Summary of The Third Plate

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9 Overall

9 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Chef Dan Barber makes an emphatic plea to chefs and diners to consume only foods that are sustainably grown. When farmers nurture their crops’ soil and encourage their edible creatures to eat what they enjoy, the resulting produce and meat taste better. Barber shares cautionary tales of people’s reckless disrespect for nature, such as the 1930s Dust Bowl, which occurred when strong winds sent neglected and exposed farm soil airborne. He highlights the role chefs play in changing consumer tastes and stresses the need to move beyond “farm-to-table” dining, though he doesn’t always define his terms for non-foodie readers. Warning: Sensitive readers may find that his gruesome descriptions of force-feeding practices provide sufficient reason to become vegans right away. Nonetheless, getAbstract recommends his well-informed quality of life and environmental message.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How mankind’s disrespect for nature affects the quality of food,
  • What role chefs have in changing the public’s taste in food, and
  • How the United States can produce more flavorful food.

About the Author

Dan Barber is chef and co-owner of the Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village. He affiliates with the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture.



The Food Landscape

Exceptional dishes come from a melding of the entire food landscape. Consider New England’s Eight Row corn, which New York’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant is growing for its diners. This long-forgotten strain from the 1600s makes very tasty polenta. Farmers transformed Eight Row corn into a flavorful ingredient by using the rare Iroquois “Three Sisters” planting method – which places three supportive crops together. The corn’s growing trio includes squash, which discourages weed growth at the base; beans, which supply nitrogen to the corn and the soil; and the corn stalk, which gives the beans a perfect place to climb.

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