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The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food [Kindle Edition]

Dan Barber
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An award-winning chef moves beyond 'farm-to-table' to offer a revolutionary new way of eating




The Third Plate is chef Dan Barber’s extraordinary vision for a new future of American eating. After more than a decade spent investigating farming communities around the world in pursuit of singular flavor, Barber finally concluded that—for the sake of our food, our health, and the future of the land—America’s cuisine required a radical transformation.



The revelations Barber shares in The Third Plate took root in his restaurant’s kitchen. But his process of discovery took him far afield—to alternative systems of food production and cooking that maximize sustainability, nutrition, and flavor. Barber explores the traditional farming practices of the Spanish dehesa, a uniquely vibrant landscape that has been fine-tuned to produce the famed jamón ibérico. Along the Atlantic coast, he investigates the future of seafood through a revolutionary aquaculture operation and an ancient tuna fishing tradition. 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 cuttingedge seedsmen developing new varieties of grain in collaboration with local bakers, millers, and malters. Drawing on the wisdom and experience of chefs and farmers from around the world, Barber proposes a new definition for ethical and delicious eating destined to refashion Americans’ deepest beliefs about food.



Traditionally, Americans have dined on the “first plate,” a classic meal centered on meat with few vegetables. Thanks to the burgeoning farm-to-table movement, many people have begun eating from the “second plate,” the new ideal of organic, grass-fed meats and local vegetables. But neither model, Barber shows, supports the long-term productivity of the land. Instead, he calls for a “third plate,” a new pattern of eating rooted in cooking with and celebrating the whole farm—an integrated system of vegetable, grain, and livestock production.



The Third Plate is truly a publishing event: a monumental work of personal insight and global analysis that definitively remakes the understanding of nutrition, agriculture, and taste for the twenty-first century. Barber charts a bright path forward for eaters and chefs alike, daring everyone to imagine a future for our national cuisine that is as sustainable as it is delicious.






Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A groundbreaking chef at one of Manhattan’s first farm-to-table restaurants, Barber shares his vision of good food’s future. Cooking per se doesn’t constitute this chef’s passion. He cares about where foods come from, how they’re grown, and whether they can be harvested into the future. To learn about soil’s role, he visits an organic farm in upstate New York, where an insightful, dedicated farmer diversifies crops and grows for quality and not solely for quantity. A Spanish farmer teaches Barber about producing foie gras without force-feeding. He investigates fisheries. All this leaves Barber with some innovative ideas about how people ought to be eating—a third plate of grains, vegetables, and some meat or fish, all grown with ecological awareness and commitment to sustainability. Such a change from current ideas about dining fast and cheap calls for retraining the public palate away from blandness and uniformity and encouraging eaters to demand unique and distinctive flavors. --Mark Knoblauch

Review

The Chicago Tribune
“[A]uthor Dan Barber's tales are engaging, funny and delicious... The Third Plate invites inevitable comparisons with Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, which Barber invokes more than 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 2.0... 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 hasn’t been a call-to-action book with the potential to change the way we eat since Michael Pollan’s 2006 release, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Now there is. Dan Barber’s The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food is a compelling global journey in search of a new understanding about how to build a more sustainable food system….The Third Plate is an argument for good rather than an argument against bad. This recipe might at times be challenging, but what’s served in the end is a dish for a better future….Barber 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 Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan’s now-classic 2006 work, questioned the logic of our nation’s food system, 'local' and 'organic' weren’t ubiquitous the way they are today. Embracing Pollan’s iconoclasm, but applying it to the updated food landscape of 2014, The Third Plate reconsiders fundamental assumptions of the movement Pollan’s 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 region’s broader story—and 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, 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... Mr. Barber is a stylish writer and a funny one, too."

Publishers Weekly:“Barber’s work is a deeply thoughtful and–offering a ‘menu for 2050’–even visionary work for a sustainable food chain.”

Vice President Al Gore:
"Dan Barber’s new book, The Third Plate, is an eloquent and thoughtful look at the current state of our nation’s food system and how it must evolve. Barber’s wide range of experiences, both in and out of the kitchen, provide him with a rare perspective on this pressing issue. A must read.”

Ruth Reichl, author of Garlic and Sapphires and Tender at the Bone:
“In this compelling read 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.”

Eric 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 system—based on diversity, complexity, and a reverence for nature—isn'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 wrong.”

Elizabeth 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 searching—deeply serious and equally entertaining. Dan Barber will change the way you look at food.”

Eliot Coleman, author of The New Organic Grower and The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook:
"After my first 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 equally 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 eloquent, 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 chef—which is saying a great deal. This book uses its ingredients—the insights of some of the finest farmers on the planet—to fashion something entirely new: a recipe for the future.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 2948 KB
  • Print Length: 483 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594204071
  • Publisher: The Penguin Press (May 20, 2014)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G3L1324
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,166 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I thought Michael Pollan’s "The Omnivore’s Dilemma" was pretty much the last word about the food we eat, why we eat it, its cost to our health and the planet’s health, and how we can do better.

I wasn’t alone in that view. But the gold standard is now Dan Barber’s “The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.”

Dan Barber is the chef at Blue Hill at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York and at Blue Hill New York. At those restaurants, as the foodies among you know, Barber has taken farm-to-table dining to its logical extreme — he grows much of the food he cooks. The difference between his meals and the organic cooking of other chefs begins and ends with that fact. His carrots seem to be from a different, finer planet. Ditto his lamb. The wonder is that the source of his otherworldly food is this planet — Barber has found a way to tastes that most of us have never experienced.

