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.)”