Michael Pollan’s Magic
Apr. 29, 2013
The paradox is startling, once you consider it: most people spend less and less time cooking and more time than ever watching other people cook—whether on television or across the counters of exposed kitchens in restaurants. Michael Pollan, who has done as much as anyone to awaken awareness of the dismal state of processed food and agribusiness, ponders the alchemy of cooking in Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (Penguin Press). It begins with a little etymology: the ancient Greeks used the same word for priest, butcher and cook. Pollen explores the connections between the kitchen and the primal elements of earth, air, water and fire—of how adding mushrooms to an omelet, and whipping the eggs over the stove, can be an act of magic.