Green eats, and fast

Twenty minutes and green.

Twenty minutes and green.

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

And to each will be bequeathed a Bible. A tome that guideth. It may come from God or a Chilton auto-repair manual or Wine Spectator, but it will be biblical, and it will be yours, and it will be mentioned in hushed speech. Let us bow our heads in prayer and with piety whisper what, to Auntie Ruth, are holy words:

Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less. It is not written by God, but a god named Mark Bittman.

Laugh not at Ruthie's bible, lest she laugh at yours.

Not only has Auntie Ruth mastered the vast, eternal mysteries of chilaquiles and fajitas, but coq au vin is even within her reach—in 20 minutes, thanks be unto her bible. It is as fun to eat chicken paprikash as it is to say “chicken paprikash.” Amen. Prepared in 20 minutes. Let us pray some more.

Gone are dinner parties when guests blanketh their faces and say, “That was really interesting.”

Heretofore unfathomable herb combinations, simple and sublime, now make sense. Ofttimes the direction as to how much spice to add is described in intuitive terms, not in quarter-teaspoon precision. It fits Auntie Ruth's penchant for inexactitude perfectly. In 20 minutes.

No, it is not Laurel's Kitchen, nor doth every page speak of organic farming. While published well before the current locavore rage, it's well-oriented toward serving food in season.

Bittman, reportedly a writer before he became a chefish gourmand, is rising from his rather considerable platform of The New York Times—where his recipes have held sway for years—into the realm of environmentalism. Along with Michael Pollan, he can safely be described as a leader within the food movement, and his attention to how our dinner table is connected umbilically to everything from the obesity epidemic to climate change to the farm bill might do more than a Kyoto Protocol or two in raising the issue to broader awareness.

Along with challenging Big Food in general and pesticide use in particular, he recently berated Beyoncé for on one hand enthusiastically joining Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, which encourages kids to exercise, and on the other hand bestowing the singer’s endorsement to Pepsi for a cool $50 million deal, effectively “renting her image to a product that may one day be ranked with cigarettes as a killer we were too slow to rein in,” he said in The New York Times.

Check him out. Amen.