Netflix is home to a treasure trove of shows and documentaries that cater to the entertainment of foodies, but none quite like Cooked.
Adapted from the bestselling book by author and food advocate Michael Pollan, Cooked is broken up into four episodes corresponding with the four elements we use in cooking: fire, water, air and Earth. Through the input of global food experts and stunning cinematography that puts all #foodporn posts to shame, the docuseries gives an intimate look at what food means to us. Cooked is highly informative and at times, might even make you a little emotional — but it’s guaranteed to make you fall in love with the art of cooking all over again.
Here’s a breakdown of each episode of the series.
In the first episode of the series, Michael Pollan explores the role that fire plays in cooking by highlighting the lives of the Martu people of Western Australia and a barbecue pit master in North Carolina. From the eyes of a people living off the animals of the Australian bush and of an American man who comes from a line of pit cooking masters, Pollan examines humanity’s history with cooking and our relationship with the animals we cook.
Don’t miss: Singer James Taylor makes a cameo and talks about his experience babysitting Michael Pollan’s pet pig (it didn’t end well).
In the water episode, Pollan examines how pots have led to the existence of modern cuisine and the repercussions of eating highly processed foods. This episode delves into Indian culture and how Indians are able to eat nutritious, home-cooked meals despite leading busy lives, challenging viewers to take time to cook their own food.
Don’t miss: The Bohra community in Mumbai makes enough lunch everyday for 1200 people because they believe everyone is entitled to a nutritious and delicious meal. Watching them prepare chicken nihari for their community will make your heart happy and your stomach jealous.
Michael Pollan uses the air episode to focus on the importance of bread by showcasing the vital role it plays in Moroccan culture. This episode will quickly change your view of bread from a side you have at dinner to an essential commodity of life. Fair warning that watching people make delicious homemade bread in this episode may lead you to never pick up a slice of Wonderbread again.
Don’t miss: Slow-mo shots of Massachusetts bread master Richard Bourdon carefully crafting loaves of yeast-less bread like a true bad ass.
The last episode of Cooked examines how prevalent fermentation is in our everyday consumption. From cacao harvesters in Peru to a nun making cheese with century-old French methods in Connecticut, Pollan shows how microbes transform raw ingredients into the tasty, healthy foods we love. What sounds nerdy is actually a picture of what cooking really is: taking the natural gifts of the Earth and turning it into something that sustains and satisfies humanity.
Don’t Miss: Watch the cheese-making nun Noella Marcellino keep the FDA from shutting down her cheese-making methods because she has a doctorate in microbiology and knows how to make safe and delicious cheese. You’re our #womancrusheveryday, Noella.
Still not convinced? Feast your eyes on Cooked‘s trailer right here.