Mark Bittman

The food writer on works of fiction that nourish the mind and soul.



Mark Bittman is one of the country's best-known and most widely respected food writers. For 13 years he wrote "The Minimalist" column for the New York Times, and now he dispenses culinary wisdom and debates food policy in that publication's opinion pages. His How to Cook Everything books are mainstays of the modern kitchen, and the latest entry in the series, The Basics, delves into fundamental techniques that even experienced cooks can take to heart -- from how to boil an egg to how to properly salt pasta water. When we asked him to pick three favorites, Bittman responded, "I don't have three favorite books -- life is long in that regard -- but I have three faves from the last year. I just hope you're not expecting cookbooks!"


Books by Mark Bittman



Infinite Jest

By David Foster Wallace


"Some people think it's too long, but I found it too short. The most fun and intriguing and insightful read since maybe 100 Years of Solitude, or even Catch-22."







Something Happened

By Joseph Heller


"Speaking of Joseph Heller. If anyone but Heller had written this it would have been considered a masterwork. Sadly, Heller had to undergo cracks like 'How come you never wrote anything as good as Catch-22' (His pat reply: 'Neither did anyone else.')"





Oryx and Crake

By Margaret Atwood


"The best post-apocalypse novel in recent memory, and perhaps ever. Puts The Road to shame. And there's a sequel. (And, reportedly, a third book in the works.)"

July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).