There's been a huge stir this week about US food writer Mark Bittman's post on 'Three recipes to change your life and the world'.
Bittman, a columnist for the New York Times and author of How to Cook Everything (also available as an App, incidentally) starts from the premise that no-one is cooking any more and that many see home-made food as more expensive than ready made meals. Which to be fair it can be but largely because we tend to eat way too much protein.
His argument is that anyone can master three simple recipes and that "the more we cook the healthier we and the planet will be." A great idea, simple to communicate but the crucial question is which recipes?
He chooses a stir-fry, a chopped salad and - this is the odd one - lentils with rice - all straightforward, wholesome and healthy but to be honest not that appealing to the average red-blooded male - or woman - going through one of the harshest winters in recent memory.
Having written a number of student cookbooks I've given quite a bit of thought in the past to this and I think mine would be:
A simple tomato-based pasta sauce to which you can add any number of other ingredients
A basic vegetable soup which can be adapted into all kinds of soupy stews
And, yes, perhaps that stir-fry
What would be yours? Remember they have to be simple, healthy and cheap. Not necessarily vegetarian but using a minimum of meat or fish.
If you want to see Bittman in action making his dishes there's a video of him on the Today show here.