a bi ...more
Stephanie Bostic
Aug 24, 2011 Stephanie Bostic rated it really liked it
Full Disclosure: I’m a Mark Bittman fan. While I am generally inept as a fan, I managed to actually read his “Minimalist” columns regularly for years on end. In me, that translates to serious devotion. So simply seeing his name on the cover could have, possibly, biased me. Just a little.

In spite of any potential bias, his most recent addition to bookshelves everywhere is a pleasure. While providing the reader with carefully written, elegent but simple recipes, Mark (if I may take the liberty) pr
Oct 06, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
In this book, Bittman promotes a primarily plant-based diet with occasional meat/fat/sweets indulgences, and he presents compelling evidence for doing so, although as a long-time vegetarian, I thought his constant reassurances along the lines of "don't worry, no one's suggesting you become vegetarian" were a bit obnoxious. Honestly, I don't think avoiding meat is that extreme of a dietary stance, so spare me the melodrama, Bittman.

Aside from that, this book offers a wide range of tasty-sounding
Mar 06, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I love his Washington Post column, so I figured this cookbook would be worth a look. Bittman, like a lot of recent cookbook authors, encourages the reader to eat more fruit/veg/whole grains, and rely less on red meat and processed food. I think it is a great plan, though one that a lot of Americans may have a hard time adjusting to, simply because of the ease and simplicity that processed foods allow them. I loved that his recipes were easy and could be easily changed to add more ingredients. I ...more
Aug 16, 2011 Judy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-cookbooks
I love Mark Bittman. He is smart, he writes well, and he has a passion for delicious, but simple-to-make food. His recipes are easy to follow, and he almost always suggests variations on the recipe. This book is a companion to his book "Food Matters," which has a message similar to that of Michael Pollan. Bittman believes that you can eat healthy, earth friendly meals by cutting back on meat and adding more whole grains and vegetables. Even some people I know (they will remain nameless) who have ...more
Apr 04, 2015 Cat rated it liked it
Recipes and advice from Mark Bittman's NY Times column and his Today Show appearances. These feature healthful options with reduced sugar and fats but are pretty heavy on refined carbs. Not very inspiring—in fact, many of these dishes look like upscale rabbit food. Not impressed.
Feb 20, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
The idea of The Food Matters Cookbook is simple: eat fewer animal products and processed foods; eat more whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables. There are lots of reasons you might want to eat this way, and Bittman mentions a few in his introduction (health, ethics, environment), but this really is a cookbook, not a polemic. I checked this book out from the library but I think I want to buy it: I've made six recipes and each has been a success, and I keep finding more recipes I want ...more
Nov 27, 2010 Pam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
When I saw that Mark Bittman had a new cookbook out, I hesitated. I already have 5 of his books, did I really need another 500 recipes from him? The answer to that is a resounding yes!

This book is for anyone who is trying to eat healthier. And really, who isn't? I don't know anyone who goes around saying, "I'm going to eat more processed foods and slurp canned soda!" This book is exactly how I would like to eat more often...more grains and beans, less meat, more fruits and veggies.

The book ope
Marya Kowal
May 11, 2012 Marya Kowal rated it really liked it
Clear, interesting, and the recipes were very good.

The section on substitutions was very helpful, since I needed suggestions for "firm white fish" for the fish kabob recipe. I visited the list of good fish at the recommended Monterey Aquarium site, and went to the fish counter at my grocer. She recommended catfish, and the fish kabobs turned out great! Even my kids liked them. It certainly adds an occasional fish dish for a family who isn't fond of fish.

My family likes the recipes, and I feel go
Molly Lingenfelter
Jan 22, 2012 Molly Lingenfelter rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
This was a gift, and I wasn't familiar with Mark Bittman before, so his approach was new to me. In a nutshell: eat less meat, more grains and veggies. There's nothing spectacularly entertaining about his prose, and as other reviews have noted, no photographs. However, I've been cooking almost exclusively out of the cookbook for the past few weeks, and the recipes are good, the food healthy.

I tend to like highly-seasoned food, so a few of the pasta dishes have been too bland for me; my three kids
Nov 11, 2010 Naomi rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've tried a few recipes in this book and have my eye on many more. I appreciate his emphasis on healthy dishes without venturing into blandness or preachiness. Much of the content seems common sense or knowledge that should have been passed down to me by former generations but, for some reason, did not. His variations, as always, are great for someone like me who fears to venture outside the culinary box but wants to use ingredients on hand. I made the almost whole wheat crackers the other day ...more
Apr 26, 2016 Lauren rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I just tried to cook the skillet tamales recipe. It has been a long time since I've had a cooking disaster this bad. The cornmeal instructions were clearly incorrect - googling around, folks are making this recipe with much less water. Perhaps the other recipes are fine, but I'm not going to stick around to find out.
Jan 06, 2011 Stacy rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
This is a great book to have for basic recipes that are heavy on vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. They don’t call Bittman the Minimalist for nothing! His recipes are simple and reverse the typical ratio of meat to vegetables, so that meat is treated more as a garnish. If you are interested in eating less meat, or eating more of the healthy foods you know you should, this book is a great place to start, especially if you’re not interested in meat substitutes. You’ll hardly miss the meat wit ...more
Jan 29, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it
Love Mark Bittman and this follow up to Food Matters. Following the same philosophy for eating in a mindful way that is better for our bodies, health and the planet, Bittman has assembled over 500 recipes--heavy in natural unprocessed foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, beans, and nuts. Animal products play a minor role.

