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Cooked Audiobook

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

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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 the Critics Say

"Pollan narrates his book in a conversational style filled with conviction and eagerness that drive the listener to join his evolutionary quest." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1363 )
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  •  
    Laura 02-03-16
    Laura 02-03-16
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    "Illuminating and inspiring!"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Tampa, FL 11-01-15
    Brian Tampa, FL 11-01-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Highly recommend"
    Where does Cooked rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 10


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cooked?

    The whole thing. I liked how Pollan broke it up in to different sections on food prep: fire, water, air and earth


    Which character – as performed by Michael Pollan – was your favorite?

    Him......Audible should change this question


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

    Ha, yes, it inspired me to start taking on some of the various cooking challenges that he did!


    Any additional comments?

    Definitely recommend this to anyone and I am probably going to listen/read some more Michael Pollan books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred S. Mueller 09-07-15

    Reader Guy

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    "Great book! Very, very well read!"

    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!

    fm

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nickjrusso 07-20-15
    nickjrusso 07-20-15
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    "Such great investigations of human/microbial culture"

    Pollan is attentive and careful, respectful and earnest in his investigation of the different food cultures he examines throughout this book. It was a joy to listen also to his voice tell the story of his journeys, complete with contextual accents preserved.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Logan 06-24-15
    Logan 06-24-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great book!"

    Fantastic! Very exciting and inspiring! I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about food.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin 05-27-15
    Martin 05-27-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Captivating"

    This book gave me a lot to think about when it comes to the eating and prepping of food. I recommend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas B. 04-08-15
    Thomas B. 04-08-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Groan!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who enjoys information less and flowery empty prose more.


    What was most disappointing about Michael Pollan’s story?

    The story might be good but I keep just groaning in remorse as he once again mounts the steed of unimaginitive thesaurus work to inflate a decent set of words into somehow literary artistry.

    He normally fails and honestly after 2 hours he was giving me anxiety like watching an overconfident middleschooler give a book report.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Michael Pollan?

    I enjoyed the omnivores dilemma, and botany of desire was great


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom


    Any additional comments?

    Final note as a southerner: He does not get barbecue, and his ridiculous parable of a chinese farmer inventing roasted meat was obnoxiously mentioned too often.

    All I want is to be enraptured about a subject like bill bryson. Random year in the 1900's, this old house, that worlds fair....but somehow its interesting. This book is taking one of the most interesting premises, cooking, and manages to crush it to a dry mouth powder.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    justine 04-07-15
    justine 04-07-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great!"

    I love Michael Pollan's books but sometimes found them hard to get through. This was my first audible book and what a difference listening made! Michael was gave a great, personal performance. I can't wait to read the rest of the collection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Rachel 03-29-15
    Rachel 03-29-15
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    "Enlivening."

    Easy to listen to. Each section took me to my kitchen. I how to try all these some day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Rogers, AR 12-22-14
    Jane Rogers, AR 12-22-14 Member Since 2012
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    "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

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