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Michael Pollan: Return to the Kitchen to Forge a Deeper Connection to the Ingredients We Use to Nourish Ourselves

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Michael Pollan: Return to the Kitchen to Forge a Deeper Connection to the Ingredients We Use to Nourish Ourselves

By Willy Blackmore

Going back to when he was better known for books about gardening than for being a food writer, author Michael Pollan has been able to show the bridge between the culture of a plant and the politics of it. Whether writing about the American lawn, Ireland's potato famine, tulip mania in the Netherlands or more recently, monoculture farming and GMO crops, Pollan makes a compelling case that our relationships with what we grow and eat are both political and important.

For his latest project, Cooked, a four-part documentary series made with filmmaker Alex Gibney, Pollan is looking past his edict of what to eat—“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants"—and taking a deep look into how that food is prepared. In a new trailer for the series, which will be available for streaming on Netflix on Feb. 19, Pollan says, “The meal is this incredible human institution—when we learned to cook is when we became truly human. But we've lost touch, I think, with how that food gets to our plate."

Each of the four episodes focuses on an element—fire, water, air and Earth—as it relates to cooking. Pollan delves into Southern barbecue and other traditions of meat cooked over wood for fire, while old-school sourdough bread—and the old-school wheat farming that underpins it—is considered in the air portion of the series. It is part travelogue, part food porn, all built around the central thesis of this and nearly all of Pollan's work: Cooking is a profound political act.

This article was reposted with permission from our media associate TakePart.

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