What Cooked does differently than any cooking show before it, is lasso our current diets into the overarching narrative of humanity and evolution. It's loaded with opinion, and fact-backed contrarianism, which is what makes things fun, but also a little messy.
Tuning into a Pollan project and expecting an apolitical look at food culture is like watching an Anthony Bourdain show and expecting no cursing or booze: it just comes with the territory. The co-creator of Cooked, Alex Gibney, is the dude responsible for documentaries like Going Clear and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, so anticipate a little soapboxing. But listen: even if you don't agree with someone, it can't hurt to listen and try to learn from their opinions. It's what separates human beings from Trump supporters.
The importance of Cooked is held in its overlying message, which defies any political borders or opinions. That central theme is, succinctly, that food deserves respect again. And cooking, once a required component of every meal, is an essential activity to make food great again. Man's relationship with sustenance shouldn't be limited to Seamless accounts and fluorescent-lit aisles. If we respected food and the act of cooking as much as our ancestors did thousands of years ago, much of our worldwide food problems would be (slowly) solved. Cooking doesn't need to be a vehicle driven of necessity. It can be satisfying, too. The show's claims may not be adequately supported for some -- but Pollan urges us to do our own searching, like he urges us to do our own cooking, in order to truly learn what it means to us and our lives.
Just as that ex-vegetarian eventually opened her mouth after mastication, and delivered a suspense-shattering, "Wow," you will probably end up getting more out of this little Netflix joint than you ever thought possible, so long as you keep an open mind.
Binge respectfully, people.
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Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. His grandma actually did hunt lizards, too. Follow him: @wilfulton.