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Mindful : April 2015
Exa mining American cuisine for the book, with a n eye to how it could evolve in a better direction, was a struggle, Ba rber says, since protein-centric meals with few vegetables is an anomaly. “No other place in the world has that,” he says. “It forces a kind of architecture that creates a farming system in direct opposition with sustainability. It’s very hard to come up with a pattern of eating that makes sense.” Dema nding foods that require more natura l resources isn’t working, Ba rber says, and, what’s worse, we’re increasingly exporting this conception for a diet to the rest of the world. “It’s too expensive. These dietar y expectations put too many demands on the land. And it’s leading to ecological collapse all over the planet.” Our eating habits must reflect what the landscape can provide, but it’s not as simple as planting fruits and vegetables that respond to the latest food fads. This approach is same one that created the monocultures that dominate industrial farming and are so damaging to the environment. “ We’ve got to get to know the land, the nuts and bolts of farming, so we can create a diet that supports it. I’m calling for a democratization of food,” he says. “ How do we feed people in a way that makes better sense?” Answer: We need a pattern of eating similar to the great cuisines of the world. And that brings us to the bigger reason this movement is going to continue to grow, Barber says, because in addition to curing the ills of the earth, it will also bring us to a future where food tastes better and is more deeply satisfying. In the future, we need to lust for the right foods—ones that both taste delicious and don’t tax the land heavily. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Lay 3 large pieces aluminum foil on counter, overlapping slightly. Place carrots on top in single layer. Drizzle with oil. Season with sugar, salt, and pepper. Wrap tightly; place on baking tray. Roast in oven 1 hour; flip foil package. Roast 1 more hour or until carrots are very soft. When cool enough to handle, unwrap carrots. Line baking tray with parchment paper. Lay carrots on tray, leaving some space between each. Top with another piece of parchment paper and another baking tray. Place a heavy weight, such as several cans of food, on top of tray to press down carrots. Let press 10 minutes. If carrots are cooked properly they will press into “cutlets” instead of breaking. (You can make ahead to here if desired and refrigerate until ready to cook.) For coating, create a breading station. On large plate, stir together panko, whole wheat panko or breadcrumbs, rice flour, and cumin. Put egg on second large plate, and put all-purpose flour on third large plate. Dredge carrots in flour, turning to coat all over and shaking off any excess. Roll next in egg. Finally, roll in panko mixture until coated on all sides. Place carrots on cutting board until ready to cook. In large frying pan, heat oil over medium. In 2 batches, carefully add carrot cutlets and fry until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain, and serve. For the full recipe with lamb sauce, herb salad, and apricot purée, go to mindful.org/ thirdplate The All-American diet has made vegetables a sideshow at great cost to our health, our palate, and our planet. Here’s an example of bringing a superstar vegetable front and center. Carrots at Center Stage Carrot Steak à la Barber Makes 6 servings 6 medium carrots (about 8 inches/20 cm long and 3⁄4 inch/2 cm wide), peeled 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil 1 tsp (5 ml) each: granulated sugar, kosher salt Generous grind black pepper Breading: 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) each: panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), whole wheat panko (or other dried breadcrumbs) 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) white rice flour 2 tsp (10 ml) ground cumin 2 eggs, beaten 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour (approximate) 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil 40 mindful April 2015