Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (英語) ペーパーバック – 2014/4/29
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**Now a docu-series streaming on Netflix, starring Pollan as he explores how cooking transforms food and shapes our world. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney exectuve produces the four-part series based on Pollan's book, and each episode will focus on a different natural element: fire, water, air, and earth. **
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.
Each section of Cooked tracks Pollan’s effort to master a single classic recipe using one of the four elements. A North Carolina barbecue pit master tutors him in the primal magic of fire; a Chez Panisse–trained cook schools him in the art of braising; a celebrated baker teaches him how air transforms grain and water into a fragrant loaf of bread; and finally, several mad-genius “fermentos” (a tribe that includes brewers, cheese makers, and all kinds of picklers) reveal how fungi and bacteria can perform the most amazing alchemies of all. The reader learns alongside Pollan, but the lessons move beyond the practical to become an investigation of how cooking involves us in a web of social and ecological relationships. Cooking, above all, connects us.
The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.
“[A] rare, ranging breed of narrative that manages to do all… It’s nothing short of important, possibly life-altering, reading for every living, breathing human being... In Pollan’s dexterous hands, we get the science, the history, the inspiration, ultimately the recipe. What feels like all of it. It doesn’t hurt that he also happens to be very funny.”
"Because of the power of his prose and his reasoning, Cooked may prove to be just as influential as Pollan’s seminal book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma… The results are fascinating, but the magic of Cooked lies not in its ability to unlock the secrets of slow-roasting a whole hog or brewing beer… No, what Pollan pulls off is even more impressive: He manages to illuminate the wealth of connections that stem from our DIY time in the kitchen.”
--The Washington Post
"As in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan is never less than delightful, full of curiosity, insight, and good humor. This is a book to be read, savored, and smudged with spatterings of olive oil, wine, butter, and the sulfuric streaks of chopped onion."
“The book's surplus of fascinating tidbits—about everything from barbecue (which Pollan connects to ritual animal sacrifice) to the mysterious workings of bread yeast — makes it a feast for intellectual omnivores.” – Entertainment Weekly
“Through cooking, Pollan argues, we clear a space, allowing ourselves not only to consider our sometimes troubled bond with nature but to reestablish our ties to one another, and to become makers instead of consumers. Cooked is a potently seductive invitation to discover—or rediscover—our most primal connection to the natural world.” – Bookforum
"Spurred by a number of objectives—improving his family’s general health, connecting with his teenage son, and learning how people can reduce their dependence on corporations, among others—Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma; In Defense of Food) came to the realization that he’d be able to accomplish all those goals and more if he spent more time in his kitchen. He began cooking. Divided into four chapters based on the four elements, Pollan eloquently explains how grilling with fire, braising (water), baking bread (air), and fermented foods (earth) have impacted our health and culture. ... Engaging and enlightening reading."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“New York Times best-selling author Pollan (The Botany of Desire; The Omnivore’s Dilemma) delivers a thoughtful meditation on cooking that is both difficult to categorize and uniquely, inimitably his… Intensely focused yet wide ranging, beautifully written, thought provoking, and, yes, fun, Pollan’s latest is not to be missed by those interested in how, why, or what we cook and eat."
—Library Journal (starred review)
"Having described what's wrong with American food in his best-selling The Omnivore's Dilemma (2006), New York Times contributor Pollan delivers a more optimistic but equally fascinating account of how to do it right.... A delightful chronicle of the education of a cook who steps back frequently to extol the scientific and philosophical basis of this deeply satisfying human activity."
—Kirkus (starred review)
"Pollan’s newest treatise on how food reaches the world’s tables delves into the history of how humankind turns raw ingredients into palatable and nutritious food. To bring some sense of order to this vast subject, he resurrects classical categories of fire, water, air, and earth… Four recipes accompany the text, and an extensive bibliography offers much deeper exploration. Pollan’s peerless reputation as one of America’s most compelling expositors of food and human sustainability will boost demand."
