The Third Plate, authored by restaurateur Dan Barber dispatches all popular concepts of what the term “organic” in our food chain really means. Barber is the chef and owner of Manhattan’s Blue Hill restaurant in the West Village and Blue Hill at Stone Barns and the non-profit Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture located on the Rockefeller Estate in Westchester County, New York.
The “industrial organic food” proffered in today’s food distribution system bears no resemblance to Barber’s discussion of the origins of food, the seed, the soil, the sea and the land. The Third Plate is well written, researched and enjoyable. Make no mistake however, the book is an academic and scientific discussion of what Barber believes is the destruction of the integrity, taste and wholesomeness of what we eat. The book makes an enormous contribution to the entire ” sustainability” discussion and offers hope for a way forward.
The Third Plate travels the world for answers to how it might become realistic to return the world’s food supply to the purity of its origins. Population growth, economics and demand would likely make that impossible. However, Barber makes the reader hopeful by tantalizing the taste buds of what a carrot or potato or naturally raised beef, lamb or pork should really taste like. In reality, without a visit to Blue Hill or Stone Barns, you may never know.
Any cook would be naturally drawn to this book but don’t look for recipes. Instead, imagine what it would be like to work with the ingredients that Barber nurtures and encourages. This book “tastes good” right down to the acorn flavor in Eduardo’s jamon iberico from Iberian pigs raised under ancient oaks in Spain’s dehesa.
I hope you enjoyed the flavor of this brief synopsis. If it is enticing you will enjoy reading The Third Plate. Then make a reservation at Blue Hill or Stone Barns and taste for yourself. Also, include a visit to the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.