Food, Home & Lifestyle, Wellness

Stir Up a Passion for Cooking

Michael Pollan

Lesson time 16:56 min

Cooking is the most important skill you can hone to eat intentionally. Michael shows you how to rediscover the joy of preparing your own food.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Be an Alchemist • Enjoy Twenty-First-Century Cooking • Ease Into Cooking • Cultural Identify and Food Rules


[MUSIC PLAYING] - People who cook routinely eat healthier diets than people who don't, full stop. Generally, class and economic status accounts for the quality of your diet, right? And the more money you have, you're likely to have a healthier diet, a better diet. But if you're poor and you cook, your diet is even healthier than the wealthy. In this lesson, we're going to look at cooking, which is actually, I think, one of the most important ways to regain control of what you eat and also one of the great pleasures of life. And that may surprise you. You may think of it as drudgery. I want to convince you otherwise. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the things that's happened in modern life is we're highly specialized, right? We do our one thing at work and then you outsource everything to a bunch of other people. You outsource your cooking. You outsource your entertainment. You outsource repairs on your house. One of the satisfactions of cooking is that you join the producers of the world again. You're making something. When you cook, you buy ingredients. You don't buy finished food. So immediately, you have more control. You can decide to buy organic. You can decide not to buy organic. You can decide to buy grass-fed or buy pastured eggs. You can decide just how much sugar to put in that recipe. You can put in less than the recipe calls for or more than the recipe calls for. It is empowering like few things you can do around food. So I find there's something enormously satisfying in the production and then the transformations of food. Not only that, you're making something very special. You're making the gift of food. Handing food to people, feeding them, is one of the great human engagements. I loved to watch my mother cook. I loved hanging around the kitchen. And I think I particularly loved the magic of frying food because it was like a transformation. It was alchemy. You went from this piece of meat to fried chicken, which was one of my favorite foods growing up. So I want to sell you non-cooks on the idea that you can work magic in the kitchen. It's not as hard as you think. And we can reduce all that culinary magic down to four great transformations-- fire, water, air, and earth. Fire, that's grilling. That's barbecuing, taking food, often meat, and exposing it to flame. Some of the most wonderful food is as simple as that. And everyone can do that. There is very good evidence now that the moment when the human brain expanded and we became Homo sapiens was the discovery of cooking, that allowed our brains to get a lot bigger and our guts to shrink. Now, how would that happen? Well, raw food is very hard to digest. Our chimpanzee relatives, they spend like 15 hours a day chewing because they're eating all these leaves and they have to be chewed a lot before they can be swallowed. So they don't get anything else done. But cooking essentially externalizes the chewing and digestive proce...

About the Instructor

For more than 30 years, award-winning journalist Michael Pollan has explored the intersection of humans and nature—including groundbreaking probes of the food we eat. Now the NYT bestselling author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” teaches you how to ditch fad diets and eat with intention. From following the food chain to fixing dinner, learn to make choices that reflect what’s important to you.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Michael Pollan

Acclaimed author Michael Pollan teaches you what he’s spent decades researching: how to eat more ethically, healthfully, and sustainably.

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