Fire, Water, Air & Earth

  I have been watching Cooked on Netflix and feel compelled to tell you all about it! 

In a four part series, author Michael Pollan takes us through the history of humans and our relationship with each other, food and cooking. I loved it, almost as much as the first season of Mind of a Chef with David Chang, which is also available on Netflix – unfortunately the PBS catch-up channel isn’t available in the UK.

The first episode in the Cooked series is Fire. The importance of human beings’ ability to control fire has never been called into question, but more recently it has been argued that it is when we learned to prepare food with fire, that was the big game changer!

Fire gives us light and warmth, which mean that we could remain active into the night and gives us protection from predators and bugs. But cooking is what allows us to spend most of our time making things and working stuff out, instead of chewing. Some of that time was spent working out that we can water, air and earth to prepare food too!

All this time and nutritious, easily digested food, allowed our brains to grow and our curiosity and ambition to run wild. It shows us how we have arrived at the peculiar, removed relationship to food and eating, many of us experience today, and how we might claw back some of the intimacy we once had with our food. Sharing a meal, cooking together, feeding friends and family are all acts of love and generosity. Most of the food we are confronted with on a daily basis, is ubiquitous, sugary, fatty and processed, made without any love engagement and care. 

No wonder some of us develop such unhealthy and warped relationships with our food. 

Anyway, i hope you enjoy Cooked as much as I did and that it inspires you! 

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (2009) by British primatologist Richard Wrangham.


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