In the first episode of Cooked, host and mastermind Michael Pollan memorably gives his vegetarian friend her first bite of meat (a sizable chunk of slow-roasted pork) in years. At first, it seems -- during those long seconds of hard, silent chewing -- that she is going spit it out, the bite far too big for her first foray back into meat.
Similarly, the premier criticism of author Michael Pollan's (who's best known for his book The Omnivore's Dilemma) new Netflix docu-miniseries is that he took too large a bite for his first foray into television. But don't buy into the doubt: in four one-hour segments, this project is the story of humanity through cooking, and cooking through humanity. It introduces us to cheese-making nuns, grandmas in the Australian outback who club giant lizards, and avant-garde theories of how cooked food has influenced human evolution. Oh, and James Taylor singing to his dead pig.
Every serious food lover with a Netflix ID owes it to themselves to binge this masterfully shot, fact-heavy documentary that aims to change the way we think about food, and its impact on our world.