5 Reasons You Should Watch ‘Cooked’

Originally published on my previous blog nextbite.wordpress.com under the same title on 18 April 2016.

It’s exam season if you’re in school, it’s spring regardless, and either way, you’re not supposed to be cooped up indoors watching tv. Since you are anyway, I think you should watch ‘Cooked’.

Cooked is the brainchild of Netflix and author Michael Pollan, and is based off ofhis book of the same title. The 4-part documentary series is about the way we cook: why we do it, how it’s changed over time, how it varies around the globe. The show is beautifully filmed, and will take less time than that season of The Office you were working through anyway, at a measly 4 hours in total. It’s beautiful and intriguing, and in the interest of not belabouring my point, at this point I’ll let the trailer do some talking for itself.

In case you didn’t bother to click that link, or you don’t feel convinced, here are my own 5 reasons this should be next in the queue on your Netflix.

1. Because we forget how powerful fire is.

The fact of the matter is that most people are so far from having to live the old-fashioned or less technologically-dependent lives that a culture built around fire is often presented as, and get only as close as a George Foreman grill will let them. Urbanization has turned fire into a hazard instead of a helper in most people’s minds. If for no other reason than to remember the magic and possibility that fire has given us, and our ability to eat a diversity of delicious things, “Fire” is an excellent episode.

2. Because you need to know what a sofrito is.

Every cuisine and culture has a base and a certain repertoire of flavours that give it familiarity to eaters. The difference in these bases is the beginnings of cuisine as well as movements based on regionalism and using food as an identifying characteristic for people. “Water” is an incredible episode that will tell you what this term means (if you haven’t already googled) and demonstrate the link between this returning base of flavour and the things we, and the companies attempting to sell food to us, know we love the most.

3. Because seeing a loaf of bread get squished is hypnotizing and strange.

It’s this. Except weirder, and in reverse. Go watch “Air” and see it happen.

4. Because chocolate, beer and cheese are all good reasons we let things “rot”.

Fermentation is a natural and delicious way we get some cooking done. You wouldn’t have alcohol, chocolate, cheese or several other incredible foods without it, and yet most of us have no idea how it works. You could watch “Earth” and change that.

5. Because the international obsession with food is only just beginning, and you should get in on it.

You eat every day. You talk about food, think about food, wish about food. Some of you even post about food on social media. Food is fast becoming the field of choice for a whole range of conversations taking place, from race to health, and these things all matter. Food could be an amazing gateway to almost anything. Watching a documentary about it might just be the tip of the iceberg.