This isn't the last we'll see of Mark Bittman, by any means. Starting next week, he'll have a regular column in the Opinion section where he'll tackle issues of food policy, sustainability, and as he calls it, "conscious eating." Thankfully, it sounds like we'll still get regular doses of his recipes via The Times Magazine, a new show on the Cooking Channel, and occasional Minimalist re-appearances.
We can't say we're entirely surprised at this change. Thirteen years is a very long run for a column. By his count, that's nearly 700 articles - and recipes! We might want a little change after that long, too.
Moving to the Opinion section feels like a natural progression from his past few years at The Minimalist. As Bittman describes in his farewell column (see link below), the one of the biggest changes in the column has been "a gradual shift of focus from meat, poultry and fish at the center of the plate to, well, something other than that." He sees his new column as a way to even more effectively advocate for "eater's rights" and bring food issues to the forefront of conversation.
At the same time, we'll sorely miss Bittman's voice in the Food section and wonder if an opinion column will really have the same punch as a recipe column. The recipes really showed us how to put action to ideas, giving us concrete examples for integrating home cooking into busy schedules and eating in a way that would be healthier for us and our environment. The issues brought up in regular news columns can sometimes feel a little harder to actually put into practice. We'll be curious to see what Bittman does with the change of venue and audience.
What do you think about all of this?
More on The Minimalist:
• Mark Bittman Ends the Minimalist Column After 13 Years - the original announcement in Yahoo! News
• The Minimalist Makes His Exit - Bittman's farewell column in The New York Times
• The Minimalist Chooses His 25 Favorites - Bittman's all-time favorite columns
• Every Minimalist Column Ever - In case the top 25 aren't enough for you!
(Image: Leela Cyd Ross)