'Cooks get to put their hands on real stuff, not just keyboards and screens but fundamental things like plants and animals and fungi. They get to work with primal elements, too, fire and water, earth and air, using them - mastering them! - to perform their tasty alchemies.'
In a culture of celebrity chefs and food reality shows, in countries which are crammed with fresh ingredients flown in from every corner of the Earth, we nonetheless year-on-year wade ever deeper into a great swamp of processed foods. The more we watch food on television, the less food we actually prepare and cook.
Michael Pollan's marvellous new book is a clarion-call for the virtues and values of proper cooking - an essential, defining human activity which sits at the heart of our cultures, shapes family life and is in itself hugely enjoyable. In a series of brilliantly observed encounters with chefs from around the world, Pollan takes us on a journey through the fundamentals of cooking, uncovering the inner mysteries of everything from tiny specks of yeast to a whole hog roast. The result is an extremely funny and surprising book that encourages us to revel in the magical activity of making food.
Read Caroline Baum's Review:
I am a huge fan of Michael Pollan's writing on just about anything, from building himself a writing cabin in the woods (A Room of My Own), to his elegantly plausible theories about plants (the Botany of Desire is one of my most favourite titles, even before you get to the compelling analysis) and his call to arms for us to eat less processed food in The Omnivore's Dilemma. In Cooked, he explores the history and culture of how raw ingredients are transformed by fire, water, air and earth. He digresses jauntily into politics and philosophy. It is a nourishingly erudite and entertaining book, with lots of practical tips. Pollan's always boundless curiosity energises the prose to the point where it's not just your taste buds that are salivating, it's your entire brain.
About the Author
Michael Pollan is the author of five previous books, including In Defence of Food, a number one New York Times bestseller, and The Omnivore's Dilemma, which was named one of the ten best books of the year by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. Both books won the James Beard Award. A long-time contributor to the New York Times Magazine, he is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.
Number Of Pages: 480
Published: 24th April 2013
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.3
Weight (kg): 23.3
Edition Number: 1