Michael Pollan, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

Hands down, Michael Pollan’s “Cooked” is my all time favorite book about food.

I could wax poetic about how much I’ve learned reading and re-reading it, about the subtle mental shifts and violent face-plants I’ve experienced…I could say a lot of things, but none of it would do justice to Pollan’s own words.

Michael Pollan CookedSo, here are just a few of my favorite excepts from this amazing book…

On the value of cooking…

“For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”

Cooking is about connection…

“Cooking is all about connection, I’ve learned, between us and other species, other times, other cultures (human and microbial both), but, most important, other people.

Cooking is one of the more beautiful forms that human generosity takes; that much I sort of knew. But the very best cooking, I discovered, is also a form of intimacy.”

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Raging against the machine…

“Well, in a world where so few of us are obliged to cook at all anymore, to choose to do so is to lodge a protest against specialization—against the total rationalization of life.

Against the infiltration of commercial interests into every last cranny of our lives. To cook for the pleasure of it, to devote a portion of our leisure to it, is to declare our independence from the corporations seeking to organize our every waking moment into yet another occasion for consumption. (Come to think of it, our non-waking moments as well: Ambien, anyone?)

It is to reject the debilitating notion that, at least while we’re at home, production is work best done by someone else, and the only legitimate form of leisure is consumption.

This dependence marketers call “freedom.”

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That’s it. I mean…what could I possibly say after that?

Read the book.

-Chef Perry