Here is the bottom line:
The premise of this book is that cooking — defined broadly enough to take in the whole spectrum of techniques people have devised for transforming the raw stuff of nature into nutritious and appealing things for us to eat and rink — is one of the most interesting and worthwhile things we do.
This is a highly thoughtful book, and I enjoyed the lengthy discussion of fermentation and fermented foods. My favorite puzzle posed is the question of why fermented foods are so frequently matters of acquired taste across cultures. Yet overall the book is missing a sharpness of argumentation or novelty of perspective which I look for in works of this kind. You can order the book here. Here is a useful Laura Miller review of the book. Here is a NYT review. Here is Mark Bittman coverage. Here is an excerpt from the book.