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Friday, May 24, 2013

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

I lovelovelovelovelove Michael Pollan. I couldn't wait to read Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. It was well worth not waiting to get my hands on this goodness.

Pollan splits this book up into four parts: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Each is an in-depth exploration of what it means to get back to the elements and be at one with food. In "Fire," Pollan learns that barbeque really is (none of this Northerner-BBQ-when-you-are-really-cooking-out-BS!). In "Water," he learns how to braise and truly appreciate slow cooking. In "Air," he learns how to bake his own real bread and what it takes to make a loaf that is truly artisinal. In "Earth," he gets down to the roots (ha ha) of fermentation--and in turn discovers why so many of us currently experience gastrointestinal disorders. All the while, Pollan does his usual research and provides his reader with a load of outstanding information that makes you think, and hopefully make more informed choices about your food, your life, and your kitchen.

I seriously adore this man. He has driven me to thoughts on food and my diet in ways that no other nutrition book possible could. The Omnivore's Dilemma was life-changing, and I have been itching to buy myself a copy of Food Rules since I read it. I had high hopes for Cooked which were promptly met.

If you look to your right, you will see even Henry loved this book. He asked if we could keep it, but I sadly had to inform him that it belongs to the city of New York through the public library system. He was bummed.

I read this book much more slowly than I have read a book as of late. It's thick, but it's because it's filled with so much information that I wanted to soak in and let fill my brain. I wanted to memorize every detail in this book, and this is something I may very well ask to receive for my birthday. I was so inspired that I set out to slow cook some chicken coconut curry right after I read the "Water" section! I also spent time exploring how I could ferment things myself, and while I was in the process of reading this I have also been setting up my own window garden. Once it is all set up I will have my own lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, and herbs.

I found this book to be so very inspiring while also being ridiculously informative. A little over a year ago I discovered that I have a sensitivity to gluten, and Pollan's research illuminated some of the reasons this might be the case, including why I don't have such a hard time with gluten when I go overseas. I found his "Earth" section to be the most in-depth and clear about food allergies, and I have been recommending this book left and right since picking it up. So right now I recommend this book to you, dear reader. It's worth the week of your time. I even think it's worth keeping on the shelf.

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