I’ve just finished reading Cooked by Michael Pollan, published by Penguin Books. Pollan has written about food previously in The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I find his writing accessible and knowledgable. He expertly mixes stories about people with historical, social, and philosophical perspectives on the subject. Cooked examines the basics of how we transform nature into edible food. A whole chapter is devoted to bread making, particularly using sourdough cultures. Pollan examines opposite ends of the baking spectrum, from the micro-bakery to the massive industrial factory. This chapter has given me a greater appreciation for the wheat seed, the micro-organisms responsible for transforming flour into bread (first utilised by the Egyptians), and the people dedicated to working with both. The other chapters are also fascinating. I particularly liked the cheese making section, who knew the multitude of fungi and bacteria that go into making a smelly French cheese.
There is a Netflix documentary, of the same name, based on the book.