I set a goal about 3 weeks ago to read a book a week. Well, that did not go as planned right from the start. My first book I did read in a week, my second took me 2 weeks. Towards the end of the week that I should’ve finished my second book, I got super sick. Did not feel like reading at all, but I’ve since recuperated and have finished book number 2 and now back on track and have started book number 3.
So, here is my little review on Cooked by Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma)…
I also saw that this book is now a Netflix show! Anyways, the book was a good read. It was broken up into four parts: fire, water, air, and earth. As you can tell, each section dealt with one of those four elements and its involvement with food. It was pretty cool to have themed sections; it was an precursor as to what was going to come next.
For example (hopefully not giving to much away), the fire section had to do with barbecue, water had a bunch to do crock pots, air was about baking bread, and earth was about fermentation. Michael Pollan would travel around, coming across people/chefs that specialized in each of these areas. It was not so much about him learning to cook, which he definitely did, but how he tied in the food that we eat with how we’ve “evolved” as humans.
When I use the word evolved, the book talks about it literally, but also how we’ve become very social. Barbecuing is a lot of waiting around, especially if you cooking a whole pig. So, what is it that you do while you wait for this pig to cook for 24 hours? You sit around with your buddies, have some beer, and chat it up. That just one of the numerous ways Pollan shows how food and cooking as contributed to our “evolution” as human beings.
I take it by now (maybe) from this quick review, that you’ve figured out that the underlying message of this book is that with everything in our lives today, in our Western society and spreading across the globe, most of what we do and even what we eat is done for us. Its changing how we are…who we are.
Cooking is more than just filling our bellies, its shaped societies, its made us…us.