The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food. (Download)

Than dried meal Its really not too much to ask of polenta to actually taste like the corn But back then I couldnt have imagined the possibility until it happened Jacks planting strategy as artful as a sonnet combined with the corns impeccable genetics changed how I thought about good food and good cooking With remarkable almost ironic regularity I have found myself repeating this kind of experience Different farm different farmer same narrative arc I am reminded that truly flavorful food involves a recipecomplex than anything I can conceive in the kitchen A bowl of polenta that warms your senses and lingers in your memory becomes as straightforward as a mound of corn and as complex as the system that makes it run It speaks to something beyond the crop the cook or the farmerto the entirety of the landscape and how it fits together It can best be expressed in places where good farming and delicious food are inseparable This book is about these stories If that sounds like a chronicle of a farm to table chef it issort of The Chicago Tribune A uthor Dan Barber s tales are engaging funny and deliciousThe Third Plate invites inevitable comparisons with Michael Pollan s The Omnivore s Dilemma which Barber invokesthan once And indeed its framework of a foodie seeking truth through visits with sages and personal experiments echoes Pollan s landmark tome not to mention his passages on wheat cultivation which astonishingly best Pollan s corn cultivation chapters by many pages But at the risk of heresy I would call this The Omnivore s Dilemma The Third Plate serves as a brilliant culinary manifesto with a message as obvious as it is overlooked Promote grow and eat a diet that s in harmony with the earth and the earth will reward you for it It s an inspiring message that could truly help save our water air and land before it s too late The Washington Post Not since Michael Pollan has such a powerful storyteller emerged to reform American food Barber is helping to write a recipe for the sustainable production of gratifying food Pittsburgh Post Gazette There hasnt been a call to action book with the potential to change the way we eat since Michael Pollans release The Omnivores Dilemma Now there is Dan Barbers The Third Plate Field Notes on the Future of Food is a compelling global ourney in search of a new understanding about how to build asustainable food system The Third Plate is an argument for good rather than an argument against bad This recipe might at times be challenging but whats served in the end is a dish for a better futureBarber writes a food manifesto for the ages The Wall Street Journal Compelling The Third Plate reimagines American farm culture not as a romantic return to simpler times but as a smart modern version of it The Third Plate is fun to read a lively mix of food history environmental philosophy and restaurant lore an important and exciting addition to the sustainability discussion The Atlantic When The Omnivores Dilemma Michael Pollans now classic work uestioned the logic of our nations food system local and organic werent ubiuitous the way they are today Embracing Pollans iconoclasm but applying it to the updated food landscape of The Third Plate reconsiders fundamental assumptions of the movement Pollans book helped to spark In four sections Soil Land Sea and Seed The Third Plate outlines how his pursuit of intense flavor repeatedly forced him to look beyond individual ingredients at a regions broader storyand demonstrates how land communities and taste benefit when ecology informs the way we source cook and eat The New York Times 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 elouently and zestfully in The Third Plate Field Notes on the Future of Food Mr Barbers 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 *science and food history will put the book down having learned uite a bit Mr Barber is a stylish writer and a funny one too Publishers Weekly Barbers work isa deeply thoughtful andoffering a menu for even visionary workfor a sustainable food chainVice President Al Gore Dan Barbers new book The Third Plate is an elouent and thoughtful look at the current state of our nations food system and how it must evolve Barbers wide range of experiences both in and out of the kitchen provide him with a rare perspective on this pressing issue A must readRuth Reichl author of Garlic and Sapphires and Tender at the Bone In this compelling read Dan Barber asks uestions 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 ust one book this would be the oneEric Schlosser author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control Dan Barber is not only a great chef he s also a fine writer His vision of a new food systembased on diversity complexity and a reverence for natureisn t utopian It s essential Malcolm Gladwell author of David and Goliath and The Tipping Point I thought it would be impossible for Dan Barber to be as interesting on the page as he is on the plate I was wrongElizabeth Kolbert author of The Sixth Extinction and Field Notes from a Catastrophe The Third Plate is one of those rare books that s at once deft and searchingdeeply