A Natural History of Transformation

Audiobook CD - 2013
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"In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements-- fire, water, air, and earth-- to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture. Both realms are transformed by cooking, and so, in the process, is the cook" -- from publisher's web site.
Publisher: [New York] : Penguin Audio, 2013
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781611761436
Characteristics: 11 sound discs (approximately 14 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
4 3/4 in
digital,1.4 m/s,mono


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Aug 17, 2020

The first time cooking came into my life was in junior high school in a homemaking class. We were taught recipes from the late 1950s, early 1960s, like tuna casserole with cream of mushroom soup, frozen peas and potato chips. This is a far cry from cooking with raw ingredients, yet a few years later, I was baking bread and making meals on my own.

This kind of "real" cooking has come back into fashion, as we strive for healthy diets which do not include processed foods and often exclude gluten and dairy. As someone who takes the time to cook all of my meals and seldom eats out, I find that this is the anomaly in today's world, although this is also changing. When someone is asked what their favorite restaurant is, it is now not surprising to hear someone say that they do not eat out, but enjoy eating at home.

Hopefully this book will encourage more people to spend time in their kitchens. As Pollan mentions, it is also important family time, when you are working together towards a common goal. And then you can eat and/or drink it!

Feb 08, 2014

The other Pollan books I've read are considerably more interesting. This one starts off a tad on the boring side, about the various techniques BBQ specialty restaurants use to roast whole pigs. The equipment, the choice of charcoal wood, the temperatures etc. It's all a little tedious. This might be interesting if you own such a restaurant, and have plenty of time on your hands, and plenty of customers to eat the product each day; but roasting whole pigs is not for the average homeowner, and too much time is taken on this subject. On the plus side, there are some interesting parts later in the book about fermentation, how it is used to make cheese, bread, beer, sauerkraut, etc. And how the same microscopic creatures that do the fermentation job also take up residence in our guts, and if the right mixture of them takes hold, forms a symbiotic relationship with the host (us), and can aid greatly to our own health. And there's some subtle cooking techniques exposed, for example the importance of chopped onions in sautés and sauces, and doing the chopping the right way to get the full flavor benefit. This audio book presentation would have been better if the author didn't do the reading himself. An experienced audio book reader would have been preferable. On the whole, only reservedly recommended.


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