Five words from the blurb: food, society, changing, basics, knowledge
It isn’t often that a book comes along and changes the course of your life, but that is exactly what happened when I read Cooked.
Michael Pollen is a journalist with a keen interest in food, especially our relationship with it. Cooked documents Pollan’s journey around the globe as he learns about the way different cultures cook, discovering valuable skills that the Western world are quickly forgetting. Pollan predicts that cooking will soon become a specialist skill and within a couple of generations it will be unusual for anyone to do more than reheat food within their home.
The book is divided into four sections: Fire (food cooked over a flame), Water (boiling), Air (bread and other foods using yeast to incorporate air) and Earth (fermentation of everything from cheese to vegetables). Michael’s passion for his subject oozes from the page. He was so inspiring that I instantly wanted to copy him. I didn’t have easy access to an entire pig and had nowhere to dig a pit to BBQ it so I started with fermentation. His arguments about the health benefits of naturally fermented food were powerful and I became saddened by the way our culture sanitises everything to the extreme, killing all bacteria without stopping to think about the fact our bodies need to work in harmony with it.
I tried to buy the equipment to begin fermenting food within my home, but realised it wasn’t available in the UK. It was then that I had a light-bulb moment and my life changed.
How My Life Has Changed
For the past few months I have been setting up my own company which will import and sell fermentation products in the UK. It is still early days, but I am loving the challenge of the new project. I hope to launch my new fermentation blog early in 2015 and begin to sell the equipment in April. I’ll let you know how it goes!
The Rest of the Book
The entire book was incredibly well researched and I loved the way Pollan made me think about food in a new light. He does an excellent job of explaining our changing relationship with food and the problems this causes for our society. I found the Water and Air sections slightly less interesting than the others, but this was probably because I am well informed in these areas so much of the information was not new to me.
I listened to the audio book version read by Pollan himself. I think this gave the book even more impact as his emotions came across strongly. His scientific knowledge was impressive and I loved the way everything was backed up with thorough research. My only criticism is that the book is US focused and I’d love to see how the statistics compare with those in the UK.
Overall I can’t complain though. This book has changed my life. My kitchen now smells of fermenting cabbage and I’ve been inspired to change my diet and the course of my life. No other book has ever come close to having that power on me!
Many thanks to Sandy for giving this book to me – it’s changed my life!!