When you argue, as I frequently do, that cooking has the potential to help us deal with many of our dietary problems, you often elicit a kind of “I don’t care, I hate cooking” response in addition to the expected “I don’t have time.” And that’s fine; cooking isn’t the only route to eating better, and besides, those who hate cooking, or can’t make the time for it, may be lucky enough to have someone else cook for them. As long as they wash the dishes.
But it pays to remember that it’s been 40 years or more since cooking went out of style for most Americans, and that a positive approach to it — one that encourages cooking and counters the ongoing marketing surge that helped make it seem so “unnecessary” — could help to change matters. And although that kind of approach can be effective with anyone (I’m constantly meeting people who began cooking in their 30s and 40s, for example), it’s bound to be most effective with kids, who haven’t yet been fully brainwashed to believe that there are better ways to spend their time than cooking — like watching television, for example!
Question: I don’t know if I could give up bacon and eggs. How do you brunch on VB6? Answer:Making the change is not as difficult as you might think. At first I craved a bagel with cream cheese or bacon. But my habits changed after a few weeks, and now I enjoy my VB6 breakfasts as much as I did the old ones. Oatmeal with fruit, a smoothie, or fruit salads are all great brunch options.
Q: What was your inspiration for writing VB6? A:After five years of success on VB6, I came to really believe in the lifestyle. Then I started to hear from friends and coworkers—even strangers—and realized it wasn’t just a quirky little thing.
Q: Do you have a favorite spicy seitan recipe that is VB6? A:I like pan-searing, roasting, or grilling setian and then tossing it in sauces or stir-fries.
Q: What’s a favorite go-to vegan lunch for you? A:I don’t have go-tos; I pretty much cook what I’ve got. But I would say my most frequent lunch is either chopped salad, if I have a bunch of veggies laying around; and if I don’t, I almost always have cooked beans and grains, so I’ll throw something together with them. Having said all of that, it’s rare that I’m home for lunch, so I hit a salad bar or go out for falafel.
Attention, significant others of mothers: Breakfast in bed is a thoughtful, time-honored gesture for Mother’s Day. There is, however, an alternative to a precariously balanced tray of eggs, orange juice and coffee, all of which she eats by herself while the kids hang around watching. That alternative is a simple but wonderful dinner, cooked by you and those same adorable children, eaten together at an actual table.
Here’s a three-course meal, easy enough for novice cooks to pull off and impressive enough so that those who know how to cook will be pleased. It features a chicken dish that may become a lifelong standard and a can’t-fail version of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s warm, soft chocolate cake.
I’ve also included a comprehensive battle plan — a timeline for everything you’ll need to do in the kitchen with suggestions for the tasks to delegate to your kids. (If they’re the better cooks, they can delegate to you.) Just remember: Even though you cooked, you still have to do the dishes.
I ate two hot dogs the other day. And now I’m going to talk about my feelings about junk food.
The circumstances were these: an early meeting at The Times, “breakfast” of a banana (and lucky to have that), and a morning of activities controlled by others.
Then there was a drive to the Jersey Shore. Just shy of noon, we stopped at a Garden State  Parkway rest area of the new style: a “choice” of bad fast food joints rather than just one. I begged my colleagues for some time to have a bite to eat. (It was a day that would include no lunch break.)
The choices were: prewrapped sandwiches, like smoked turkey with provolone on “whole grain” bread (it wasn’t); Burger King; Sbarro; TCBY; Quizno’s; Starbucks; Nathan’s. I was on the phone with a friend who largely shares my weaknesses and prejudices. I did not want a prewrapped sandwich, especially one that looked so dry and unappetizing. My first inclination was Burger King; he pronounced it “poison.”
O.K., but what wasn’t? Where was the real food? It didn’t exist. I gravitated toward Nathan’s. After all, I grew up going to Coney Island; my mother is from there. Nathan’s may not ever have been the best hot dog in New York, but it was iconic. Probably most important, the hot dog is to me comfort food. And it had been a long time.
The beauty of a one-pot meal is that you can get all your food groups in an easy to make, easy to clean up dish. It doesn’t matter if it’s vegetarian or laced with meat, a one-pot meal allows you to build textures and develop flavors in a simple manner. Pasta, tagine, stews… your options are limitless.
Read the rest of the article and check out the recipes, here.
I will be speaking at the Brooklyn Food Coalition on Tuesday. Order tickets here. Proceeds from ticket sales go to benefit the Brooklyn Food Coalition–working toward a healthy, just and sustainable food system for all!