Cooked Author Michael Pollan: "We're Breaking Down the Sexist Stereotypes of Cooking"
In Michael Pollan's most recent book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, the author discusses how the four elements -- fire, water, air, and earth -- transform plants and animals into the food that ends up on our plates. Best known for his bestsellers The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, Pollan penned Cooked as a staycation for food. Why go to a restaurant when you can do it in your own kitchen? This Thursday, Miami Dade College will host the author at the Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami, and Short Order spoke with Pollan about the new book, transformations, and the importance of home cooking.
Photo by Alia Malley Author Michael Pollan
New Times: What inspired you to begin cooking?
Michael Pollan: I always cooked, but not with much skill or conviction. When I was studying agriculture and looking at debates on good nutrients and bad nutrients, it dawned on me that all that was less important than the fact corporations have taken over the cooking and that they cook badly, with too much fat and sugar, and chemicals to make it last longer. That's when I thought I needed to take a serious look at [cooking].
Cooked is divided into the four classical elements that transform things from nature into things we eat and drink. Is there an element that you like most?
I have a weak spot for air, for bread. I never expected that because it was so daunting to me, but I love that miracle of going from a pile of white flour to a beautiful loaf. I'm also taken by fermentation, the idea that bacteria is so symbiotic.
In Cooked you say we need to go back and talk about division of labor. Do you think it will be difficult these days? Do you think men are more willing to cook now?
We're breaking down the sexist stereotypes of cooking; that '50s stereotype is losing its hold on millennials. I think making cooking more social, having more than one person in the kitchen, makes it more fun. There's a real interest in getting back into making things.