Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/937/24680

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2017

Web series review: Cooked - "How capitalism ruined eating"

Did cake play a part in advancing primates towards humanity? Photo Colby Stopa (Creative Commons)

Did cake play a part in advancing primates towards humanity? Photo Colby Stopa (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

The title 'Cooked' doesn't exactly sound like essential political viewing. But in this adaptation of Michael Pollan's 2013 bestselling book of the same title, the author examines the contribution of cooking to human development and progress.

Still not sold on it? What makes Pollan far more insightful than many food writers is that he recognises the pressures on working people's time and energy, blaming these rather than individuals for poor eating habits.

In one episode, he comments on the impact of bread as a staple food, and how when prices soar, people - quite naturally - revolt against going hungry. He points to the role of this in relation to the French revolution and the Arab Spring.

The four-part series is broken down like the book into looking at the 'four elements' - fire, water, air and earth.

The first episode begins with Pollan drawing the same conclusion as Marx's co-philosopher Friedrich Engels in his essay 'The part played by labour in the transition from ape to man'. The discovery of fire, and its use to cook foods, especially meat, played a significant evolutionary role, limiting the amount of time our distant ancestors spent chewing, and opening up new possibilities for what they could consume.

Old and new

The first episode deals with open-fire cooking as the most basic form, subsequent episodes deal with pot cooking - only possible after the invention of pottery - baking, and fermentation.

Pollan is particularly critical of the modern food-processing system, pointing the blame at techniques big business has used to cut costs, which also drive nutrition out of food. He sees the development of fortified bread and other such foods as a farcical attempt to reinstate these nutrients.

As he comments: "This is how capitalism works. It creates a problem, and rather than fix it, it creates a new business around that problem."

Pollan's weakness is that he doesn't go beyond this criticism of prevailing society, into a class analysis that points towards an alternative way of running things.

Socialists in particular have always stood for a reduction in the working week without loss of pay by sharing out the work, and the implementation of new technology to ease lives. This, combined with a network of affordable canteens and restaurants, would mean people could - like Pollan suggests is optimal - choose to cook for pleasure, rather than necessity.

Cooked is definitely recommended, as is the book the series is based upon, and Pollan's 2011 book 'The Omnivore's Dilemma'.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 22 February 2017:


Save our NHS!

Support the NHS? Join the march!

Health cuts responsible for rise in deaths - reverse all austerity now

Stop victimising NHS whistleblowers


International socialist news and analysis

Dublin: #JobstownNotGuilty


Fighting the cuts

Leicester Unison no-cuts budget call

Bristol: Hundreds march against council cuts

Tower Hamlets anti-cuts budget lobby


Socialist Party news and analysis

30% of people on inadequate incomes in UK

Stop the student loan sell-off - scrap all fees

Argos fails to pay staff minimum wage - taxman cuts fine in half!

What we saw


February Revolution 1917

February revolution 1917 - what lessons for today?


Socialist Party workplace news

Aslef members reject Southern deal - now for coordinated action to fight to win

Tata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

Unison Women's Conference

Workplace news in brief


Socialism not Trumpism

Socialism not Trumpism: Thousands more protest and plan to walkout


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

A world to win - give us the resources!

Socialist Party regional conference reports

Obituary: John Pickett - 1954-2017

Wallasey Labour remains suspended despite collapse of allegations


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Worried about fake news? Start with Labour councils' budget lies

Organise to reverse 28% rise in violence against retail workers

The Socialist Inbox

Web series review: Cooked - "How capitalism ruined eating"


 

Home   |   The Socialist 22 February 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Review:

triangleCrunchy guitar and poignant dialogue in alt-rock homage to south Wales miners

triangleSchool students' remarkable tribute to workers' Spanish Civil War bravery

triangle200-year miscarriage of justice exposing ruling class

triangleGentrification, class and race in Brixton film

triangleHull workers who fought in the Spanish Civil War

Capitalism:

triangleMarx's Capital at 150: an unequalled analysis

triangleVenezuela: Capitalist offensive sharpens after assembly elections

triangleGlobal finance: Are those storm clouds ahead?

triangleVenezuela shows battle Corbyn would face

Food:

triangleCity bosses' 40m bonuses as Number of food banks hits 2,000

triangleCorbyn would limit TV junk food ads

triangleTamil Solidarity Day

Fire:

triangleHousing safety campaign kicks off in Coventry

triangleYoung Socialists off to a flying start in Cardiff

Big business:

triangleRight wing attempts to use single market against Corbyn

Water:

triangleJobstown Not Guilty trial round-up

Technology:

triangleDon't we need competition to spur on progress?

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

15/8/17

Art

'Ana Key MP' - Socialist artist responds to attacks

9/8/17

Music

Crunchy guitar and poignant dialogue in alt-rock homage to south Wales miners

26/7/17

Militant

From Militant to the Socialist Party - what you thought

12/7/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

12/7/17

Theatre

School students' remarkable tribute to workers' Spanish Civil War bravery

5/7/17

Transport

Transport strategy: London's mayor is no visionary

5/7/17

Review

200-year miscarriage of justice exposing ruling class

5/7/17

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

5/7/17

Militant

From Militant to the Socialist Party - what you thought

28/6/17

Socialist Party

To join the struggle to save the NHS

28/6/17

Militant

From Militant to the Socialist Party - what you thought

21/6/17

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

21/6/17

Socialist Party

"Austerity hurts and the only alternative is socialism"

16/6/17

Liverpool

1980s Liverpool Militants replaced tower blocks with streets

15/6/17

Grenfell Tower

A comment on the horrific 'Tory carnage' in West London

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Aug Vital Derby women's services under threat - campaign calls on council...

triangle17 Aug Birmingham bin workers - fighting back wins!

triangle15 Aug US: neo-Nazi violence reawakens resistance

triangle9 Aug Angry bin workers enter fifth week of strike action

triangle9 Aug Young, angry and fighting back

triangle9 Aug Striking back against poverty pay

triangle9 Aug Marx's Capital at 150: an unequalled analysis and critique of...

More ...

triangle17 Aug Worcestershire Socialist Party: Brexit - a socialist programme for leaving the bosses' EU

triangle17 Aug Swansea Socialist Party: Programme of the new left and Marxism

triangle17 Aug Bristol South Socialist Party: The housing crisis and Grenfell Tower

triangle17 Aug Lambeth Socialist Party: Venezuela - the imperialist offensive sharpens

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2