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KITCHEN MATRIX by MARK BITTMAN REVIEWED


Kitchen Matrix
By Mark Bittman
Published by Pam Krauss books – Crown Publishing
ISBN# 978-0-8041-8801-2
364 Pages

Back Cover: Bestselling author Mark Bittman anthologizes his popular Matrix series in a boldly graphic new cookbook that emphasizes creativity, improvisation, and simplicity as the keys to varied cooking.

For years, Mark Bittman has shared his formulas, recipes, and kitchen improvisations in his popular New York Times Eat column, in which an ingredient or essential technique is presented in different variations in a bold matrix. Accompanied by striking photographs and brief, straightforward instructions, these thematic matrices show how simple changes in preparation and ingredient swaps in a master recipe can yield dishes that are each completely different from the original, and equally delicious. In Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix, Mark’s matrices come together to create a collection of over 400 flexible recipes covering vegetables, fruits, meats and chicken, and even desserts.  Whether you're cooking up soup (creamy, broth, earthy, or hearty), freezing ice pops (in fruity, savory, creamy, or boozy varieties), or preparing asparagus (steamed, roasted, stir-fried, or grilled), following Mark’s approach to culinary improvisation will deliver stand-out results. 

REVIEW: I had read the book A Bone to Pick by this author who also has a column in the New York Times Magazine called “Eat”, he started writing in 2011 and continues today. I found the book insightful and disturbing as I learned about the food we eat and where it comes from. Because I learned so much I couldn’t wait to check out one of his cook books. I found this book informative, fascinating and very helpful. I’m a visual learner and found the design and color pictures in this hardback book wonderful. 
In this book here are over 750 simple recipes and techniques to mix and match.

This cookbook has several categories; first there is the introduction to the book and how it all works. First there is the section on Appetizers and Entertaining, then Soups, Stews and sandwiches; Vegetables, Pasta, Grains and Beans; Fish and Seafood; Poultry and Eggs; Meat; Condiments and Seasonings; Fruit; Desserts and Baking.

I appreciated the fact that they included pictures of ingredients on one section. Some of these ingredients I’ve never seen in its original form only in a ground up form in a jar. I liked the fact that he puts together flavors that complement one another and taste good. He’s taken the guess work out cooking for me. I liked the section on entertaining. I love having a go to book where I can look at what’s in my cupboard and see what I can create from it. I’m excited that now I have a tool I can use to be creative and cook good healthy food.

Beautiful color pictures are on every page of this wonderful and helpful book. It’s said we first enjoy a meal with eyes; that is so true. Each chapter has an introduction to what to expect and how to use the recipes in each section. The recipes are simple and the instructions easy to follow with ingredients I can easily find in the local grocery store.

There are some fun sections I can’t wait to try like the one on burgers. The author says, “…for the sake of mixing it up – and frankly, because you probably don’t need me telling you how to make a classic burger – here are nine burgers that move beyond beef.” Oh, Yeah I think so!

I also can’t wait to start on the veggie chapter. This author says, “You can probably tell by the length of this chapter that I’m a little obsessed with vegetables. Not only are they what we should be eating more of than anything else, but there are nearly countless varieties that can be prepared (cooked or not), in an endless number of ways…this chapter is ordered largely by season, which is meant to facilitate the kind of ingredients – driven cooking that I highly recommend when it comes to produce.”

He encourages readers to see ingredients in the grocery story that look great and then go home and find recipes to make wonderful meals. There are a variety of recipes in the book that look yummy. He also includes a page on Vegetable show stoppers that are a substitute for meaty main courses. Some of the vegetables listed are corn, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, eggplant, root veggies and many more.

This is my new go to book for the vegetable seasons. I look forward to all I’m going to learn from this author. There is also a fun section titled Thanksgiving leftovers that is creative and know I’ll be using it really soon. Some of the desserts look great too. Some that stand out are the recipes on donuts, brownies, Ice pops and Fruit desserts look wonderful too. This book would make a great gift for the skilled and unskilled cook!

Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com

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