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Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation Hardcover – April 23, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,067 ratings

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  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
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Editorial Reviews

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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013: Who has untangled the nature of modern America’s relationship with food more effectively than Michael Pollan? After sharing the experience of growing his own food in Second Nature, he illuminated how our appetites drive the evolution of edible plants with The Botany of Desire. Then he pondered The Omnivore’s Dilemma, weighing our precarious food chain and popularizing the pleasures of eating local; In Defense of Food and Food Rules distilled his conclusions into a manifesto and a manual. With Cooked, he closes the seed-to-table loop with a passionate exploration of the satisfying transformation of grilling, braising, baking, and fermenting--and their primal roots. Learning to cook elevated humans from lone animals into increasingly intelligent, civilized groups, and though we spend scant time doing real cooking, we’ve become obsessed with watching people cook--a paradox that points to longing for a lost experience. Through his own experiences making and enjoying food with pit masters, chefs, bakers, and “fermentos,” he retraces our path to connection with real ingredients and health for people and planet. Whether you’re sympathetic or skeptical, you can’t help but appreciate Pollan’s genius for conveying the elemental appeal of making a meal. --Mari Malcolm

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*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. Pollan visits pit masters to learn what constitutes authentic barbecue. An Italian-trained Iranian American teaches him the subtleties of proper cooking in pots, how to coax maximum flavor from humble vegetables, herbs, meats, and water. Baking trains Pollan to watch, listen, and feel the action of living yeasts in doughs. The harnessing of fungi and molds to ferment sauerkraut and beer and produce cheeses illuminates the fine and ever-shifting boundaries between tastiness and rot and how the human palate can be trained. 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. --Mark Knoblauch

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Product details

  • Publisher : Penguin Press; 1st edition (April 23, 2013)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 480 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1594204217
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1594204210
  • Item Weight : 1.65 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.38 x 1.43 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 1,067 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,067 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

L. Astbury
5.0 out of 5 stars One amazing read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 13, 2014
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7 people found this helpful
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Paul Haynes
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and packed with interesting ideas and theories - recommended
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2015
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George Mum
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 21, 2014
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mark beale
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 21, 2018
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Mini Lavette
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fascinating book by Michael Pollan
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 16, 2016
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