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Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, by Michael Pollan

Date: September 8, 2014 Category: , ,

When I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2007), I was convinced it was Pollan’s masterwork: journalistic and opinionated in equal measure, with enough personalization to keep me interested while I swallowed some difficult truths about why we eat the way we do. I was wrong. If The Omnivore’s Dilemma made us think about the impact the world has on our meals, Cooked shows us the impact that our meals can have on the world. With spiritual, social, and environmental-political insights, Pollan tells stories about how he learned to use the transformational power of the four classical elements (fire, water, air and earth), to turn the materials of nature into different dishes. Above all, he makes the argument that spending the time and energy it takes to practice intentional cooking is not just more enjoyable, it’s essential to ensuring a healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable food supply. And he does it without preaching. I would give this book to any home cook who’s fallen out of love with the kitchen, anyone who feels alone because they cook while their friends go out to restaurants, or anyone who thinks about nutrition only in terms of rules and numbers and facts and unpronounceable words.

—Bonnie