Have you heard about Cooked?

Episode 7 our Tenacious Acorn Podcast was all about the importance of cooking more of our daily meals at home. You all know that I am passionate about home-cooking, and the positive effects it has on our health. And not just our physical health, but our emotional health as it helps to strengthen connections with our family and friends when we include them in our kitchens and around our tables.
 
Well, wouldn’t you know, in that synergistic way my life unfolds, Netflix has recently premiered a four part docu-series by author Michael Pollan, titled Cooked. It’s all about (wait for it…) COOKING;  the hows and whys of cooking around the world, and the cultural significance, health implications, and effects of globalization on culinary traditions.
 
Based on Pollan’s book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, the series’ episodes are divided into the four classical elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. In each episode, Pollan explores the role of the title element in transforming raw ingredients into foods, as well as the the larger transformations created in our societies.
 
The first episode, Fire, features the nearly lost practices of a unique tribe of Aboriginal peoples in Western Australia, and the very much 'alive and well' craft of an Eastern North Carolina Pit Master, Ed Mitchell. While the ingredients are different, and the cultures separated by thousands of miles, through Pollan’s investigation of the role of fire in both the Aboriginal and Carolina cooking traditions we get to see how central and universal this method of cooking is to all of us. Living in coastal Carolina, or Down East as it’s often called, I’m already planning my road trip to track down Mr. Mitchell and his BBQ! Don’t worry, you know I’ll be posting pictures and an article about that when it happens.

The next three episodes find Mr. Pollan learning how to make braises, bake sourdough bread, brew beer, and make cheeses. The cheesemaking was fascinating and not just because it’s headed up by a microbiologist Dominican Nun. That’s right, a microbiologist Dominican Nun—three words you don’t often see together. Sister Noella is enchanting, and I need to track down her cheeses to take along on my BBQ quest.
 
Which brings up a good point about watching this series: plan a snack ‘cause you’re going to get hungry watching it! I swear I could smell the bread baking in the sourdough bakery featured, and I know I was getting hints of hickory smoke during the conversations filmed around Pit Master Ed Mitchell’s pig smoker.
 
As an advocate for healthy living, healthy eating, and healthy relationships with food, I can’t recommend this series enough. It’s informative without being preachy, and Mr. Pollan’s real interest in his subject matter comes through beautifully. He exemplifies the Beginner’s Mind, which is so often missing from these types of programs. His curiosity and enthusiasm are real, and he communicates both in an engaging manner, while working with his chosen mentors during each episode.
 
Not that I need much encouragement to try new things in my own kitchen, but I found myself wanting to start a few new projects specifically aimed at getting my daughter more involved in cooking. If you’re looking for some inspiration, and encouragement, as well as solid information on the processes involved in cooking,  I think you should check this series out. You won’t be sorry.

Have you already seen Cooked, or read the book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments…and as always, please share this-- The more the merrier over here!