January 26, 2011

Bye Bye Bitty

(Photo: Sally Stein via MarkBittman.com)

I nearly passed out in my pea soup on Monday when I read that Mark Bittman was ending The Minimalist column. Last night, I devoured every word of his last column as I would a slow-cooker veggie chili on a cold winter's day.

I know I shouldn't get emotional over the demise of a food column, but to me it was always more than just that. Mark taught me how to cook, really. He and I have spent many hours together in my kitchen over the years. I also watched with insane jealousy as Gwennie got to travel On the Road with him. ("Ah-hahaha...Oh Bitty!") How I wished it was my brunette mop flapping in the Spanish breeze in that convertible instead of her perfect blond locks...And that it was I who could eat and eat and eat like her without putting on so much as an ounce. But I digress...

Bitty (may I call you Bitty?), if you only knew.

What did Mike get for his birthday last week? No, not another gift certificate to a hardware store. He got heart healthy whole grain pancakes, so I can keep him around to fix things at the shorehouse for years to come.

Did the raw butternut squash slaw take center stage as you promised? Oh yes it did, and got a standing ovation at that.

I served nearly all of the farmers' market corn I bought last year Mexican-style thanks to you. Hola, deliciousness.

And as soon as I can find fresh basil that doesn't look like it got run over by a snow plow (winter can be so cruel), I'm definitely making your fazzoletti. And don't even get me started about your gnocchi.

I could wax nostalgic about The Minimalist 'til the grass-fed cows come home (ed note: speaking of wax, you should really have a look at how wax beans play a roll in the Green Beans and Tofu Skins With Rice Sticks recipe!). But instead I'll savor the memories, and every last delicious meal we shared.

I think most of all, Bitty, I'll miss your candor. You've always been so patient and kind about my vegetarian ways (and even devoted a cookbook to it) and never made me feel like the one-eyed circus freak many people treat me as (and you know who you are, ahem). In fact, in yesterday's column you wrote:

“My growing conviction that the meat-heavy American diet and our increasing dependence on prepared and processed foods is detrimental not only to our personal health but to that of the planet has had an impact on my life and on that of the column.”


Best of luck, Bitty. 'Til we eat again.


Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Hello -- I saw him on the Today Show this morning. But don't be discouraged: from the way he spoke, he's got a couple of irons in the fire and you will still be hearing about him!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Wonderful, wonderful post Laura. Mark Bittman is Bruces favorite cookbook author. (thats my Bruce...not the other one) You really hit all of the high notes here...his recipes, his candor, his attitude about American diets. I agree with all you said.
♥, Susan

Purple Flowers said...

You are fantastic in putting descriptive words together. I guess passion really struck you in the kitchen. :)

Joyce said...

If only he could see your wonderful post! It seems this is the year for alot of peeps to retire. How many more years do I? xo

modernemama said...

Sob, no more Bittman, sob, how will we get through this?

Anonymous said...


What a wonderful tribute to a column that will be well missed. But I too think Bitty is 'cooking up' something special.

I sincerely hope Mark Bittman reads this.

Your Friend,

Ina in Alaska said...

OMG Me too! In fact my roasted beet recipe on my blog is one step of his recipe called Japanese Spice Roasted Beets. I did not have all the ingredients at hand but was craving beets so just roasted them per his directions.

I also copied his 25 favorite recipes. LOVE HIM and his recipes are very reliable and always turn out well.

PS Small world - we might have crossed paths last summer!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

You know I don't cook, Laura, but I love to eat... and this man sounds like a dreamboat! Do you think he's up for adoption? I'm putting in my order right now!


Sheila :-)

Sue said...

OMG!!!!!!!!! So why didn't you tell me sooner that you were back blogging!
Do you know how much reading I have to do...LOL. A quick glance and ofcourse I spied the Lady Liberty head thingie...great find.
Okay, I'm off to read up on what's been going on with you...until the Housewives reunion comes on...and then I will pick up where i left off....So so Happy to see you back!

j.cro said...

Awwww, how sad he's ending his column. I haven't been reading The Times lately b/c I'm not on the computer so much but I'll definitely miss Mr. Bittman. Although you said it much more eloquently than I ever could.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I've been reading Bittman's column and blog for years and I think he'll still be providing a recipe or two along the way in his new venture. Perhaps even a new cookbook? ;)