Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

The evolution of cooking: Michael Pollan discusses on NPR

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The evolution of cooking: Michael Pollan discusses on NPR, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

What’s our fascination with watching other people cook? And looking at food imagery in general for that matter? If only the average person liked to actually prepare food as much as they liked looking at it on TV and in print…. Consider this: The Food Network draws more viewers than any of the cable news channels out there, meanwhile Americans are actually cooking less than ever! Food-culture writer Michael Pollan says it’s because, “there’s something about watching cooking that takes us back to that primitive flame.“

So is that why we love food imagery so much? Because the process of nourishment is ingrained in our evolutionary make up, whether it fits into our modern-day lifestyles anymore or not?

Pollan talks about the interesting paradox between what he calls “cooking for sport” and the collapse of cooking in the home on NPR’s Fresh Air—which I conveniently caught on my ride home yesterday in the midst of contemplating what to leave everyone with for next 10 days while I’m on vacation.

Don’t worry, this is not one of those doom and gloom pieces about the nation’s food culture; rather, I found it more thought provoking than anything else.

Pollan discusses things like:
* How live cooking shows came to be and their original inspiring effect on housewives everywhere.
* A fascinating theory on how cooking is believed to be what transformed us from primates to human beings from an evolutionary perspective. (not language, or fire, but cooking!)
* How the growing presence of farmer’s markets will only sustain if people actually know how to cook. (good point)

And he raises questions like:
* What does this all mean for the future of cooking in the home?
* Will watching people cook on TV soon fulfill our personal need to cook?
* Will cooks be viewed as artisans 100 years from now?

Trust me, I love all the heightened attention on food culture. But Pollen got me thinking about WHY people are so accepting of all the hype when they’re not actually cooking. Something to ponder for the next 10 days while I’m on vacation…

Listen:
Listen here on NPR..

One Comment

  1. Casey
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 4:25 AM | Permalink

    I love Michael Pollan! His book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma was really good. And I’m pretty happy that he’s a professor at my school. Go bears!

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