Michael Pollan's Cooked: A Natural History Of Food

775 Words4 Pages
It happens to all of us. As we walk down the street unannounced, an irresistible scent arrives in our nostrils: a scent of grilled food that instantly awakens our appetite. As author Michael Pollan explains in his book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, baking high-calorie foods causes them to release a host of substances that become irresistible to most carnivores. Our instinct tells us that where this aroma is found there is food, and it is especially appetizing and it will provide us with many calories. That's when we turn our necks and see ourselves drooling in front of a diner, steakhouse or pizzeria. "The food has been manipulated in very clever ways to make it addictive and very difficult to stop eating," said Pollan in an…show more content…
As the award-winning Pulitzerist Michael Moss in his book "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us" (or "Fatty Salt: How the Food Giants Vitiated Us") explains, food processing is thought to offer us "a sensation Of well being, by activating the brain mechanisms that make us dependent.…show more content…
And the fault is sodium nitrite (E 250), a salt used as a preservative of meat and color fixative, in smoked, preserved, cold and canned. Its use is justified because it prevents the growth of sporogenic bacteria, responsible for botulism, but the amount that can be added to the meat is regulated, since it generates nitrosamines, a chemical compound carcinogen. Nitrite is used in combination with other salts, such as potassium and sodium nitrate, which are the so-called "healing salts" present in all types of canned and processed meats. Its aroma awakens the hunger and its taste is very attractive to us, because it highlights the umami, the fifth flavor, that is present in many other "jewels" of the food industry. "When you see ingredients like textured vegetable protein or monosodium glutamate, they are all chemicals known as umami," explains Pollan. "Humans are programmed by evolution to like it, probably because it is the taste of flesh. Bacon is the best example, it has all the chemical compounds that make up the umami " 2.

More about Michael Pollan's Cooked: A Natural History Of Food

Open Document