Obviously I’m a fan of food science and curious about the history of food and cooking in any culture. Michael Pollen’s Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation is a good read; a fascinating review of cooking origins, history, and consequences of both cooking and not cooking.
As usual, Pollen’s style makes this book easy reading, but raises interesting questions about the role of cooking in the development of Homo sapiens.
The book follows Pollen as he attempts to master four cooking techniques: fire, air, water, and earth and describes the place of the cook in relation to nature and culture.
He raises questions about what cooking is, what cooking does for us, and the place we have let processed food assume in our modern culture. It’s an interesting synthesis of history, food science, and archeological discoveries. The implications of NOT cooking, allowing the food processing industry to assume the role of the cook, are something we all need to consider.
This is not a recipe book but it certainly increases understanding of food preparation—cooking—using heat (barbecue), air (baking), water (braising), and earth (fermentation).
The links will take you to an independent book shop were you can order it in various editions—but I get nothing—it’s not affiliate marketing of anything like that.