serious and eually entertaining Dan Barber will change the way you look at foodEliot Coleman author of The New Organic Grower And The Four Season Farm Gardeners Cookbook After My and The Four Season Farm Gardeners Cookbook After my meal at Blue Hill I paid Dan the ultimate farmer compliment I told him that he made vegetables taste almost fresher after he had prepared them than when the farmer harvested them Now I am eually impressed with his writing Food has stories and Dan tells the stories as well as he cooks If you want to know about food read this book Andrew Solomon author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon Dan Barber writes with the restrained lushness with which he cooks In elegant prose he argues persuasively that eating is our most profound engagement with the non human world How we eat makes us who we are and makes the environment what it is It all needs to change and Barber has written a provocative manifesto that balances brave originality and meticulous research His food is farm to table his elouent impassioned book is farm to heart Bill McKibben author of Wandering Home Dan Barber is as fine a thinker and writer as he is a chefwhich is saying a great deal This book uses its ingredientsthe insights of some of the finest farmers on the planetto fashion something entirely new a recipe for the future. ,

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INTRODUCTION A corncob dried and slightly shriveled arrived in the mail not long after we opened Blue Hill at Stone Barns Along with the cob was a check for The explanation arrived the same day in an e mail I received from Glenn Roberts a rare seeds collector and supplier of specialty grains Since Blue Hill is part of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture a multipurpose farm and education center Glenn wanted my help persuading the vegetable farmer to plant the corn in the spring He said the corn was a variety called New England Eight Row Flint There is evidence Glenn told me that Eight Row Flint corn dates back to the s when for a time it was considered a technical marvel Not only did it consistently produce eight fat rows of kernels four or five was the norm back then modern cobs have eighteen to twenty rows but it also had been carefully selected by generations of Native Americans for its distinctive flavor By the late s the corn was widely planted in western New England and the lower Hudson Valley and later it was found as far as southern Italy But a brutally cold winter in wiped out the New England crop Seed reserves were exhausted to near extinction as most of the stockpiled corn went to feed people and livestock The cob Glenn had sent was from a line that had survived for two hundred years in Italy under the name Otto File eight rows which he hoped to restore to its place of origin By planting the seed he wrote we would be growing an important and threatened historic flavor of Italy while simultaneously repatriating one of New Englands extinct foodways Congratulations on your uest Dan and thank you for caring Glenn added in case I didntcare that the Eight Row was uite possibly the most flavorful polenta corn on the planet and absolutely unavailable in the US At harvest he promised another He wanted nothing in return other than a few cobs to save for seed If his offer sounds like a home run for Stone Barns it was Here was a chance to recapture a regional variety and to honor a Native American crop with historical significance For me it was a chance to cook with an ingredient no other restaurant could offer on its menu catnip for any chef and to try the superlative polenta for myself Yet I carried the corncob over to Jack Algiere the vegetable farmer with little enthusiasm Jack is not a fan of growing corn and with only eight acres of field production on the farm you cant blame him for dismissing a plant that demands so much real estate Corn is needy in other ways too Its gluttonous reuiring for example large amounts of nitrogen to grow From the perspective of a vegetable gardener its the biological euivalent of a McMansion In the early stages of planning Stone Barns Center I told Jack about a farmer who was harvesting immature corn for our menu It was a baby cob ust a few inches long the kernels not yet visible You ate the whole cob which brought to mind the canned baby corn one finds in a mediocre vegetable stir fry Except these tiny cobs were actually tasty I wanted to impress Jack with the novelty of the idea He was not impressed You mean your farmer grows the whole stalk and then picks the cobs when theyre still little he said his face suddenly scrunched up as if he were absorbing a blow to the gut Thats nuts He bent over and nearly touched the ground with his right hand then stood up on his toes and with his left hand reached up high above my head hiking his eyebrows to indicate ust how tall a corns stalk grows Only after all that growth will corn even beginto think about producing the cob That big thirsty olly green giant of a stalkwhich evenwhen it produces full size corn has to be among the plant kingdoms most ridiculous uses of Mother Natures energyand what are yougetting for all that growth Youre getting this He flashed