Audiobook CD - 2013
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Fire, water, air, earth--our most trusted food expert recounts the story of his culinary education

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.
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: with plants and animals, the soil, farmers, our history and culture, and, of course, the people our cooking nourishes and delights. Cooking, above all, connects us.
The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume huge quantities of fat, sugar, and sa
Publisher: New York : Penguin Audio, p2013.
ISBN: 9781611761436
Characteristics: 11 sound discs (ca. 13.5 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.


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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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