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Book reviews: Cooked by Michael Pollan and Delancey by Molly Wizenberg

Michael Pollan’s Cooked is highly informative, but I expected a more interesting book from one of the most respected food writers in the world.

He writes about the “power of the four classical elements: fire, water, air and earth to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink.”

In the section on fire, Michael explored the history of it in preparing meat, and wrote about his apprenticeship with certain American masters of barbeque.

In Water, Michael writes about domestic cooking, particularly braising. In Air, we learn some fascinating things about bread-making, and fermentation takes up the Earth component.

I learned so much, but found it hard to stay engaged in the long history of barbeque, and in the minute details of bread making and fermentation. Fortunately, I was able to take a mid-book break with the fantastic Delancey (see below).

The most important thing that Michael and I agree on is this: cook more at home and eat whole foods.

wizenbergDelancey: a man, a woman, a restaurant, a marriage
by Molly Wizenberg

What does a food writer and blogger do when her husband, a trained composer and tinkerer of different hobbies, decides to open pizza place in Seattle?

She puts her passion aside for a while and supports him. The pizza pies are rolled out, construction drama ensues, staff are recruited and their marriage changes in the middle of it all.

Delancey then, is a brilliant, warm and funny memoir about Molly and Brandon’s journey to making a business and marriage work. I sped through the book, and felt for Molly when she got so overwhelmed one time at the restaurant, that she hid in the corner sipping bubbly for the rest of the evening.

She shares 20 recipes in the book for various foods you may want to try at home.

Before you grab this book, you may want to start with Molly’s first novel: A homemade life: stories and recipes from my kitchen table and then savour Delancey with her background in mind. I’m still waiting for it from my library.

Which food books would you recommend?

Michael Pollan image credit: Fran Collin

Molly Wizenberg image credit: Ron Wurzer

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