The Third Plate – an inspirational food-growing read

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This book was so inspirational that I had to share. It’s a really easy read and anyone with an interest in cooking, eating or growing food will find it a delight.

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The author, Dan Barber, is a well known American chef with a restaurant on his farm and education centre in the hills outside New York. His thoughts on food and agriculture are widely shared and respected and he was been named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2009.

He’s also an incredibly engaging speaker and writer – I’d seen and thoroughly enjoyed a couple of his TED talks – How I fell in love with a fish and A surprising parable of foie gras – both stories are more fully explored in the book but they’re well worth a watch to give you a flavour.

In The Third Plate the author explores his vision for a new food system, one that is sustainable and an integration of vegetables, cereal and livestock management that produces truly delicious food. He challenges everything we think we know about food through his eloquent and entertaining tales of meeting people around the world who are working in harmony with the soil, land and sea.

It’s further inspired me to get more livestock and grow lots more food – I have an especial hankering to try some landrace wheat and make my own flour – the fact we don’t have the land, a mill or any knowledge for any of this is by-the-by 🙂

Not convinced – perhaps some of these reviews might tempt you…

‘Dan Barber’s tales are engaging, funny and delicious…I would call this The Omnivore’s Dilemma 2.0…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’ Chicago Tribune

‘Compelling…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’ Wall Street Journal

‘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’ Ruth Reichl (author of another favourite book of mine Garlic and Saphires)

 

 

4 comments

  1. So this is probably totally out of left field but I am reading this book right now and similarly inspired. Though all I have is a small backyard in the san francisco bay area, I am really curious how he talks about making changes to the soil and how the plants that grow in the soil you have can tell you what the soil needs.

    The reason I write though is as good as the book is it is not really all the instructive, much more descriptive. I was wondering if you had any luck actually implementing the principles put out on the book and if there are any additional resources that speak to the same things they do?

    1. Hey Bob, I’d actually been lucky enough to read a really great book on soil – The Hidden Half of Nature by David Montgomery and Anne Bikle, as well as studying soil/health as part of my MSc so had an idea on some soil improvement methods before reading this book.

      There’s a new book due out in Sept (by the authors of Hidden Half of Nature) called Growing a Revolution: bringing our soil back to life – which I’m planning on getting – sounds like it might be right up your street as well.

      Good luck, it’s a fascinating subject

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