Cooked: A Natural History of transformation — Michael Pollan

Talks at Google

Published November 18, 2013



The best predictor of a healthy diet, regardless of income, is whether or not it was cooked at home.

Paradox: cooking less but watching more cooking on TV

1965 – average cooking time — more than 1 hour/person/day

Now – 27 minutes with 4 minutes cleaning time

Cooking — marketing experts define it as combination of two ingredients

Cooking is central to our identities as humans.

Cooking—–> called food processing in large corporations

  • ingredients not high quality
  • high in fat, salt, and sugar
  • make labor-intensive, special-occasion food so accessible so we can eat cake, french fries, etc, everyday

Four Technologies of Cooking

  1. Fire — meat over fire. externalized much of the body’s work to digest food. freed up a lot of time of chewing. led to eating in a different way — cooperation, sharing
  2. Water — started around 10,000 years ago. cooking in pots. agriculture begins. Can now cook grains, tough parts of animals. Cuisines started. keep people alive longer — old people who don’t have teeth can now eat soft food
  3. Air – baking
  4. Fermentation — no heat used. purely through the action of microbes. began as a preservation method. break down the plant and release lactic acid which is a preservative

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