“surrounded as we are by fast food culture and processed foods, cooking our own meals is the single best thing we can do to take charge of our health and well being.” – MP
Let’s take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to talk about the incredible production I spent hours enamored by last Sunday: The new Netflix series Cooked by author/teacher/activist and all around brilliant man, Michael Pollan. Some may have read his words in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Food Rules, The Botany of Desire, or another of his intriguing and educational books (maybe even Cooked, the one this series grew from.) If you’ve done so, you’re probably already sold on how great this guy is and how smartly he communicates his ideas. If you’ve never heard of him, make this show your introduction.
The program is split into four episodes, and each episode covers one natural element: Fire, water, air, and earth. Below are some tidbits from each.
Fire features a pitmaster in the Southern US and aborigines in Western Australia who continue to hunt wild game. It will give you a new understanding and appreciation for human heritage, the original diet, and beautiful pigs.
Water delves into the ways in which climate change is impacting farmers and food production in India. It also explains how completely the act of cooking is chemistry, in both the home kitchen and the food processing facilities around the world which so many of us are increasingly eating from.
Have you ever heard the aphorism, “Man cannot live on bread alone?” Air, will give you all the details as to why that addage is false. You’ll also learn that the way we make bread in the U.S. is so spooky and that we should all start making our own. Needless to say, I began my sourdough starter on Monday.
Earth features an Abbey in Connecticut that I had the opportunity to visit a few years ago where they still make raw milk cheese out of a wooden vat. Not only is this methodology preserving a cultural tradition, it has created a surprising relationship with E. coli. Also, those dairy cows are called Dutch Belted and they are a critically rare breed in the U.S. and I want all of them!
I was feeling a lot of feelings while watching this show. I laughed, I had to blink a lot at certain moments to avoid tears, I considered that maybe I should procreate so that I could explain all of this information to my child, I was hungry, I was amazed that the human race hasn’t gone extinct, and my mind was BLOWN by just how much I still have to learn about food and nutrition, even after studying it at some length and feeling relatively confident about my knowledge of the subject. If you’re interested in food or cooking or food systems, care about what you put into your body or what your body does with it once you put it in there, or if you like looking at farmers and cooks, beautiful cinematography, or watching people enjoy the heck out of the things that they are doing, this is your new weekend plan.
If you don’t have a Netflix account, sign up for a free months trial (that’s what I did!) — just remember to cancel it before the 30 days end if you don’t want to continue your membership.
(I imagine this is obvious to anyone reading this, but neither Netflix nor Michael Pollan is in any way affiliated with my endorsement of this show and I’m certainly not being compensated for doing it. I just really really liked it and I think that you will too!)