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.
©2013 Michael Pollan (P)2013 Penguin Audio
This has given me so much to think about and changed my perspective in a lot of ways. It was nice to be inspired to try to make new things instead of being lectured or scared into stopping eating or lifestyle habits. The Netflix series is great, but as always, the book was so much better.
I had watched the 4-part Cooked series on Netflix before reading this. The book was (of course) way more detailed and contained quite a few parts not in the show. I highly recommend this!
One of the most talented authors I've ever read, writes about food again. This time about cooking, what it means, and even specifically HOW to cook certain things. Loved it!
Great book, great author! Really enjoyed listening to him explore new areas and bring them to life for us in his unique way. Very inspiring to try new things for myself!
The whole thing. I liked how Pollan broke it up in to different sections on food prep: fire, water, air and earth
Him......Audible should change this question
Ha, yes, it inspired me to start taking on some of the various cooking challenges that he did!
Definitely recommend this to anyone and I am probably going to listen/read some more Michael Pollan books.
This would have received a 5 star overall rating, but, that is reserved for 'Les Miserables', and other 'Great Books' - that is just me.
My wife had read this book, and she thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from listening to Mr Pollan's narration.
Mr. Pollan has written and narrated a wonderful book. I and my family will benefit from what he has done.
Read it and find your 'inner cook' re-vitalized!
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