Evaluation Of ‘Cooked: Air ‘Documentary

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Pollan tackles the subject of cooking through four elements; fire, air, water, and earth. In addition, he shows the importance of cooking food especially in shaping the society. But, unlike ever before, the society is at risk of losing its culture and identity by outsourcing cooking to corporations. The way Pollan approaches each subject is to show how important each element has been in the evolution of mankind from when we mastered fire, to cooking with water, to the miracle of bread making through air and fermentation. In the episode dealing with air, pollen describes the art of bread making and highlights the usefulness this has had on our society both present and the past (Michael, 2016). Pollan says that out of the aforementioned four elements, air is the most elusive because we cannot see it but this is what makes it special. One of the ways we transform food is by getting air into it. He says there is no other food he likes more than bread and this has just three ingredients, flour, water, and salt.


While it’s typically true that bread is made up of only flour, water, and salt. The process of making it is tiresome and requires patience and hard work. This is because you need people to plant the wheat, harvest it, mill it and eventually bake the bread. Traditional break making requires at least two to three days fermenting dough. In addition, not all places in the world that have favorable weather condition for wheat farming. Also, it’s fallacious to believe that you can live with bread alone.

According to Campbell (2017), human beings need a variety of food for survival such as vegetables, meat, milk and fruits among others. Pollen criticizes the emergence of new industries that make bread. This is absolutely unnecessary. Pollen says that these companies add some other ingredients such as gluten to bread. This is because the baking companies overlook the importance of long, slow sourdough fermentation. In addition, he says that capitalism escalates the problems rather than solving them. I feel this is an exaggeration as he doesn’t have concrete evidence that machine baked bread does not have nutritional benefits as compared to home-baked bread. Notably, industrial yeast is just a replica of traditional sourdough fermentation (Takagi & Shima, 2015).

Sources That Justify Documentary Evaluation

Takagi, H. , & Shima, J. (2015). Stress tolerance of baker’s yeast during bread-making processes. In Stress Biology of Yeasts and Fungi (pp. 23-42). Springer, Tokyo. As highlighted by Takagi (2015), the fermentation ability can be improved by either baker’s yeast or industrial yeasts thus resulting in the effective production of bread dough’s and alcoholic beverages. The prime reason for using yeasts in bread production is to generate carbon dioxide which in turn breaks down fermentable sugars present in the dough.

Therefore, I find this source credible in the evaluation of the documentary. Campbell, B. (2017). Human evolution: an introduction to man’s adaptations. Routledge. Campbell (2017) highlights that human bodies need a variety of food to survive. It is a biological necessity for a human to eat food. Human body needs nutrients such as carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc among others. Each nutrient is derived from a different meal. For this reason, it’s ridiculous that human can live by bread alone. Therefore, there is credibility in this source in evaluating pollens documentary especially on demystifying the myth that humans can live by bread only.

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