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How to Eat Now Home Cooking Mark Bittman Time Magazine Cover
Photo-illustration by Andrew B. Myers for TIME

The Truth About Home Cooking
Bestselling food writer Mark Bittman makes the case that eating at home is good for your health, good for your family—and, with the right approach, far easier than you think

Mark Bittman’s Whole Roast Chicken

Mark Bittman’s Vegetable Soup

Mark Bittman’s Skillet Pear Crisp

The Future of Food: Experts Predict How Our Plates Will Change
Foodies and futurists on vertical gardens, low-carbon fridge stocks and more solutions

A Troubled American Moment
As conspiracy theories abound, voters are uncertain about what to believe

Banking by Another Name
Traditional lenders aren’t doing their job. Enter a raft of startups to do it for them

Ebola Panic Goes Viral
America is in panic mode over Ebola and Enterovirus D-86. That’s human nature —but it’s hard to battle an epidemic from a crouch. Here’s how managing fear can give us an edge over disease

The Paperless Classroom is Coming
A national push to get a computer into each student’s hands will upend the way American children are taught

A New Generation Speaks in Hong Kong
The city’s protests may be waning—but the battle for democracy will continue

The Culture

Pop Chart

Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr.’s New Father-Son Act
The Judge casts the leading actors in a family affair

Bill Murray’s Bad Saint
The actor gets a heart transplant in the hokey St. Vincent

Review: Stars’ No One Is Lost
The high-risk, high-reward Canadian group releases its seventh album

Gina Rodriguez’s Happy Accident
The actress may be the biggest miracle in Jane the Virgin

Kerry Howley’s Fighting Words
One writer’s journey through the world of mixed martial arts

Meet the Computer Age’s Original Minds
Walter Isaacson’s new book celebrates unlikely pioneers

Brain Builder
Creating the world’s smartest artificial mind

The App Fueling Hong Kong’s Protest
FireChat lets users communicate even when they can’t get online or send text messages

Why We Just Might Avoid a Climate Catastrophe
Do worry. But here are the reasons to be happy

On Becoming a Better Feminist
Like many celebrities, I support #HeForShe. I just needed some help getting my message out

10 Questions with Jennifer Garner
The actor talks about what she does on the Internet, sex ed and beating Ben Affleck at the box office

Conversation

Briefing

World

Milestones

Marian Seldes
Star of stage and screen

Nobel Prize
Discoverers of “brain’s GPS”

Little Peace in Sight for Ferguson

In Nobody’s Playbook
Three high school football players die within a week

Who Is Khorasan?
Simple: al-Qaeda

Age-Proof Your Muscles
New research pinpoints the ideal moves to protect the male body as it ages

A Tale Of Two Viruses
Ebola and enterovirus D68 have Americans on edge. Here’s how the government is trying to contain them

The Contest Behind the Election
A flurry of changes to ballot laws opens old wounds

TIME Food

Mark Bittman’s Whole Roast Chicken

Mark Bittman Chicken
Grant Cornett for TIME

Whole Roast Chicken

Makes 4 or more servings
Time: about an hour, largely unattended

1 3-to-4-lb. whole chicken
4 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 whole heads garlic (optional)
2 lemons, halved (optional)

1. Heat oven to 450°F. Put a heavy roasting pan with a wire rack (optional) on a low rack in the oven. Trim any excess fat from chicken, rub with 2 tbsp. of olive oil, and sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Slice garlic crosswise to trim off tips and reveal cloves.

2. When oven is hot, put chicken, breast side up, in the middle of the heated pan. Tuck garlic and lemons around the outside and drizzle with remaining oil. Roast, undisturbed, for 40 to 50 min.; the chicken is done when a quick-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 155°F to 165°F or when its juices run clear and there are no traces of pink in the meat.

3. Transfer chicken to a platter and let it rest for at least 5 min. If you’re eating the chicken right away, quarter it or cut it into parts and serve with the garlic, lemon and some of the pan juices. To store in the fridge, let the chicken cool, then cut it into parts. Store it with the garlic and lemon in a freezer bag or tightly sealed container for up to a week.

-Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

TIME

Mark Bittman’s Vegetable Soup

Mark Bittman Vegetable Soup
Grant Cornett for TIME

Vegetable Soup

Makes 4 servings
Time: 20 to 40 min., depending on the desired texture

1⁄4 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups any chopped frozen vegetables
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1. Put olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens a bit, 2 to 3 min. Add garlic, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2 to 3 min.

