Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://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:

triangleDetermined UCU strikers: We're out to win!

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

triangleTV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

triangleComprehensive account of bloody conflict

triangleWell-deserved ridicule of Stalinism is impressive, funny but flawed

Capitalism:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleFearful bosses call for 'fairer capitalism'... we say: fight for socialism!

triangle10 years since the financial crash - the socialist answer to capitalist crisis

triangleCapitalism in crisis: news in brief

Food:

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: How would food production change under socialism?

triangle4m children in UK in homes that can't afford fruit and veg

triangleThem & Us

Fire:

triangleMerseyside fire authority forced to postpone night closures

trianglePressure building on councillors to stop fire service cuts

Big business:

triangleBig drugs companies dodge three billion pounds in tax - nationalise them to fund our health services

Water:

triangleNationalise the energy giants to combat global warming

Arab:

triangleIsrael - Protest rally against the Nationality Law

Technology:

triangleChina: Solidarity with Jasic Technology workers

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

12/9/18

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

12/9/18

Football

When working class women dominated football

5/9/18

privacy

GDPR data laws: Punishing workers for human mistakes

5/9/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

5/9/18

Care workers

A day in the life of a carer: "I am having trouble feeding my children on my wages"

5/9/18

Retail

Shop workers hungry for 10 an hour now and an end to zero-hour contracts

29/8/18

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

22/8/18

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

22/8/18

Workers

Union bureaucracies, soviets and workers' power

22/8/18

Palestine

Ahed Tamimi - worldwide symbol of self-esteem in face of oppression

8/8/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

8/8/18

Glasgow

Protests win temporary halt to refugee evictions in Glasgow

25/7/18

Obituary

Obituary: Ged Travers 1957-2018

4/7/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

27/6/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999