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general non-fiction

The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food

 
 
Author
Dan Barber.
Publisher Penguin  
Format hardcover
ISBN 9781594204074
Pages/Publication Date 486/2014
Daedalus Item Code 49424
This item is not available.
Description
The "first plate" is the way many of us were raised to eat, featuring a large cut of meat with few vegetables. The farm-to-table movement has given us a "second plate," where the meat is from free-range animals and the vegetables are locally sourced. It's an improvement in taste and better for the animals and the land, says James Beard Award–winning chef Dan Barber, but not much more sustainable than the first plate in terms of the environment or our individual health—and it doesn't involve truly delicious food. Based on ten years of surveying farming communities all over the world, Barber's "Third Plate" is a radical new way of thinking about food that redefines nutrition, agriculture, and taste, and can help us heal the land. Barber explains it as an integrated system of vegetable, grain, and livestock production that is fully supported—in fact, dictated—by what we choose to cook for dinner. This way of eating is rooted in worldwide tradition, demonstrated in the time-honored farming practices of the southern Spanish dehesa, a region producing high-grade olives, acorns, cork, wool, and renowned jamón ibérico pork. Off the Straits of Gibraltar, Barber also investigates the future of seafood through a revolutionary aquaculture operation and an ancient tuna-fishing ritual. In upstate New York, Barber learns from a flourishing mixed-crop farm whose innovative organic practices have revived the land and resurrected an industry. And in Washington State he works with cutting-edge seedsmen developing new varieties of grain in collaboration with local bakers, millers, and malt makers.

"Dan Barber asks questions that nobody else has raised about what it means to be a chef, the nature of taste, and what 'sustainable' really means. He challenges everything you think you know about food; it will change the way you eat. If I could give every cook just one book, this would be the one."—Ruth Reichl

"Each grain represents an agricultural virtue: Rye, for example, builds carbon in the soil. Taken together, they argue for a new way of thinking about the production and consumption of food, a 'whole farm' approach that Mr. Barber explores, eloquently and zestfully, in The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.... Mr. Barber's subjects tend to be colorfully eccentric and good talkers, capable of philosophizing by the yard. To put their efforts in context, Mr. Barber unobtrusively weaves in a hefty amount of science and food history. Readers will put the book down having learned quite a bit about the dehesa system of agriculture in Spain, and about the agricultural innovations of land-grant colleges. Mr. Barber also makes good use of his own CV, which yields some highly entertaining set pieces. From his early days training in France, he recalls a Vesuvian blowup by the chef Michel Rostang, enraged by a vegetable cook who uses the wrong potatoes in a fricassee. A dinner for a group of Gourmet editors at Stone Barns goes the wrong way fast when he sends out endangered bluefin tuna—and the plates are sent right back, the tuna untouched. ('I'm not going to lie to you, Chef: Cat's got their tongue,' the distraught waiter reports.) Mr. Barber is a stylish writer and a funny one, too."—NYTimes

 
 
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