There’s a certain mystical process in cooking. By taking a few simple, humble ingredients from the Earth, one can transform it into something greater than the sum of its parts.
I just finished the book “Cooked” by Michael Pollan, and it’s great read about the first princples of cooking, and the history into the origins of the process, and how it has evolved since then into Modern times.
The author broke it down into the 4 basic elements, which are Fire (Grilling), Water (Braising), Air (Baking), and Earth (Fermentation). He delves deep into the subject by working with various chefs, learning to recreate the dishes from scratch, and in the old fashioned way with minimal or zero processing. He goes into the intent of why we cook food in a certain manner, and how it impacts the flavour and the quality of the dish.
As we humans evolve and progress, we tend to dissociate ourselves from the cooking process, especially with the ease of access to processed foods, and from outside vendors who do all the hard work for us. Rather, we spend more time on what we perceive as critical activities such as work, which back in the day, interestingly enough was known as “bringing home the bacon”. The author makes a case of how cooking and eating is a communal event, and allows us to build relationships with people. And I wholeheartedly agree that there’s no greater satisfaction than cooking a meal, and sharing something delicious and nourishing with your close friends and loved ones.
What struck me was how cooking has defined much of human society, and connect us all as a species. Perhaps its time we step back a little, and just take the time to cook, and enjoy the good things in life.
This book was definitely a revelation for me, and must read for food lovers, and even for anybody else who’s in need of a good read. Change your life, I tells ya!
Here’s the link to the book in Amazon.