—Booklist (starred review)
構成は、火の料理ＢＢＱ，水の料理煮込み料理というか、男の私には色々変身可能な野菜スープの基礎、空気としてパン、そして発酵のサワークラウト。 ＢＢＱは河原でフランクフルトを焼き、焼きそばを作る等と思っては大間違い。 厳選した豚一頭をじっくり火加減に注意しながら丸焼きにするものだと教えられる。 しかも、その行為こそ、人間が生命を犠牲にして生きることの現実を直視し、神への感謝を感じるべき時なのだとも。 料理をしながら、哲学的な思考をし、玉ねぎを刻みながら禅の修行にもなることを学び、最後は自分でキムチをつくろうか、蜂蜜酒を作ろうか等とワクワクさせてくれる。
英語はビジネス書に特化した単語能力では知らない単語が多く、これはkindle で読むべき原書かなとも思った。 いずれにせよ、厨房好きの男性にお薦めの一書。
Like many of his other books, Pollan divides Cooked into thematic sections (Here: Fire [Grilling], Water [Cooking in water], Air [baking], and Earth[fermenting/pickling]) but they seemed a little forced, as Pollan himself seems to acknowledge. You need fire for three of the four, and yeast plays a pretty big role in both beer and bread. I get what he was trying to do, but it felt like it didn't quite work to enhance the themes of the book rather than merely provide breaking points.
His introduction sets the stage for the entire book. He identifies a dilemma in modern culture: we spend less time cooking than ever but more time watching and idolizing others who cook. Pollan explains that contemplating this dilemma triggered something in him to write this book, and I think he makes an important overarching observation: although cooking may not be the most efficient use of time, it is an alchemic process that transforms both raw foods and people. Without cooking, humans would not be what we are today. The modern trend to remove cooking from everyday life, therefore, is likely to have huge consequences on who we are. As Pollan notes, our fascination with cooking reflects the deep-seated position it holds in our lives.
The book contains long sections with meditations on what cooking is and what it means to culture, both ancient and modern, and for the most part I enjoyed them. For example, although it is somewhat tangential to cooking, Pollan discusses the role that microbiotics play in our gut and the effect on our health. Tying this topic into modern cooking, he raises some very interesting questions about the effect of a "no-microbe" policy on our health. As Pollan excels at pointing out repeatedly, the food we eat today is at the long end of the combined evolution of man and food: we eat what we eat and cook food the way we do because it is necessary to our survival. Removing certain types of food (e.g., whole grain bread, fermented vegetables) without thinking of the consequences is fraught with peril.
The meditations are interspersed with stories about masters of cooking and Pollan's own personal experiences. In each section, Pollan seeks out the masters in each particular field to teach him about cooking. As with his other books, Pollan always finds the philosophers within a certain field that combine their expertise with an ability to discuss their field in a way that opens your eyes. Who knew that bread baking would be so complex and more of an art form than simple mixing? Pollan is a masterful storyteller, combining an ability to explain complex issues with a sharp sense of humor and self-deprecation.
With Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollan changed how I think about the world. For me, Cooked was different in that rather than changing how I see the world of food, he reinforced ideas I already have and gave voice to some subconscious thoughts I had about the importance of cooking my own food. Although I have always enjoyed cooking, Pollan helps highlight WHY cooking is so enjoyable and so worthwhile. I especially enjoyed his section on brewing beer and have been inspired to try to brew my own batch. As he notes in his afterword, many of these endeavors seem at first glance to be an incredible waste of time and totally inefficient. As Pollan explains, however, there is a "satisfaction that comes from temporarily breaking free of one's accustomed role as the producer of one thing -- whatever it is we sell into the market for a living -- and the passive consumer of everything else." Over the course of the book, Pollan successfully proves that cooking is special and shouldn't be given up so easily, and there are benefits to slowing down and becoming immersed in something so basic as the food we eat. So while I can't claim that Cooked is as eye-opening as some of Pollan's other works, I enjoyed it immensely.
The author was descriptive in describing the food as well as people. At times, parts were funny.
However, one thing was missing. In the author's introduction, we are told about his relationship with his son, how it improved through cooking for him. Well, we don't hear much about his son until the real end of the book. I expected his cooking journey would be intertwined with his son's relationship.
In the book Pollan takes you through the basics of making food - soups, bread, fermentation overall, meat roasting etc and talks about the history of cooking overtime. He speaks honestly and openly about his own misconceptions and you feel like you are expanding your knowledge with him as the book progresses.
I don't think there has been a time since listening to this audiobook that I have started a meal by cooking up some onions in oil on the stove and not thought of Pollan. When you read the book, you'll know what I mean!