I have currently only tried making the Tropical Oatstacks from the desserts section (you can see them here: but I have ton
Elise Dubois
Mar 29, 2014 Elise Dubois rated it it was ok
We used this book for the library cook book club for the month of March. I made the peas, pasta, and prosciutto recipe.
I wasn't impressed with the book in general. A cookbook without pictures doesn't make sense. Also several of the recipes that were tried turned out to have to much salt. This cookbook definitely isn't good for someone on a low-carb diet. We found some other flavors to be okay and some to be very odd. Overall we just weren't impressed with the cookbook.
May 10, 2011 Sidra rated it it was amazing
The great thing about Mark Bittman is that he is a former foodie and so he still eats foods that are somewhat off-limits, but he eats them much less. He is also a great cook, so his recipes are great! If you are trying to eat less meat, dairy, sugar, and refined grains than his recipes are fantastic to help you transition. I've also found them useful for helping my children to transition to a plant-based diet. I have to alter some of them for myself because I am trying to eat absolutely NO dairy ...more
Terri Jacobson
Apr 25, 2012 Terri Jacobson rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking
This cookbook focuses on eating a more plant-based diet using less meat and fewer processed foods. This is a subject dear to my heart, for this is the way my family and I have started eating in the past 3 months or so. The book lays out clearly the advantages of eating more vegetables and grains, and outlines the principles underlying this kind of diet. It is mostly a recipe-based book, and the wide variety of dishes offer something for all tastes. The recipes I tried were simple and delicious, ...more
Feb 03, 2011 Hanako rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
seriously am so excited to make at least half of these recipes. one of the best parts is, since he uses generally normal ingredients - i can actually get them here in gabon. so i am excited to try. i have tried two so far, one was really good, the other was not bad, though i think we'd adjust the seasonings more next time.
i have never been a huge meat eater, but have been leaning towards eating even less since i read food matters. so i'm thrilled to have so many new recipes to help me in this t
Feb 18, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
I originally rated this 5 stars because the 20-25 recipes I had tried to date were winners. Just downgraded it to 4 stars because I'm starting to find recipes with mistakes or instructions that are really unclear (I am not a beginning cook).

I love the selection of recipes and the fact that Bittman's recipes actually use an amount of spice that can be tasted. Even on the recipes that don't get, "Please make this again," from Chris, he typically goes back for seconds, and I'm fine with that for he
Jul 08, 2012 Sherry rated it it was amazing
Mark Bittman is my hero. Check out my review on How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. This book and his two How to Cook Everything books are pretty much the only cookbooks I use. I love cookbooks and buy them compulsively, but when it's time to menu plan or find a dish for an upcoming potluck, it's always Bittman I turn to.
Feb 02, 2012 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Love checking out cookbooks from the library and this one seems great - just the kind of recipes I would make if . . . my husband and kids wouldn't cry, beg, mutiny every time we sat down to eat. Bittman's main premise is less meat and more veggies. The recipes look great. Didn't actually make any, however, so this review is not helpful in that regard. Maybe in a few years I'll revisit . . . in the meantime, I'll baby step in that direction.
Jan 15, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Excellent book. I didn't even notice the lack of pictures until I read a review. Have made 3 recipes from it and all were great. Library book but may buy it
Feb 21, 2012 Darragh rated it it was amazing
I love this cookbook. Great tasting recipes with Bittman's trademark clarity and flexibility. And you can feel really food about eating this way - for your own health, your own pocketbook, the health of the planet- all with very little badgering or pedantic rants. So you still want to eat a little meat go for it. If we all in America started to eat this way we'd be skinnier, healthier, there'd be way less cows,and way more oat fields.
Megan Heberlein
Feb 22, 2012 Megan Heberlein rated it it was amazing
The first time I flipped through this cookbook I was amazed at how many of the recipes were different from what I was already doing, and how many looked fantastic!

I love Bittman's approach to healthier eating: Simply eat more plant matter, a bit less meat, and switch some of that meat out for veggie proteins. With this we can not only eat better, but make positive waves on the environment. Works for me!
Feb 27, 2012 Renee rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I like Bittman's approach to cooking and I like the sound of his recipes. I can see how his approach is great for folks maintaining their weight or losing a small amount over time. Some of the recipes even look appropriate for weight loss, but it is a little tricky since nutrition facts are not provided. Pretty much I just have to get my act together and identify some of the recipes I want to try.
Jun 14, 2015 Lesley rated it liked it
Shelves: cook-diet-garden
descent cookbook with healthy recipes.
Valley Cottage Library
Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything is referenced daily in my household. The Food Matters Cookbook is nearly as dependable. In this newest cookbook, Bittman has shifted the balance in favor of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, the basis, he claims, of a healthful and environmentally conscious diet. Meat and dairy appear in recipes, but in smaller amounts.
Jan 06, 2011 A rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
My all-time favorite is Bittman's HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN. This book talks about food, diets, how to eat healthy, and has recipes in addition to the information/advice. Most people who are conscious about their diets, and who have read other books about food, like by Michael Mollan and Barbara Kingsolver, probably know all of this information already.
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MARK BITTMAN is one of the country's best-known and most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. Bittman writes for the Opinion section of New York Times on food policy and cooking, and is a columnist for the New York Times Magazine. His "The Minimalist" cooking show, based on his popular NYT column, ...more
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