Mark Bittman Explains Why He Joined New York and Returned to Writing

The former New York Timesman catches readers up with life since he left

It was in September 2015 that Mark Bittman wrote his last regular food column for the Times, the aptly headlined A Farewell, leaving the Times for Purple Carrot, the vegan answer to Blue Apron.

The author of the Cook Everything franchise is back, but at New York magazine instead of the Times, and is once again penning a column, this time for Grub Steet. His first one went up yesterday, but his first bit of writing for the publication came two hours earlier, when he caught readers up with his life, and the state of his psyche, during the last year and a half or so.

The psyche part improved, bolstered by a move to Berkeley, California, some really good citrus, and freedom from deadline. “Without weekly deadlines for the first time since 1980, the rhythm of my life changed and, probably not surprising, I’ve become less anxious,” he wrote.

But the lure of writing fated his return. “I ultimately came to miss the weekly writing,” he wrote. “It certainly wasn’t the torture of feeling like the only time ‘off’ was between filing a story on Tuesday and its appearance that night or the next morning; it was having a voice that people seemed to want to hear. So I began talking with the people here, at New York, which felt like the best possible home.”

His first column is headlined The New Foodieism, which, thankfully, does not refer to an Instagramming, secret restaurant-attending Yelper on steroids, but rather the idea of being alert to food justice issues, from the underpaid workers on every part of the chain that ends with what’s in someone’s fridge to free school lunch to responsible farming.

There will be more of that in future columns, but Bittman will also be writing about cooking for the publication.