2. Meanwhile, organize packages of vegetables on your counter from firmest (longest–cooking, like squash or beans) to most tender (like spinach and other greens). Start adding the vegetables, firmest first, stirring occasionally until they thaw and begin to get tender. (Timing will vary by vegetable; test frequently.)

3. Continue adding and stirring, adjusting the heat to prevent burning, until the vegetables in the pot begin to brown in places. Add the stock, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring once or twice, until the soup comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a steady bubble and cook until the vegetables are as tender as you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then pour the soup into 4 bowls, drizzle with more olive oil and serve.

-Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

TIME

Mark Bittman’s Skillet Pear Crisp

Mark Bittman Skillet Pear Crisp
Grant Cornett for TIME

Skillet Pear Crisp

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Time: 15 to 20 min.

6 tbsp. (3⁄4 stick) butter
1⁄2 cup chopped
walnuts or pecans
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1⁄2 cup rolled oats
1⁄4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1⁄3 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
Salt
2 lb. pears, unpeeled but trimmed, cored and chopped

1. Put 5 tbsp. butter in large skillet over low heat. When butter is melted, add nuts, lemon zest, oats, coconut, packed brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt; toss to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until topping is golden and crisp, 6 to 8 min. Remove from the pan; no need to wipe it out. (The topping can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container up to a day or so in advance.)

2. Put 1 tbsp. butter in the skillet over medium heat. When it’s melted, add fruit and cook, stirring occasionally until pears are soft but not mushy, 5 to 6 min. Scatter the topping over the warm fruit and serve. (This recipe can be made with any fruit you like, including berries, apples and mangoes. Adjust cooking time based on firmness of the fruit.)

-Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

TIME nation

A Troubled American Moment

As conspiracy theories abound, voters are uncertain about what to believe

“How do you feel about the federal government buying tons of ammunition for the post office in order to raise the price of ammo for gun owners?” was the first question I got at a town meeting in Shreveport, La. Kevin and Lois Martello, a dentist and speech therapist, respectively, had put together a group of 15 friends and neighbors to talk politics, and it was pretty intense from the start. I asked Lee Foshee, who had raised the post-office question, where he’d heard that. He told me he had several sources. One of them may have been the right-wing Breitbart website, I later learned, which has been tracking ammo sales to federal agencies. Breitbart didn’t mention the price-raising strategy, but Bill Kostelka, a certified public accountant, confirmed that he’d had to stand in line to buy .22-caliber rounds recently. (For the record: the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is armed and needs ammo from time to time.)

It’s hard to know what to believe,” said Lois Martello, the host, who seemed as nonplussed by the post-office-ammo conspiracy as I was. She and her husband were a bit more moderate than some of their friends. “Especially in the election season,” she continued, “when all the ads are on the air. But even on the news, it’s hard to tell what’s real.” I was tempted to defend my profession, but we seemed to be in a full-fledged American Moment, and I didn’t want to kill the buzz. Anyway, Kevin Martello, Lois’ husband, tried to take the conversation “in a different direction,” he said. “I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty concerned that the top 1% of the population controls 40% of the wealth in this country.”

There were a couple of head nods but not much commentary. There was more concern about government waste than about unseen wealth. Indeed, another chorus of consternation ensued, this time about food stamps. Waylon Bates, the principal of the local middle school, said he’d seen people “buying T-bone steaks and giant bottles of orange soda” with government scrip. Others said they’d seen the very same thing. And Foshee said he’d seen long lines at a combination liquor store and check-cashing place–a fine establishment, no doubt–on the day the Social Security disability checks came out each month.

I have heard the T-bone steak and orange-soda riff a number of times on road trips in recent years. It is always T-bone steaks. Sometimes it’s dog food too. Is it true? Maybe so; there are food-stamp abuses, no doubt. Or maybe it happened once, someone saw it, and the story spread, sprayed into the atmosphere by talk radio. It is now an urban (and rural) legend. The food-stamp stories mix with more purposeful fantasies spread by interest groups, like the National Rifle Association’s constant spew that the government wants to “take away” your guns rather than merely regulate their use. And then there are the immigrant stories: Kostelka heard about a carload of Mexicans stopped by the local police without driver’s licenses or proof of residency. “And they were given a fine and set free,” he said. True, no doubt, but incomplete: fewer would-be immigrants have been crossing the border in recent years, and the Obama Administration has been sending record numbers back home.

