Dan Barber’s book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, was released this week, graced with blurbs by everyone from Ruth Reichl to Al Gore and Malcolm Gladwell. And if it feels like it was a long time coming, that’s because it was. The chef and writer spent over a decade visiting farmers and other food producers and ruminating about the role their work plays in the wider natural world. Meanwhile Barber was also running a world-renowned restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, part of a small constellation of other efforts, including Blue Hill restaurant in New York City, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Barber’s nearby family farm. Read more
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The year 2015 will bring a new set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and there are some changes afoot that could help us recalibrate our food ways. The shift in thinking boils down to this: Sustainability. There seems to be a new recognition that we should protect our food systems so that they serve us for generations to come. In other words, we should eat what’s healthy for now—and later. Read more
Earlier this week, the New York Times ran an opinion piece, “Finally, Some Optimism About Obesity?,” in which bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel and researcher Andrew Steinmetz tell us we should feel good about the country’s anti-obesity efforts* because we’re responding to this health crisis “much more nimbly” than we did with smoking. Read more
When Laurie David sets her eye on a project, there’s no doubt she will make it happen. She’s the Oscar-winning film producer who convinced Al Gore to turn his climate change slide show into a documentary. Gore was skeptical, but David persisted and wore him down. Without her determination, An Inconvenient Truth would almost surely never have been made and millions of people would have missed his urgent call to action. Read more
The other day, on my way to pick up some grasshoppers for dinner, I was reminded of how difficult it once was to find ingredients that are now utterly commonplace—such as a block of tofu.
It made me wonder: Are insects the next tofu? In 20 years, will they become as commonplace in our grocery aisles and farmers’ markets as other foods than once seemed exotic? Read more
If you don’t recognize all the high-tech ingredients available in food and drinks these days, you’re not alone. Some of these new additions—such as glucosamine hydrochloride, gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), or soy isoflavone extract—might show up in product marketing, while others, such as milk protein concentrate, will not. But whether new food additives are being promoted or not, a report released this week by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) says their novelty isn’t the only reason we should be paying attention. Read more
When Katie Francis of Oklahoma broke a record recently for selling 18,107 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in seven weeks, the world took notice. All eyes were on this ambitious young woman with a creative approach and an impressive work ethic. But what Katie might not be aware of is just how different the cookies she’s selling are from ones she might bake herself. Read more
Could the U.S. dairy processors’ new slogan, “milk life,” make it big in Asia? If dairy multinationals like Nestlé and Danone have their way, the answer might be yes.
As the market for dairy products in industrialized countries nears saturation, the U.S. dairy industry, along with its counterparts in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, have begun to look for new consumers in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other Asian countries. Read more
First it was produce. Then the local food movement expanded to take on meat. Now it’s all about grains.
Nothing proves this point more than the packed room I found myself in last Sunday morning. At the point in the week when most people are unfurling their copy of the New York Times, or making their second leisurely café au lait, I filed in to the back of the dining area at Oliveto, a high-end Italian restaurant in Oakland, to join around 100 people gathered to discuss local grains. Read more
Since it was published in 2010, Tartine Bread has become the bible for DIY bakers. Written by Chad Robertson, owner of the acclaimed San Francisco bakery Tartine, it is a hefty yet appealingly light-hearted ode to old-fashioned, country-style loaves. Now, Robertson has taken the craft of bread making to another level with Tartine Book No. 3: Modern, Ancient, Classic, Whole. Read more