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Mindful : April 2015
The idea of the first plate is the American expectation of dinner for much of the past half-centur y: a big hunk of meat with a small side of vegetables. “It was never an enlightened or par ticularly appetizing construction,” Barber says, “and at this point,” for many chefs and discerning eaters at least, “it’s thankfully passé.” Chef Dan Barber illustrates his vision of “ecologically produced” food using three different meals. Each plate represents a pattern of eating with a corresponding impact on the natural environment. Three Plates Three Futures 1. Traditional American The second plate represents, Barber says, “ where we are now, infused with all the ideals of the farm-to-table movement.” The beef is grass-fed, the vegetables are heirloom varieties grown in organic soil. What’s striking about this plate, served in so many homes and hip eateries today, is that in its basic struture it’s “nearly identical to the first plate,” he says. 2. Farm to Table The third plate is also a “steak” dinner, but the propor tions are reversed. The carrot is now the steak. And a sauce carries the protein in the form of braised second cuts of beef (conveying the idea of using the whole animal, not just choice cuts). The point is not, he says, that every meal is structured exactly this way. It’s that we make a paradigm shift—“a new way of thinking about cooking and eating that defies Americans’ ingrained expectation.” 3. Whole Farm Learn to make carrot steaks! See recipe on page 40 April 2015 mindful 39