Democrats are swimming against the prevailing cynicism as they attempt to retain the Senate this year. Across the South, their candidates are placing a heavy bet on women’s issues, especially equal pay, and education. In some places, like North Carolina, where a traditional emphasis on education spending has been violated by the Republican state legislature, they have a chance to win. In Louisiana, where Senator Mary Landrieu is facing a virtual candidate named Bill Cassidy–local reporters claim they can’t find the guy, and I couldn’t either–the incumbent is facing a real hurdle. The hurdle is Barack Obama, about whom the crazy rumors are–still!–thick, and the ads are constant: each of the incumbent Democratic Senators running in the Southern states I visited has voted with the President more than 90% of the time. That is one thing every voter who enters the polls will know next month.

There is also an undercurrent of fear–about ISIS and Ebola–that does not help the Democrats. Most of the people I talked with don’t think this federal government is competent to handle anything. And there is an undercurrent of exhaustion, especially among Democrats who have talked themselves silly trying to dispel the rumor fog that has engulfed political discourse. These are stories that stick in the mind and rot the body politic. They are a dominant political currency, and not just in the South.

TO READ JOE’S BLOG POSTS, GO TO time.com/politics

TIME Banking

Banking by Another Name

Traditional lenders aren't doing their job. Enter a raft of startups to do it for them

You know credit is tight when the former chair of the Federal Reserve can’t get a mortgage. Ben Bernanke, who isn’t exactly hard up (he reportedly makes at least $200,000 a speech), recently lamented that he wasn’t able to refinance his home because of tight credit conditions. This is an inglorious reminder that the housing recovery is being driven not by first-time home buyers or people who want to trade up but by wealthy people who don’t need a loan. Since most middle-class Americans still hold most of their wealth as equity in their homes, we won’t achieve a sustainable recovery until we fix the housing market.

Banks would say the difficult credit conditions reflect the higher costs of complying with new regulations like Dodd-Frank. There’s some truth to that but not enough to justify turning down nearly any borrower who can’t put down 30% cash on a house. A more accurate explanation is that home-mortgage lending isn’t nearly as profitable as securities trading, which is where big banks still make much of their money these days. And so, hidden in the sluggish housing recovery is another revolution: American banks continue to morph into investment houses in ways that could ultimately put our financial system at risk.

Rather than Bemoan this, I am encouraged by some of the innovative companies trying take advantage of these shifts. A whole new category of nontraditional lenders is springing up to take traditional banking’s place. Nonbank financial firms, a category that includes everything from companies like Detroit-based Quicken Loans to peer-to-peer lenders like the Lending Club, are growing exponentially. (Peer-to-peer lending is the relatively new practice of lending money to unrelated individuals without going through a traditional intermediary like a bank.) This category of nonbank banks is taking up a lot of the slack left by traditional banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis. During the first half of this year, almost a quarter of mortgages made by the top 30 lenders came from nonbank firms, the highest level since the financial crisis began.

Many of these lenders use unconventional metrics to judge how creditworthy borrowers really are. They’re focusing not just on borrowers’ salary and tax returns, which are the basis of most traditional mortgage-lending calculations, but also on their field of work, what kind of degree program they are in or what their potential income trajectory might be.

Such metrics enable these lenders to take on risks that traditional banks now shun. “There’s a misperception out there that millennials don’t want to buy a home,” explains Mike Cagney, CEO of Social Finance, a company that has already done over $1 billion in crowdsourced student-loan refinancing and is now pushing into the online mortgage market. “But the reality is that they don’t have the credit to do it.” Cagney says many of his initial mortgage borrowers mirror the profile of the customers to whom he gives reduced-rate student loans–upwardly mobile young professionals, many with degrees from top schools, who have bright futures in high-income professions but little cash in the bank. Particularly on the coasts, where real estate prices are high, it is nearly impossible for a young person to buy a home with a traditional credit profile.

Of course, it’s not only upwardly mobile future members of the 1% who deserve a break on credit. Research shows that many low-income borrowers with steady jobs are much better credit risks than they look like on paper. One University of North Carolina study found that even poor buyers could be better-than-average credit risks if judged on metrics other than how much cash they have on hand. That’s not to say we should have runaway borrowing as we did in the run-up to 2008, but credit standards are still very tight relative to historical averages.

Nontraditional lending has already shown there is an alternative to the not-very-public-minded banking system we have in place now. That raises the question, Why should big banks whose primary business model is no longer consumer lending be government-insured in the first place? (Many would argue that the bailout guarantee implicit in such insurance was the reason the too-big-to-fail institutions were able to leverage up and cause the subprime crisis in the first place.) Perhaps the safest thing would be for banking as a whole to go back to a model in which institutions simply keep a lot more cash on hand, or have unlimited liability as a hedge against risk taking? Who knows? That might make mortgage lending look good again.

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