Mark Bittman: Most Annoying Food Writer?

Bittman's decade long campaign to get people to stop deveining shrimp is getting really annoying, as he seems to be getting frustrated that people don't want to eat shrimp shit:

"Peeling shells for stock is a much better use of your time than deveining, which is a complete waste of energy. (For those who find this a repulsive statement: make a shallow cut on the back side of each shrimp with a paring knife, and pull out the black, threadlike vein. But seriously, use the time for something else.)"

Complete waste of time? Well, perhaps we don't like the taste of shrimp shit, Mark?

"There are several reasons for removing the intestine, the most obvious being the aesthetic appearance of the poop chute (I mean, how can you NOT look at it?!). In addition, the shrimp's colon and its contents can impart a disagreeable taste and gritty texture to the meat or dish." (Here.)

Right. I have had shrimp both ways, and they taste a lot better without the shit, believe it or not!

The way he writes his recipes is often also ridiculous. He gives one recipe, then several others where he substitutes multiple ingredients. Now, this can make sense, when there is only one or two substitutes of closely related items. But this week, for instance, we get "Substitute chopped walnuts for pickles, chopped Granny Smith apple for red onion and chopped celery for dill." Capers might be a substitute for pickles, but walnuts are not. He might as well have written "Substitute chopped celery for pickles, and chopped walnuts for dill." The recipe with the substitutions is often just about as long as the original and substitutes almost every ingredient: so why not just put in the new recipe? Because it is "cute" to do things the way he does.

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