What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Is it possible to be a great chef and a vegan chef?

Mark Bittman: Yes, there is a great vegan chef.  I mean, there are a few at this point and yes, I think that it's -- actually, this is an interesting story, I met a vegan chef from Japan a couple of years ago.  Tiny, tiny woman, really interesting, and not a vegan in her personal life.  But she was a vegan chef.  She ran a small, maybe 12- or 20-seat, restaurant in Tokyo and everything was strictly vegan.  And when I found out that she wasn't a vegan, I said I don't get this.  I mean why would you choose to -- it's not a matter of principle for you because you eat meat, you eat fish, why would you choose to narrow what you serve your customer when you yourself eat from the broadest spectrum possible and she said it's like pen and ink.  There are people who choose to be artists in only pen and ink because they want to narrow the world in which they're looking at so as to more fully explore it and I want to narrow the world in which I'm cooking so I can understand it better and she was an amazing, amazing chef.  She made great, great stuff.

Question: What do you think is behind the cult popularity of food and cooking over the past decade?

Mark Bittman:  I'd be guessing to answer that question and it’s a confluence of a bunch of things.  I mean, first off, I guess, is that we like fads, I mean we like trends.  So here's one that hadn't been fully exploited.  Secondly, Food Television really has had a huge impact.  I mean, cooking and eating as a spectator sport, never before in history.  So that's had a huge impact. Third, I think, is the kind of internationalization of food people -- not only people traveling and seeing food from the rest of the world, but ingredients and types of cuisines and restaurants arriving here in unprecedented numbers.

So I think I guess the short answer is exposure but it still doesn’t explain walking into a party and having someone come up to you and say, "I'm a foodie," and there's something about this sort of trendiness, it's like saying, I'm a clothes person.  Well, yes, we all wear clothes; I'm a clothes person, too. 

The thing that makes me most upset about this big fad is that more people are not cooking and that -- I think it's fine to watch other people cook but then people say, "Well, I'm too busy to cook," and they're too busy to cook because they are watching people cook on television.  It doesn’t track for me.  I think it's really, really bad.

More from the Big Idea for Saturday, June 25 2011

 

Gourmet Vegan and the Cult ...

Newsletter: Share: