"[E]ngaging, funny and delicious... I
would call this The Omnivore''s Dilemma 2.0."
At the heart of today's optimistic farm-to-table food culture is a
dark secret: the local food movement has failed to change how we
eat. It has also offered a false promise for the future of food.
Our concern over factory farms and chemically grown crops might
have sparked a social movement, but chef Dan Barber reveals that
even the most enlightened eating of today is ultimately detrimental
to the environment and to individual health. And it doesn't involve
truly delicious food. Based on ten years of surveying farming
communities around the world, Barber's The Third Plate
offers a radical new way of thinking about food that will heal the
land and taste good, too.
The Third Plate is grounded in the history of American
cuisine over the last two centuries. Traditionally, we have dined
on the first plate," a classic meal centered on a large cut of
meat with few vegetables. Thankfully, that's become largely passé.
The farm-to-table movement has championed the second plate," where
the meat is from free-range animals and the vegetables are locally
sourced. It's better-tasting, and better for the planet, but the
second plate's architecture is identical to that of the first. It,
too, is damagingdisrupting the ecological balances of the planet,
causing soil depletion and nutrient lossand in the end it isn't a
sustainable way to farm or eat.
The solution, explains Barber, lies in the third plate": an
integrated system of vegetable, grain, and livestock production
that is fully supportedin fact, dictatedby what we
choose to cook for dinner. The third plate is where good farming
and good food intersect.
While the third plate is a novelty in America, Barber demonstrates
that this way of eating is rooted in worldwide tradition. He
explores the time-honored farming practices of the southern Spanish
dehesa, a region producing high-grade olives, acorns,
cork, wool, and the renowned jamón ibérico. Off the
Straits of Gibraltar, Barber 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. Drawing on the wisdom and experience of chefs and farmers
from around the world, Barber builds a dazzling panorama of ethical
and flavorful eating destined to refashion Americans' deepest
beliefs about food.
A vivid and profound work that takes readers into the kitchens and
fields revolutionizing the way we eat, The Third Plate
redefines nutrition, agriculture, and taste for the twenty-first
century. The Third Plate 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.
The Wall Street Journal
"[F]un to read, a lively mix of
food history, environmental philosophy and restaurant lore... an
important and exciting addition to the
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 sectionsSoil," 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 storyand demonstrates how land,
communities, and taste benefit when ecology informs the way we
source, cook, and eat."