The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber tells the stories of chefs, restaurant owners, farmers, fishermen and fish sellers, wheat researchers, grain mill cooperatives, bread research labs, seed savers, and more -- all through the lens of how and why we eat what we eat and how to shift that to better, tastier food and more resilient food systems.
The only reason I docked one point is because I wanted more. And because some times, in order to tell a good story, there were side tracks, or meanderings that had me wanting the author to follow a more linear track.
Though when you are evaluating ALL aspects of our food choices, and food systems, it's not very linear. High-end food trends drive food "fashion" as it were. As a responsible, influential chef, how do you wield that power? What's involved in doing so...educating the consumers/customers? And yet the go-between is the waitstaff, so they need educating too. This is just one tiny example of how Dan leaves no stone unturned in this seminal work.
I was oohhing and aaahhing with almost every paragraph. And wanting to say to someone, anyone - 'hey, read this part!!' (Well, really, 'listen to this!' because I listened to the audiobook that Dan Barber reads himself.) There were just that many good, deep, mind-blowing revelations about and examples of farmers, fishermen, seed savers, bread and grain researchers, and all the people and systems in between and at either end. Many of the food systems Barber describes in the book could be called permaculture systems. They really are some of the most excellent examples of sustainable, resilient, polyculture and systems-feeding-systems operations out there. Holy moley.
I think The Third Plate is a must read for anyone wanting a healthier food system and healthier, tastier food. Because I'm convinced they really do go hand-in-hand.