Cooked is the newest offering from New York Times bestselling writer Michael Pollan.
Pollan is the author of several food related books including "The Omnivore's Dilemma: A
Natural History of Four Meals" and "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto".
This book begins with Pollan's realization that even though he has studied food
extensively, he has never given much thought to the food the comes from his own
kitchen. Intrigued and somewhat dismayed by our first world culture of microwaved pizza and frozen ready to eat peanut butter and jam sandwiches, he set out to learn why we no
longer cook at home. Relying on huge corporations to cook our food, we subject ourselves
to large quantities of fat, salt and sugar.
His journey to reclaim the food he eats is broken down to four catagories: fire,
water, earth and air. In the chapter titled fire, he learns from a North Carolina
barbecue pit master the method of cooking a whole hog over a wood coal fire. He
is pleasantly surprised to find a noticeable difference in the flavor of the finished
pork. Pollan takes the reader through similar journeys with braising, baking and
In the end, he learns that cooking connects us all and the cook stands between the
raw material of nature's gift of food and the culture that consumes it.