The Minimalist exits stage right. Cooks mourn.

Mark Bittman‘s “The Minimalist” column in the New York Times has been a long-time favorite.  He demystifies cooking to make anyone feel like they can whip up a fabulous meal with minimal technique or tools. Today, was his swan song column. I looked through his hand-picked 25 greatest hits and remembered where I was in my life when some were published or when I attempted making others.

Bittman’s column covered 13 years. And like T.S. Elliot’s iconic J. Alfred Prufrock, I found myself counting out my days in  coffee spoons. “Do I dare to each a peach?” (especially one glossy with pesticides).

So many of our life memories are tied to the sensory cues of food and meals shared. Where I was when I first tasted Tom Ka Kai Soup in little local dive, the taste of real bouillabaise in Marseille, the aroma of fresh chocolate chip cookies pulled from the oven, oozing chocolate on my lips. The first Thanksgiving Turkey I made (in an oven that died and we had to keep microwaving it until it was done).

Thanks for the memories. Thanks for the recipes. I look forward to Bittman’s next chapter. And to my own.

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