As both a Biologist &, a cook, I enjoyed hearing the science (& history) behind various cooking methods, the ways in which we humans have found our way to all the various foods, recipes, ferments that so many cultures enjoy. Evolution plays a large part in the story.
As a child I remember asking my "non-foodie" parents why & how people came up with so many cuisines (each culture, having its own signature foods/dishes, etc.). This book (finally) provides answers to some of those questions. Bravo to Pollan. His research (sometimes, hands-on, is Solid!).
Pollan is easy to listen to, likely because it's obvious from his voice, he cares about this subject (otherwise, he likely wouldn't have bothered to write a book on it).
Ah ha moments abound!
An Excellent title for ANYONE who eats! ;)
Just like his other books this book is both highly informative and greatly entertaining. I can't get enough. It's kind of a foodie's gonzo journalism where Pollan's experience and reflections are part of the education. Pollan does do a fine job as narrator, but I do miss Scott Brick the narrator of Omnivore's Dilemma! Scott is like drinking your first ever IPA. At first it's off-putting, and then after a couple you can't wait for another.
This book answered many questions for me, and gave me the opportunity to discover previously unappreciated aspects of food and cooking, as well as the nuts and bolts mechanics of how food goes from raw ingredients to a great meal. I particularly enjoyed the way he divided the topics to correspond to preparation. I actually came away feeling like I could, and should, attempt some of the more advanced cooking techniques that he describes. Extremely well written and as entertaining as it is informative!
I would listen to "Cooked" again because there were so many metaphors about cooking and life that it was hard to put them all in order. It was very good to see how we are shaped by our culture reflected in our food.
If the section on bread doesn't make you want to go out and sample a good loaf of artisan bread or better yet to make you yearn to learn how to make it then something is wrong. While listening to this section I could almost smell the bread baking.
There was an ease to what he was saying.
I listened to it in two sittings, so that was close. It is that good.
Edit out the howlingly ignorant prononouncements from anthrolopology and quotes-from-the-classics
Too much fluff obscures his tales of adventures among the foodies.
His observations on how we eat are interesting the first time around, but can not withstand his hectoring repetitions
audio is the wrong format - this should be skimmed page by page, not audited from start to finish
Only Michael Pollan can take the idea of how we cook our food and make that most basic of activities relate to who we are and how we came to be human.
I was intrigued by the idea that we are the only animals who cook our food...and that may be what, in fact, what allowed our brains to get enough energy-dense meals fast enough to allow our energy-hog brains to develop. Fire also took us from solitary hunter/gatherers to social beings. The last chapter, about fermentation, was absolutely fascinating. What we have done to damage the microflora we need in our co-evolution with the microbial world is the information we need to make better decisions as a society.
I've never heard Michael Pollan read before, and, of course, he is the perfect voice for his words. He is a charming and engaging reader. (In a tiny comment, he do wish he say genu-in rather then genu-wine.)
I am an unabashed fan of this writer whose brilliance and intriguing topics touch all of us in such fundamental ways!
Say something about yourself!
Very thought provoking! Enjoyed his views and thoughts on modern day food culture, or lack there of. I already do most of my shopping at the farmers market and cook most meals. However, I will definitely be trying my hand at bread making after reading this book.
I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile
Botany of Desire made me think about our close relationship to food and Omnivore's Dilemma was laid out so we could follow an entire meal from garden or farm to the table. In this book Michael plots the history of cooking from its primitive inception to the present. We learn that it is cooking that truly separates us from animals. He goes through barbeque, boiling, fermenting and distilling. Michael makes us think we should all go out and try our hands at some old fashion craft like baking bread or brewing beer for the sheer joy of making something we have come to expect prepackaged at the supermarket. I also happen to agree with Michael that Americans seem to want to watch cooking shows,but not to engage in cooking. This summer I suggested my friends and I cook something at home. It seemed to me like people want to go out just for the opportunity to all eat something different. I love the idea of sharing different techniques and personal feeling I get from eating a friends food or seeing what they think of my creations. America's kitchen all seems to come from a box or a can. Now that I live in China I have tried my hand at things like hummus or soup. We don't have Campbell's here. This is another great work, but I still feel like Omnivore's Dilemma was his best. It made me think about how industrialize food has become.As our time strapped world wants everything in an instant; we become a world that loses appreciation for the preparation of wholesome and delicious food and the skills to bring out its inherent flavor.
First off, I'm a total Michael Pollan fan. I first read "Food Rules" many years ago, which made so much sense that it became the springboard for my becoming vegan, a lifestyle that has lasted and lasted. Each and every one of his books has rekindled my commitment to stay away from processed foods and the other over-manufactured foods on the grocery shelves.
"Cooked" takes the next step. Pollan uses the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) to show us the delights of home cooking and the benefits therein. While I don't eat meat, I still enjoyed his adventures thru barbeque and braising (without any desire to try the foods he cooked), but it was his adventures into bread baking and fermentation that really spurred my imagination.
Pollan, a polished and award winning writer, takes the under-recognized elements of food and nutrition and makes them mystical. For example, the intricate interplay of microbes used in bread baking become characters in the drama of the baked loaf. He has an understanding of the interrelationship between food and society that made me sit back and sigh. Yes, it's all so clear now.
This is a very special book ... a perfect companion to Michael Moss' "Salt Sugar Fat." We can turn the current health crisis around if we listen to these sages of food.
I could write more, but I need to go punch down the bread dough that is rising in the kitchen....
i real enjoyed how the book talk about how the food we eat comes in to being