Book Review: The Third Plate by Dan Barber

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Everyone knows Dan Barber surprises you in the kitchen, but who knew he was just as eloquent on paper?

An inquisitive and humble page-turner ‘The Third Plate’ takes the reader though Barber’s investigative journey on real food—envisioning a future plate for coming generations.

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As he visits farms, asks questions, applies techniques to Blue Hill, he is simultaneously learning and teaching. Always eager to explore he forges relationships with farm pioneers—characters who give us hope for a greener future.

As he analyses the evolution of American food from the ‘first plate’—industrially produced, meat heavy dishes, to the ‘second-plate’ of grass-fed meat and organic greens to a ‘third plate’ of seasonal produce, wild and whole grains, natural rhythms and small portions of protein—a balancing act of what nature can truly provide.

Barber recounts the history of food production, America’s lost prairies, and why such a wealthy nation never truly achieved a healthy cuisine. It begs the question: did America’s abundance poise it against crafting its cultural cuisine? Did civilizations need scarcity in order to achieve culinary creativity?

A deep dive into the importance of soil, the fragile status of our fish stocks, and the impact of regenerative farming, this book a must read for all foodies out there. There are solutions, innovators, and systems already at work, it’s just time to kick-out obsolete and tasteless industrial farming and welcome a closed system of food production.

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