NYT Food Writer Mark Bittman Bids Readers Farewell

THIS is my last regular opinion column on food for The Times. I’m leaving to take a central role in a year-old food company, to do what I’ve been writing about these many years: to make it easier for people to eat more plants. (“Oh,” say my friends, “you move to California and join a start-up.” Yup. Corny as can be.) I see it as putting philosophy into action and will talk about details soon.

Between time pressures and potential conflicts of interest (you shouldn’t pitch a venture capitalist and write about a company he’s funded the following week), I can’t do both. Even if I could, the choice wasn’t that difficult, and in many ways this column has run its course.

When I began, nearly five years ago, food was not generally considered as serious a topic as it is now. When I met with Andrew Rosenthal, The Times’s editorial page editor, he asked if there were enough food issues to sustain a weekly column. I laughed and promised him a list of 75 ideas the next morning. I underdelivered by a couple of dozen, but I still gave him 50; both of us are happy it worked out.