In a culture of celebrity chefs and food reality shows, in countries which are crammed with fresh ingredients flown in from every corner of the Earth, we nonetheless year-on-year wade ever deeper into a great swamp of processed foods. The more we watch food on television, the less food we actually prepare and cook. Michael Pollan's marvellous new book is a clarion-call for the virtues and values of proper cooking - an essential, defining human activity which sits at the heart of our cultures, shapes family life and is in itself hugely enjoyable. Pollan recreates the transformative fundamentals of how we cook, building from the most basic principles: cooking with fire, cooking with water, cooking with air and cooking with earth. Cooked is an extremely funny and surprising plea to Pollan's readers to take control of their own fates and revel again in what should be a lifetime's engagement with the almost magical activity of making food. And it is, of course, about so much more - how cooking can transform both how we think about ourselves and about our families and friends.