(Photo: Sally Stein via MarkBittman.com)
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.