Food has always been a huge part of my life. Growing up as a competitive swimmer eating ridiculous amounts of calories just to fuel myself for the next day of practices felt like a chore at first, but it later turned into one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. I could down half a carton worth of scrambled eggs, a footlong sub, and a massive pasta dinner as my main meals of the day. Truly a swimmers diet.
With an appetite like that growing up it came in handy to have an incredible French/Italian cook of a mother (a hobby of hers too). I got to eat those massive Michael Phelps pots of pasta before large competitions and come home to fresh bread and cakes creating an aroma in the house that was irresistible. Shameless plugs galore but if you were to follow my better half (@kahlzwarner) and I on Snapchat (@rrosenbaum4310), then you would see how appreciative I am of food even to this day. Every day we feature everything from some delicious breakfasts to ridiculous desserts.
Yes, you are correct. That is a colorful milkshake with cotton candy sticking out of it.
Once my competitive swimming career came to an end, suddenly five hours of practice and weights became time for me to take up new hobbies and, you guessed it, start cooking. I’ve got to say I’ve really taken a liking to the whole cooking thing. Coming home from a class to an apartment smelling delicious and food tasting even better is an indescribable feeling that most college students dread to even think about. So let this be a bit of a disclaimer as this may not resonate.
Full disclaimer I am currently spending over two months in Australia this summer. Between riding kangaroos, eating veggies with koalas, and eating prawns (get with it America) on the barbie, I’ve found that the Netflix catalog isn’t the same overseas. As I scrolled through the extremely limited Australian catalog I found a diamond in the rough. A Netflix original series called Cooked. These days cooking shows are nothing more than a competition or some British douchebag yelling at a bunch of novice chefs. Not my cup of tea.
Based on acclaimed food writer Michael Pollans book by the same name, Cooked follows Pollan as he tries his hand at many different cooking art forms in a much larger sense than microwaving some oatmeal. He takes a journey through the four classic elements of fire, water, air, and earth while charting their history and analyzing how the present world we live in uses it.
Each episode is brilliant. For fire, they visit an aboriginal tribe in Western Australia to talk about fires ancient effects, the Carolinas for some good ole fashion barbecue, and Pollan even takes a stab at roasting his own pig in his own Berkeley home. He does this all while analyzing the beauty of meat, where our animals come from, and what we should be thinking in the future.
These are the kinds of drastic differences that makes the show so much more than a cooking show. Beyond culinary techniques, this is about the social, cultural, aesthetic, scientific, and mental aspects of cooking. It’s not all pancakes and milkshakes though. It really makes you take an internal journey to your own beliefs and how you react. What are your thoughts on eating meat and where the animals come from? How interested are you in the history of the cooking and the elements we use. If any of these questions resonate with you, I urge you to take a gander at this Netflix original series for your taste buds sake. Pro tip, have a snack nearby because this show will make you so hungry.
Season 1 of Cooked is currently on Netflix. Season 2 is in talks with a release date TBD.
Side Note: In doing a bit of research for this article I stumbled upon the greatest youtube parody video ever. I realize thats a bold claim but wow.