his pinky finger Thats all youre getting He rotated his hand so I could see his finger from all angles One tiny pretty flavorless bite of corn One summer when I was fourteen years old Blue Hill Farm my familys farm in Massachusetts grew only corn No one can remember why But it was the strangest summer I think back to it now with the same sense of bewilderment I felt as a child encountering the sea of gold tassels where the grass had ALWAYS BEEN BEFORE BLUE HILL FARM BECAME A CORN been Before Blue Hill Farm became a corn for a summer I helped make hay for winter storage from one of the eight pasture fields We began in early August loading bales onto a conveyor belt and methodically packing them Lego like into the barns stadium size second floor By Labor Day the room was filled nearly to bursting its own kind of landscape Making hay meant first cutting the grass whichfor me anywaymeant riding shotgun in a very large tractor for hours each day crouching silently next to one of the farmers and studying the contours of the fields And so by way of no special talent ust repetition I learned to anticipate the dips and curves in the fields the muddy washed out places the areas of thick shrubbery and thinned grasseswhen to brace for a few minutes of a bumpy ride and when to duck under a protruding branch I internalized those bumps and curves the way my grandmother Ann Strauss internalized the bumps *and curves of Blue Hill Road by driving it for thirty years She always seemed to *curves of Blue Hill Road by driving it for thirty years She always seemed to going to town to get her hair done or coming back from running errands Sometimes my brother David and I were with her and we used to laugh in the backseat because Ann never Grandma never Grandmother rounded the corners in her Chevy Impala at incredible speeds maneuvering with the ease and fluency of a practiced finger moving over braille Her head was often cranked to the left or to the right antennae engaged inspecting a neighbors garden or a renovated screened in porch She sometimes narrated the intrigue happening inside During these moments her body took over autopiloting around corners without having to slow down swerving slightly to avoid the ditch ust beyond Bill Rieglemans home Often on the last leg of the drive Ann would tell us the story of how she came to buy the farm in the s a story she had told a thousand times before Back then the property was a dairy operation owned by the Hall brothers whose family had farmed the land since the late s You know I used to walk up this road every week for years sometimes every day she would say as if telling the story for the first time I loved Blue Hill Farmthan any place in the world At the top of Blue Hill Road was four hundred acres of open pasture But what a mess I couldnt believe it really They had cows pasturing in the front yard The house was run down and so dirty They didnt have a front doorclimbed in and out through the kitchen window for heavens sake And you know what I loved it I loved the fields I loved the backdrop of blue hills I loved that I felt like a ueen every time I came up here Whenever Ann saw the Hall brothers she would let them know she wanted to. Buy the farm But they PostgreSQL Server Programming - Second Edition just laughed Ms Strauss theyd say this farms been in our family for three generations Were never selling So Id return the next week and theyd say the same thing Never selling This went on for many years until one day I arrived at the farm and one of the brothers came running over out of breath Ms Strauss do you want to buy this farm Just like that I couldnt believe it He didnt even let me answer This morning my brother and I got into the biggest fight If we dont sell now were going to kill each other I said I was interested For sure I would buy a piece of it Maam he said were selling it nowthe whole thing or forget it Right now So I said yes I hadnt even been inside the farmhouse and I didnt know where the property began and where it ended But it didnt matter What else was I going to say Iust knew this was the place The dairy part of Blue Hill Farm disappeared with the Hall brothers but Ann began pasturing beef cattle because she wanted the fields to remain productive and because she enjoyed showing off the view to her friends the image of cows dotting the iconic New England landscape is still fit for a coffee table book At the time I didnt know about the importance of preserving that kind of view I Integrity Restored: Helping Catholic Families Win the Battle Against Pornography just enjoyed the tractor rides the look back at the field lined with the long curving windrows ofust cut grass and then as I got older the hard work of baling and storing hay for the winter Which as it happened suddenly came to an end because of the summer of corn The maize invasion meant the cows grazed at another farm which meant the hours of fixing fences and lugging salt licks and watching the herd lie and chew cud before a rainstorm came to an end too And since you dont tend to a field of cornin the same way you dont really tend to a houseplantit meant the baler and the hay wagons the farm interns the red Ford F pickup truck the