We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation | [Michael Pollan]

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements - fire, water, air, and earth - to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world....
Regular Price:$31.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Fire, water, air, earth - our most trusted food expert recounts the story of his culinary education

In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements - fire, water, air, and earth - to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture. Both realms are transformed by cooking, and so, in the process, is the cook.

Each section of Cooked tracks Pollan's effort to master a single classic recipe using one of the four elements. A North Carolina barbecue pit master tutors him in the primal magic of fire; a Chez Panisse-trained cook schools him in the art of braising; a celebrated baker teaches him how air transforms grain and water into a fragrant loaf of bread; and finally, several mad-genius "fermentos" (a tribe that includes brewers, cheese makers, and all kinds of picklers) reveal how fungi and bacteria can perform the most amazing alchemies of all. The listener learns alongside Pollan, but the lessons move beyond the practical to become an investigation of how cooking involves us in a web of social and ecological relationships: with plants and animals, the soil, farmers, our history and culture, and, of course, the people our cooking nourishes and delights. Cooking, above all, connects us.

The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume huge quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2013 Michael Pollan (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (905 )
5 star
 (503)
4 star
 (281)
3 star
 (83)
2 star
 (28)
1 star
 (10)
Overall
4.3 (797 )
5 star
 (433)
4 star
 (238)
3 star
 (93)
2 star
 (24)
1 star
 (9)
Story
4.4 (797 )
5 star
 (475)
4 star
 (211)
3 star
 (82)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jane Rogers, AR 12-22-14
    Jane Rogers, AR 12-22-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    126
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating!"

    Michael Pollan does it again with humor, incredible history and hands on experience. The first section was a bit intense, but still fascinationg. I love the journalistic approach and yet it feels and is very personal.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 09-17-14
    Michael 09-17-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow, just wow"
    What made the experience of listening to Cooked the most enjoyable?

    Pollan's unique and rich storytelling style truly made this audiobook experience special, on top of his incredible writing of the book to begin with


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cooked?

    I loved hearing about his experiences exploring BBQ and learning the ropes himself. I loved how he tied in the use of fire in ritual.


    What does Michael Pollan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Hearing him read his own writing, it made the book more personal and intimate than just reading it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shivani 08-04-14
    Shivani 08-04-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classy Food Erotica"
    Would you listen to Cooked again? Why?

    I have already listened to it again.
    Everything looks palatable and acceptable against a background of beautiful food and its seductive description. This book is perfect for readers who want to read about food - and about life in context to food. Michael Pollan so cleverly touches upon myriad 'touchy' issues such as religion, gender, as well as our present day lives.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cooked?

    Pollan describing his family's microwave night experiment...


    What does Michael Pollan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Oh after listening to him, I feel all authors should try reading their own books. He brought so much life to the book. Also, only he knew what tone he meant the written words in the book to be read in...if that makes sense.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    About how humans justify animal sacrifice


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    melissa miles 03-26-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hands-down, the BEST Pollan to date!"
    What did you love best about Cooked?

    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.


    What did you like best about this 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!).


    What about Michael Pollan’s performance did you like?

    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).


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Ah ha moments abound!


    Any additional comments?

    An Excellent title for ANYONE who eats! ;)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Artziggy 03-11-14
    Artziggy 03-11-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining and Thought-provoking"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Nashville, TN 12-12-13
    Chris Nashville, TN 12-12-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An outstanding description of the art and science"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Nedreberg Eureka, Utah 12-05-13
    Thomas Nedreberg Eureka, Utah 12-05-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    185
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So good it will make you hungry"
    Would you listen to Cooked again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cooked?

    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.


    What about Michael Pollan’s performance did you like?

    There was an ease to what he was saying.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to it in two sittings, so that was close. It is that good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christy 11-10-13
    Christy 11-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pollan does it again! Brilliant and compelling"
    If you could sum up Cooked in three words, what would they be?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Michael Pollan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.)


    Any additional comments?

    I am an unabashed fan of this writer whose brilliance and intriguing topics touch all of us in such fundamental ways!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaime 09-20-13
    Jaime 09-20-13

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Interesting!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    melissa mairtta, GA, United States 09-02-13
    melissa mairtta, GA, United States 09-02-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    31
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "where did what eat come from"
    What did you love best about Cooked?

    i real enjoyed how the book talk about how the food we eat comes in to being


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 21-30 of 43 results PREVIOUS12345NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.