In this bold and impassioned analysis, Barber insists that chefs have the power to transform American cuisine to achieve a...

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THE THIRD PLATE

FIELD NOTES ON THE FUTURE OF FOOD

A multiple James Beard Award–winning chef proposes a revolutionary change for growing and consuming food.

Moving beyond the organic farming and farm-to-table movements, Blue Hill executive chef Barber argues for the importance of the whole farm: an integrated, biodynamic system that sustains the richness and diversity of land and sea. American agriculture—with its large farm holdings, monoculture and unwieldy machinery—often leads to farmers’ lack of intimacy with the land. “It’s that lack of intimacy,” writes the author, “that leads to ignorance, and eventually to loss.” What is lost is taste and nutritional quality. Visiting small American and European farms, Barber learned the importance of nurturing soil that contains “a thriving, complex community of organisms.” A carrot grown in earth that contains diverse phytonutrients tastes entirely different from one subject to insecticides and fungicides. Even farms that do not use chemical controls—the so-called “industrial organic” farms—may grow plants in nutrient-poor sandy soil, enriched by organic fertilizer. Barber interweaves food history, conversations with experts in food preparation, production and nutrition, and colorful anecdotes from his travels to farms, restaurants and markets. He tracked down Spaniard Eduardo Sousa, who raises geese for foie gras by allowing them to graze freely on acorns, getting fatter as they do naturally to prepare for migration. Rather than force-feeding, giving geese what they want, Sousa believes, results in exceptional foie gras. “When we allow nature to work, which means when we farm in a way that promotes all of its frustrating inefficiencies—when we grow nature,” Barber writes, what we harvest is both abundant and flavorful. The same principles that apply to soil are relevant to the sea, as well; agriculture and aquaculture are not separate entities. Barber’s menu for 2050 features baby oat tea; blue wheat brioche; pigs’ blood sausage; trout in phytoplankton sauce; and beer ice cream.

In this bold and impassioned analysis, Barber insists that chefs have the power to transform American cuisine to achieve a sustainable and nutritious future.

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59420-407-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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