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Ten Minute Bittman Redux in Today's NYT

niki rothman Aug 8, 2007 09:33 AM

Remember my recent "Head's UP!" alert for the 101 prepared in 10 minutes or less meals article in the New York Times? Well, he's ba-ack! This time with 20 ten minute or less followups including reader's suggestions.

Once again it's a wildly mixed bag, but also a must read. My prediction of an impending sincere apology from a remorseful Bittman, or at least a correction note regarding the "Tofu a la Ketchup" nightmare dinner did not pan out, and that means there is something seriously wrong with the man. But I'm digressing.

As I said, today's 20 are again a wildly mixed bag. There is a wonderful suggestion for chorizo, tomatoes, and steamed clams all in the same pot that is inspired and ultra speedy. But then...celery stuffed with peanut butter? HUH...And it's either pure genius or insane to suggest making a dinner out of lard spread onto bread. Tortilla soup - sign me up!
Canned peas and Vienna sausages.....Yaaaaaaaaaaaa....ptooie!!!! OK, here's my favorite: Take 2 slices of bread, spread with peanut butter and jelly, pat pieces of bread together.
Heh. Be sure to invite the kids.

YES. It DOES deserve a "Heads up!"

Note: articles online in the New York Times are available for downloading, or whatever, free of charge for one week. After that there is a small fee.

  1. JungMann Aug 8, 2007 10:52 AM

    Lard on toast is a typically Bavarian snack as well, though the lard is a little heartier there. The ten seemed like good ideas except I'm not sure how Indian mixing basil with yoghurt is.

    1. JasmineG Aug 8, 2007 12:43 PM

      I'm pretty sure that those second ten are joke recipes, and they aren't written by Bittman.

      1. steve h. Aug 8, 2007 01:10 PM

        i just don't get the bittman thing: "basil chicken, indian style - ideally this is marinated for hours but you can either cheat and skip that or think ahead..." bottom line? decent recipe. it does, however, call for the chicken to marinate for 24 hours before broiling or grilling.

        i don't think the guy is a fraud, my take is he's stuck in a marketing pigeon-hole and can't get out. last week we saw creative use of fonts, point-size, leading and column-widths to extend modest text. today's example required the worthwhile addition of tony, rebecca, librado, and andrew (excellent photographers) to amplify an otherwise unremarkable column.

        bottom line? bittman is a smart guy and should rethink what it is he needs to communicate to his readers. i suspect that nytimes alums pierre franey and craig claiborne (bless 'em both) might agree.

        8 Replies
        1. re: steve h.
          niki rothman Aug 8, 2007 01:36 PM

          Amen, brother. I especially miss Craig Claiborne, he was witty and brilliant and damn the cholesterol, full speed ahead with the butter. (I noted my own butter intake is 8 T a day!). I sadly did not have a NYT subscription during Pierre Franey's tenure. What was his writing like?
          I've got my own (very long winded) take on Bittman - you can read it in my thread about the first 101 recipe article, maybe a couple of months ago now. I call him the International Harvester of recipes (as in the agricultural machinery company).

          1. re: niki rothman
            steve h. Aug 8, 2007 02:00 PM

            franey was superb. earthy guy who helped make french country cooking easy to folk like me. the 60-minute gourmet series (nyt) was absent of philosophy and heavy on good food.

            a fantasy dinner with franey, apple, claiborne and one or two others would be a hoot.

            1. re: steve h.
              niki rothman Aug 8, 2007 02:12 PM

              Hi Steve,
              Do you have a rec. for Franey's best cookbook that I should buy?

              1. re: niki rothman
                steve h. Aug 8, 2007 02:32 PM

                my rec is to hit up your favorite used book store and buy, "more 60 minute gourmet." probably run you $4 or 5 bucks. simple, declarative stuff. i like it.

                1. re: steve h.
                  niki rothman Aug 8, 2007 05:35 PM

                  Thanks so much, Steve.

                  Should I assume that you feel that the first volume, which I imagine is entitled, "60 Minute Gourmet" is not as good as the second one, which you recommend?

                  I find the cheapest used cookbooks at alibris.com. Often a common cookbook in "very good" condition, the condition which is the minimum acceptable to me, in hardback (you do the advanced search to specify that - often it's the same price as PB), with shipping, will only run me $6.

                  1. re: niki rothman
                    steve h. Aug 8, 2007 08:26 PM

                    howdy niki,
                    both the original and follow up are pretty good. get both.
                    we have a place called the strand here in manhattan. i am convinced you have the same or better when it comes to used books. skip the surface charge and have a bit of fun. i have a soft spot for used book peddlers.

                    1. re: steve h.
                      niki rothman Aug 9, 2007 07:39 AM

                      Hi Steve,

                      Yesterday I went to alibris.com and found hardbacks in very good condition of what looks like every book (including even memoirs - which I intend to buy along with about a dozen cookbooks today) Pierre Franey ever published for no more than $2.50 each! Only one was $2.50. The rest were $1.99. Shipping is $3.49. And if you sign up for their newsletter online you get an unlimited dollar-off per book coupon. Does life get any better than that, I ask you?

                      I frequently check strandbooks.com and you sometimes turn up super bargains on books that should be priced much higher, I suspect some of their pricers are behind the curve. But around New Years you can get a very classy canvas shopping bag - kind of a hipster look with their logo, shown below, free with a $20 purchase.

                      New York City
                      18 Miles of Books

                      1. re: niki rothman
                        steve h. Aug 9, 2007 01:53 PM

                        sounds like you hit the mother lode. congratulations!

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