big iced tea ug and all the sweaty work went with them To look out from the front porch at what had always been fields of grass transformed suddenly into amber fields of corn felt not uite right Same home new furniture Endless rows of corn are one of those things that are beautiful to behold at a distance They tremble in great waves with the slightest breeze and you think of beauty and abundance Up close its a different story For one thing the abundance is relative We cant eat feed cornI tried to that summer The enormous cobs line the stalks like loaded missiles tasting nothing like the sweet stuff we chainsaw through in August And theres little in the way of beauty The long straight rows take on a military like discipline They cut across bare soil hard corners and creased edges replacing the natural contours of the field that I once knew so well I handed Jack the Eight Row Flint cob from Glenn and explained the situation fearing that if the idea of growing corn offended him the check for might upset him evenBut I was wrong about both He loved the idea Look Jack said to meand in Jacks parlance Look is a happy thing to hear Look says I know I may have given you some differing opinion in the past but there are exceptions to my rule and this is one of themThis corn is the rare case of flavor driving genetics he said reminding me of the generations of farmers who had selected and grown Eight Row Flint for its superior flavor not solely for its yield as is the case with most modern varieties How often do you get to be a part of that in your lifetime So far so good But Jack went a step further He planted the Eight Row Flint like the Irouois planted most of their cornalongside dry beans and suash a companion planting strategy called the Three Sisters On the continuum of farming practices Three Sisters is at the opposite end from how corn is typically grown with its military row monocultures and chemical fed soil The at the opposite end from how corn is typically grown with its military row monocultures and chemical fed soil The is to carefully bundle crops into relationships that benefit each other the soil and the farmer *The Beans Provide The Corn *beans provide the corn nitrogen legumes draw nitrogen from the air into the soil the corn stalk provides a natural trellis for the climbing beans so Jack wouldnt need to stake the beans and the suash planted around the base of the corn and the beans suppresses weeds and offers an additional vegetable to harvest in the late fall It was a masterful ideamimicking the successful Native American strategy while taking out a small insurance policy on the Eight Row Flint Even if the corn failed to germinate Jack could still harvest the other crops and in the meantime hed show visitors to the Stone Barns Center a valuable historical farming techniue And yet I couldnt help but feel skeptical as I watched him plant the corn kernels and companion seeds into mounds of rich soil I had nothing against honoring agricultural traditions but I didnt need a sisterhood of beneficial relationships I needed a polenta with phenomenal flavor As luck would have it or maybe it was the sisterhood after all the Eight Row Flint had nearly perfect germination Following the harvest in late September Jack hung the corn upside down in a shed and waited for the moisture to evaporate By late November ust in time for the long winter march of root vegetables he triumphantly set a dried cob on my desk It looked nearly too perfect like a prop for an elementary school production of the First Thanksgiving Voil he said so pleased with himself he seemed to wriggle with the sheer oy of it Theyre ready to go Tell me when you want them Today I was feeding off Jacks energy Well make polenta and then And then I realized something I hadnt considered the corn needed to be ground I didnt have a mill The truth is that I had never really considered the corncob behind the cornmeal It hadnt crossed my mind once in twenty years of preparing polenta Polenta was polenta Of course I knew it came from corn ust as I knew bread came from wheat Beyond the obvious I had never needed to knowA week later ust before dinner service our new tabletop grinder arrived The engine whirred as it pulverized the kernels into a finely milled dust I toasted the ground maize lightly and cooked it right away in water and salt Id like to say I cooked the Eight Row Flint the way Native Americans cooked it stirring a clay pot all day with a wooden spoon over an open
hearth but the 
But the was carbonized steel the spoon metal and the hearth an induction cooktop that heats by magnetic force It didnt matter Before long the polenta was smooth and shiny I continued stirring which is when suddenly the pot began smelling like a steaming well buttered ear of corn It wasnt ust the best polenta of my life It was polenta I hadnt imagined possible so cornythat breathing out after swallowing the first bite brought another rich shot of corn flavor The taste didnt so much disappear as slowly begrudgingly fade It was an awakening But the uestion for me was Why How had I assumed all those years that polenta smelled of nothing.
Tainted Blood
The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.