480 pages, 9.5 × 6.38 × 1.43 in
April 23, 2013
Penguin Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1594204217
ISBN - 13: 9781594204210
About the Book
Pollan explores the 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. From the bestselling author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma."
Read from the Book
INTRODUCTIONWHY COOK? I. At a certain point in the late middle of my life I made the unexpected but happy discovery that the answer to several of the questions that most occupied me was in fact one and the same.Cook.Some of these questions were personal. For example, what was the single most important thing we could do as a family to improve our health and general well-being? And then what would be a good way to better connect to my teenage son? (As it turned out, this involved not only ordinary cooking but also the specialized form of it known as brewing.) Other questions were slightly more political in nature. For years I had been trying to determine (because I am often asked) what is the most important thing an ordinary person can do to help reform the American food system, to make it healthier and more sustainable? Another related question is, how can people living in a highly specialized consumer economy reduce their sense of dependence and achieve a greater degree of self-sufficiency? And then there were the more philosophical questions, the ones I’ve been chewing on since I first started writing books. How, in our everyday lives, can we acquire a deeper understanding of the natural world and our species’ peculiar role in it? You can always go to the woods to confront such questions, but I discovered that even more interesting answers could be had simply by going to the kitchen.I would not, as I said, ever have expected it. Cooking has always been a part of my life, but
From the Publisher
“Important, possibly life-altering, reading for every living, breathing human being." --Boston Globe
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.
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 reader 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. Cooking, above all, connects us.
The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large 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.
About the Author
MICHAEL POLLAN is the author of six previous books, including Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to The New York Times, he is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.
“[A] rare, ranging breed of narrative that manages to do all… It’s nothing short of important, possibly life-altering, reading for every living, breathing human being... In Pollan’s dexterous hands, we get the science, the history, the inspiration, ultimately the recipe. What feels like all of it. It doesn’t hurt that he also happens to be very funny.” --Boston Globe "Because of the power of his prose and his reasoning, Cooked may prove to be just as influential as Pollan’s seminal book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma… The results are fascinating, but the magic of Cooked lies not in its ability to unlock the secrets of slow-roasting a whole hog or brewing beer… No, what Pollan pulls off is even more impressive: He manages to illuminate the wealth of connections that stem from our DIY time in the kitchen.” --The Washington Post "As in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan is never less than delightful, full of curiosity, insight, and good humor. This is a book to be read, savored, and smudged with spatterings of olive oil, wine, butter, and the sulfuric streaks of chopped onion." —Outside “The book's surplus of fascinating tidbits—about everything from barbecue (which Pollan connects to ritual animal sacrifice) to the mysterious workings of bread yeast — makes it a feast for intellectual omnivores.” – Entertainment Weekly “Through cooking, Pollan argues, we clear a space, allowing ourselves not only to consider our sometimes troubled bond with nature but to reestablis