Netflix and Chew: Cooked

The day one of my college friends introduced me to Netflix back while I was studying in the US, was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between couch potato and screen. I’ve always loved some of the Netflix originals on there — though in the US, there were a lot more options for Netflix original movies (mostly bad, but were great for a laugh). But the influx of Netflix original series is nothing to sneeze at.

Many Netflix users rave about the documentaries on there. To be honest, I probably only ever watched one, and it was probably music-related.

Until I started dating The Bartender.

On top of binge-watching TV series such as Narcos, 13 Reasons Why, Riverdale, Girlboss (which didn’t make it past Season 1 unfortunately), Master of None, etc., I introduced The Bartender to the wonderful world of Netflix by showing him the wonderful array of Food & Beverage documentaries available. And boy, was he excited. He’s not one to ever sit still and watch anything with me at home. Till now that is.

Cooked - kitchen catastrophe
Image source: Netflix

We just recently completed a series called Cooked, created by Michael Pollan — a four-part documentary based on his book. I’m not very familiar with his work, but judging from a few articles I’ve skimmed through when Googling him, he’s done some pretty interesting research about food and the industry in general.

While the overall learnings from the docu-series were great, I especially loved the storytelling of the series. I like how each episode focused on one of the four important elements of food: Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Apart from that, the episodes also highlighted various different cultures, most of which differ wildly from typical American/Western culture, and yet there were several similarities in these different cultures when it comes to food.

Civil Eats - Fermentation
Image source: Civil Eats

The biggest eye-opener for me was the last episode, Earth, that talks about fermentation. Oh, the number of things I didn’t had actually gone through the fermentation process at some point, i.e. chocolate. Had no idea the cacao beans went through fermentation prior to becoming chocolate — I always thought the cacao beans were already brown as is.

It’s also amazing to think how much progress humans have made when it comes to the preparation of food, and at the same time, tip your hat to whichever caveman or primitive ancestor of the human race first thought about these processes that have become a norm in our every day food preparation. I mean, how did they suddenly decide “hey, fire could make this meat taste better”?

Needless to say, it’s a must-watch for those who absolutely LOVE food. And drinks even.

I love eating food, but I’ve never been one to spend hours in the kitchen preparing food. The art was completely lost to me. Eating was basically a necessity to survive for me, and I had no problems ordering takeout or living on instant food if I had to. Which is what I basically did during my college years when I lived alone — I would cook pasta and just dump a jar of sauce in. Once in a blue moon, I’d be adventurous and try to throw a few basic things together. But, I never got the hang of it. And mostly, I didn’t really enjoy it.

Yet lately, it seems I’ve been overcome with a minor interest in cooking. It could be due to the thousands of Buzzfeed Food and Tastemade videos flooding my Facebook timeline, coupled with a diminishing bank account that heightens the appeal of a cheap, home-cooked meal. And of course, documentaries like Cooked that just make you curious to explore flavours and want to revel in the delightful scent of freshly cooked meals.

Despite my newfound inspiration to cook, I’m still pretty sh*t in the kitchen. Thankfully, The Bartender isn’t and is willing to show me the ropes around my own kitchen. I attempted to make pasta the other night for supper, which only turned out decent because The Bartender came over in time to make some adjustments (admittedly, I was pretty drunk and perhaps shouldn’t have attempted pasta in the first place).

Pasta Fire Chef-589x600
Thankfully, this is not me. (Image source: Funny Pix Daily)

Perhaps I should focus on improving my cocktail-making skills first, before I attempt working a stove or oven.

But hey, here’s to me learning new things! Who knows? I might be brave enough to cook for my Mom one of these days (hah!).

P/S: If you plan on watching Cooked anytime soon, be sure to stock up on snacks because you will definitely be feeling peckish. Never attempt to watch this show hungry. 



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