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WATCH: Michael Pollan Teaches Us About Grisly Pre-Gastronomy Caveman Deaths

Yo, Reader’s Digest pollsters: this is why Michael Pollan should be more trustworthy than Rachael Ray. He can blow your mind with the sciences. Pollan visited the set of The Chew today to plug his new book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.

The book organizes the pillars of cooking around the four elements — fire, water, air, and earth — with the idea that once you’ve mastered them, like your caveman ancestors before you, you can cook anything.

For example, did you know: before man developed pottery in which he could add water to food (eg., gruel) approximately 10,000 years ago, that when old people’s teeth would fall out, they would just die because they couldn’t chew solid foods anymore? Dead. Death. Can’t chew? Starve. The end. Seriously.

Check out more gastronomical history facts from Michael Pollan below.

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