When I saw that there was a new series on Netflix called “Cooked” I got very excited. I had read “Cooked” by Michael Pollan shortly after it was published and released in 2013 and absolutely loved it! So, when I found out that it was made into a Netflix original series… I was thrilled.
The book is actually entitled “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation” which is much more telling of what you will read once submerged into this extraordinary exploration of the relationship “between nature and culture” (Pollan).
Broken down into four sections (as is the Netflix series) that represent the classical elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Fire represents cooking with heat. Water represents braising and boiling with pots. Air represents bread-making. Earth represents fermenting.
At the core of the book’s message is not how to cook, or what to cook, or what to eat. It is essentially a voyage into what food means to us, humans, throughout history, through the development of food preparation, and quintessentially, foods capacity to bring people together on a global level.
Beyond that, the book is a call to action. A call back to the basics, back to the kitchen, and back to the most simple, most effective, most delicious ways to prepare the foods we love.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is as follows:
“For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”
This struck me to my core. It reminded me of those family gatherings that were centered around food. Food preparation, cooking the food, displaying the food, and finally, and joyously, the eating of the food. Those moments with friends where we set aside time to enjoy a meal together. Or even those moments where, on my own, with no one else around, I enjoyed the food I had prepared like it was the most extravagant, most indulgent, most meaningful meal I had ever the pleasure to taste.
This is why I immediately watched “Cooked” on Netflix and added the book to my reading list once again. Its messages go beyond food and cooking. Culture and family and sharing are what bring this story to the soul. I can’t wait to revisit its pages once again.