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Rhetorical Analysis on Michael Pollan’s Book “Why Cook?”

Analytical Essay

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Rhetorical Analysis on "Why Cook"



The author of the text is an American journalist and professor named Michael Pollan. Pollan primary writes about various topics concerning nature and how it links with the societal culture. In the book "Why Cook", Pollan explains why he considers cooking important through referring to his own experience. The writer apparently possesses vast knowledge on matters connected to food and cooking as he provides a detailed discussion on the evolution of food preparation. This paper provides a rhetorical analysis of the text “Why Cook.”


The author of the text addresses various readers. The message is communicated to the groups as well as individuals who consume fast food. Apparently, the author feels that every individual should take the responsibility of learning and developing the habit of cooking raw food. The message is equally directed to people who work within various food industries. 


            The primary topic in the text dwells on the importance of learning ways of preparing raw food. Pollan highlights different types of food depending on the areas where an individual buys it. The foods that are available to people, according to Pollan, come from industries or homes where food is cooked from its raw form. The author also gives the reasons why he feels that cooking is an art that needs to be embraced by every individual. In fact, the writer lists multiple reasons why learning how to cook proper food is essential for people’s well-being. Pollan shares the views of other experts on food as well. In the text, Pollan builds his discussion through focusing on four critical aspects of cooking namely, fire, air, water, and earth.


The primary purpose of the text is to highlight the significance of cooking healthy food. The author gives a comprehensive analysis of the issues that people face because of their poor attitude towards cooking at home. The discussion also provides essential steps that every person can take to improve family health, introduce a proper food supply system as well as stop the growing dependence on ready-made food.

One of the factors that Pollan considers rather significant is the shared meal experience. According to Pollan, when family members frequently share meals, it becomes more mentally comfortable for them to voice their concerns and trust each other (Pollan 9). Moreover, it provides children with an opportunity to develop communication skills that are of great importance in adult life.

In regard to the family health, Pollan argues that individuals tend to forget what healthy food constitutes of. For that reason, the author emphasizes that it is paramount to be acknowledged with the processes of preparing raw products. In fact, Pollan notes that the classical definition of cooking is so broad because it entails all techniques adopted in transforming raw products into the edible food. Fire is one of the key requirements that people should learn how to use while cooking. The aspect of water and air when cooking contributes to creating some natural feelings that people need to enjoy.


            The author of the text uses several logos throughout the text. First, the author appeals to the rest of his audience to focus on the traditional way of cooking for various reasons. Some of them are directly related to the author’s experience of attempting to cook different dishes. Pollan notes that cooking provides him with a fulfilling experience because of the fun that accompanies the process. Besides, he tries to convince the readers that discovering new ways of cooking also provides gratification. The writer mentions to the readers how his experience of working in the bread factory allowed him to develop better cooking skills and confidence. Pollan appreciates the fact that cooking allowed him to develop some sense of social and ecological awareness.

            The author also adopts the use of pathos in multiple ways as evident within the text. In the first instance, Pollan gives a detailed explanation to show the differences that exist between the food that is cooked in different households and the food that is served at fast-food restaurants. Apparently, food that is processed by such restaurants tends to have excessive sugar or salt levels and contain preservatives. For that reason, Pollan makes a logical conclusion that industrial food is less healthy in comparison to the food that is prepared at home. In fact, Pollan argues that consumption of industrial food is one of the reasons why there are increasing cases of chronic diseases among the population of the United States.

            In conclusion, Pollan highlights reasons why people should focus on making healthy food. It is critical for people to drop the habits of eating processed foods and start adopting the art of cooking food at home. The entire discussion in the text has essential information that can help households to develop a healthy diet.


Pollan, Michael. Cooked: a natural history of transformation. Penguin, 2014.

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