Saturday, 28 December 2013

Bibliophilia: ​Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation – Michael Pollan

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation – Michael Pollan

He is an author that I’ve read several books by, and always enjoy them a lot, including The Omnivore’s Dilemma, (highly recommended reading - the section on corn alone blew my mind) and The Botany of Desire, (where he posits the theory that instead of us manipulating plants for our own ends, plants manipulated us into manipulating them for their own ends. That they held out things we found desirable, and in so doing, they have been spread across the globe.)

The book is structured around the 4 “elements” and explores a cooking technique for each. Fire is explored through Barbecue. Water is explored through Braising. Air is explored through Bread. Earth is explored through Fermentation. He apprentices himself to various experts in each field in order to learn more about the culture and science behind different techniques. The book looks at cooking as a major part of what makes us human - that we manage to take things that are not digestible and use the cooking process as an external organ of digestion. But the book also explores cooking as a fun activity, one that makes us more self reliant and more appreciative of nature. It’s an eloquent and graceful treatise on the importance of bringing food and cooking back into the home.

If Pollan has a theme with some of the books that he has tackled so far, it’s the relationships between us and the food we eat - and how we seem to overlook how important it is on so many levels. Cooked isn’t so much a how to, but more of a why to – an anthropology of cooking.

No comments:

Post a Comment