When I was 20, my mother bought me a copy of Mark Bittman’s seminal How To Cook Everything as a housewarming gift for my first apartment. She handed it to me with the type of solemnity usually reserved for religious texts. “This,” she declared, “is one of the best cookbooks you will ever own.” It’s travelled with me to five different homes over the past five years. She wasn’t wrong.

But there are many people who aren’t as willing as I am to spend entire days in the kitchen undertaking laborious cooking experiments, and reasonably so. Not that Bittman’s original tome has many particularly time-consuming or overly complicated recipes — it’s just, if you’re anything like me, seemingly simple kitchen endeavors can sometimes turn into multi-hour projects. And that can make regularly making meals at home fairly daunting.

Bittman’s new cookbook, How To Cook Everything Fast, removes the question “Will I spend two hours on this chicken dish?” from the minds of the kitchen-phobic by explaining how to cut all the dilly-dallying out of meal-making, step-by-step. We sat down with him to talk about how something as basic as kitchen efficiency can be the secret to food system reform. Watch our video above to find out what he had to say!

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!