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SOMETHING TO TASTE
July 31, 2014 Does Moral Food Also Happen to Be the Most Delicious? (Qu'ils mangent de la brioche...)


The Third Plate by Dan Barber is full of well-told stories mixed with so many compelling facts, assertions, and ideas that I underlined and wrote in the margins more than I remember doing with any other book. Credit: Kimberly Behr The Third Plate by Dan Barber is full of well-told stories mixed with so many compelling facts, assertions, and ideas that I underlined and wrote in the margins more than I remember doing with any other book. (Writing in a book may feel like a violation, but I at least partly believe what I was once taught, that you’re not really reading a book if you aren’t writing in it.) Usually I agreed strongly with Barber, but sometimes I noted questions or disagreements. Barber, chef of the restaurants Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester, is celebrated for his focus on the finest raw materials, most of them coming from the region and especially from the farm that surrounds his Westchester location. (I should say that we’ve met two or three times and have been very friendly.) The Third Plate is about ingredients in the broadest sense. Barber starts with the complexity of national and international environmental problems, thanks to the ways we farm and fish, then he points to solutions, at least for farming. When we treat the land and water well, in the ways he suggests, the food they produce is more healthful and delicious.
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July 10, 2014
In spring or early summer, when peas are ready and new potatoes have formed underground, that’s the time for peas and new potatoes with sweet cream. Credit: Kimberly Behr When peas are ready and new potatoes have formed underground in spring or early summer, that’s the time for peas and new potatoes with sweet cream. They’re one of the most delicious combinations of the season, united by their freshness.
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June 13, 2014
Better food -- more delicious, organic, sustainable -- costs more. But consumers in the United States demand that food cost very little. As a proportion of income, we spend less on food than the people of any other country in the world. Our industrial agriculture allows us to do that. Credit: Kimberly Behr The University of Vermont’s annual Food Systems Summit, about these and other issues, will be held in Burlington on June 17–18.

Better food  — more delicious, organic, sustainable  — costs more. But consumers in the United States demand that food cost very little. As a proportion of income, we spend less on food than the people of any other country in the world. Our industrial agriculture allows us to do that. Some of us worry about environmental costs (that aren’t paid by farmers and don’t show up in a grocery bill) and about such things as the waste inherent in long-distance transportation. But what’s really going on? If instead of dollars you focus on the energy  — calories  — that go into our food from farm to fork, the situation may not be entirely what you think.
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May 16, 2014 Adapted from The Art of Eating no. 56 Far from the consistent taste found in measured brand-name tea bags, loose-leaf tea, carefully brewed, introduces a wide set of exciting variations on tea flavor. Credit: Kevin Gascoyne Far from the consistent taste found in measured brand-name tea bags, loose-leaf tea, carefully brewed, introduces a wide set of exciting variations on tea flavor. Without the help of the blender (who guarantees the same taste every time, as even subtle changes will be detected by regular customers), we depend on our own palates when we brew and must pay more attention to quantities and procedure.
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