“Perhaps no other chef in New York City does as enthusiastic an impersonation of the farmer in the dell as Mr. Barber, and perhaps no other restaurant makes as serious and showy an effort to connect diners to the origins of their food as Blue Hill,” Frank Bruni wrote in the New York Times, awarding Blue Hill three stars. “Here the meals have back stories, lovingly rendered by servers who announce where the chanterelles were foraged and how the veal was fed. It’s an exercise in bucolic gastronomy, and it might be slightly cloying if it weren’t so intensely pleasurable.”

Sorry, but it is cloying.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot to learn, a lot to absorb June 27, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
At 450+ pages this is a long and detailed book that steadily maintains a laconic pace with author, Dan Barber, leisurely meandering to and fro ruminating and contemplating on the flaws of the modern food industrial system and how to fix it in order to feed the planet in a sustainable (and pleasurable) manner. While there is a certain severity to the content I found the volume in its entirety to be a veritable page turner - Barber has a lot to say and share and he manages to do so in a compelling and personable manner that slowly unfolds all while educating the reader every step of the way.

The book is comprised of 4 sections; 'Soil - Land - Sea - Seed,' and Barber's focus with each is from a foundation-infrastructure perspective. For example with 'Soil,' this is the essential component that fuels agriculture and so Barber examines the current state of the mega-agribusiness farming industry and how its practices continuously deteriorate soil and the resulting tasteless, less nutritious grains and vegetables that spring forth. Barber will then turn focus onto systems that manage each resource correctly - typically a 'whole farm' process that involves grain, veg and livestock production into one integrated system that holistically sustains and replenishes itself.

The best quality of the book is Barber's perspective as a 4-star Chef. While sustainability is the chief concern throughout, the quality of ingredients for the sake of delicious meals are also at front and center giving the book a nice balance between hard-edged, environmental concern and measured foodie pleasure.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas about sustainable menus... for the wealthy August 20, 2014
Format:Hardcover
I wasn't planning to write a review for this book, but I am so surprised by the current 4.7 star rating that I just had to share my perspective.

I enjoyed much of this book. I think Dan Barber is really intelligent and has lots of great ideas about food and agriculture. I think that this book is worth reading if you're interested in those topics and you've already read The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. (If you haven't read The Omnivore's Dilemma, please start there; it's less pretentious and will be more relevant to most people.) Like Pollan, Barber travels the source to better understand the systems that produce foods, and his discoveries are quite interesting. They might even be revolutionary if they seemed scalable... and that's where the book falls short.

Barber's exclusive focus on haute cuisine makes me wonder how applicable his ideas are to the majority of Americans who don't dine at swanky New York restaurants every night. He seems to believe in a trickle-down food culture where something he puts on his menu will somehow transform the way everyone else eats. He has great ideas about how to create a sustainable menu. In fact, it's probably his insistence on the purest definition of sustainability that makes his ideas seem so unattainable. Unfortunately, I'm just not sure 90% of the country will ever have access to this kind of food. Even as a vegetable gardener and farmers market shopper with a flock of backyard chickens, I felt like most of what he discussed about sustainability was unattainable.

NOTE: I listened to the audio book, which is read by Barber. Despite my complaints above, I really like him. He's thoughtful and sincere. I'd love to sit down and chat with him about how his ideas might find relevance at less than $100 a plate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous
Beyond the importance of eating local or organic, the author puts you in touch with a history of food that will make you question - in a good way - where and how everything you put... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Dawkins
5.0 out of 5 stars and HE loved the book
This book was actually a gift for a friend who is a chef, and HE loved the book, knew a lot about the author, was thrilled to get the book, so kudos to Dan Barber for bringing some... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jan Machnovitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Essential reading for every chef, anyone who eats food!
Published 12 days ago by Jonathan S Zimmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Informative, and Eye Opening.
Being as this is my business too, but from a different direction (as a grower), I have been recommending this book to everyone that I talk with. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Joanne E. Roth
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chef Leads
Well worth reading. Barber is knowledgeable and informative: he knows his subject well. The "Sea" section was the most loosely constructed and became a bit tedious, but... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sheila W. Griffith
3.0 out of 5 stars Preaching to the choir doesn't encourage change.
This book is both brilliant and a huge disappointment at the same time and here's why. Dan Barber is an amazing chef and discusses food production at the highest levels. Read more
Published 1 month ago by dww
5.0 out of 5 stars great reading for anyone interested in gastronomy and sustainable food...
The book is refreshing and enlightening. It is written in a manner that is easy to follow and keeps you interested from start to finish. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Riccardo Anselmo
5.0 out of 5 stars A great history of food in the US
This history of food in the US has been very stimulating to me. It parallels a lot of experiences I had in the 90s but didn't recognize the significance of as I was living through... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Leslye Borden
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing.
Let me begin by highly recommending this book to anyone who loves food and cooking, or is curious about how our present food system came to be and is intrigued by the chefs,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Donna
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy the title caught my attention
I had a great time reading The Third Plate. It's one of those books where you have an a-ha moment, with your head nodding in agreement. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Katie K.
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More About the Author

DAN BARBER is the Chef of Blue Hill, a restaurant in Manhattan's West Village, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located within the nonprofit farm and education center, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. His opinions on food and agricultural policy have appeared in the New York Times, along with many other publications. Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006) and the country's Outstanding Chef (2009). In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.

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