Contributed by Wendy Silvius
Slow Books meets five or six times a year to discuss our latest read and the book we chose for April was The Third Plate, by Dan Barber, Executive Chef at Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns which are both in New York. In this delightful read, Barber exposes the limits of the farm-to-table and locavore movements in promoting good health and sustainable farming, but he doesn’t leave the reader directionless or hopeless in the quest for a better world. Barber’s concept is that the “Third Plate” or the one that comes after the improvements that the local food movement has brought to the “First Plate” of industrial agriculture will involve dining on portions provided by integrated vegetable, grain and livestock production which are rooted in worldwide local traditions. Barber travels around the world visiting farmers and chefs who help him understand and unlock the magic of regional cuisines based on terroir; and he challenges us to reimagine our plates for the twenty-first century. The good news is that the best farming practices produce the best-tasting food, so this book left us longing for the arrival of the Third Plate as it seems to fulfill the promise of Good, Clean and Fair for all!