Dan Barber: A Pinch of Narrative
DAN BARBER is the Chef of Blue Hill, a restaurant in Manhattan's West Village, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located within the nonprofit farm and education center, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. His opinions on food and agricultural policy have appeared in the New York Times, along with many other publications. Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006) and the country's Outstanding Chef (2009). In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.
To expand on his philosophy of cooking with sustainably grown, local ingredients, Dan has been working with such organizations as the Kellogg Foundation, Slow Food USA and Earth Pledge to minimize the political and intellectual rhetoric around agricultural policies and to instead maximize the appreciation of eating good food. Focusing on the issues of pleasure, taste and regional bounty-and how these imperatives are threatened-Dan helped create the philosophical and practical framework for Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and continues to help guide it in its mission to create a consciousness about the effects of everyday food choices.
He is author of the book The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.
Dan Barber: A couple of Christmases ago I got this gift from one of our distributors who sold me . . . still sells us these incredible nut oils from France – from Burgundy. And the maker . . . They’re incredibly expensive. This guy is so hard . . . Like he does it in his garage behind his house. This guy is like another wackadoo. So he . . . The Frenchman . . . The ...producer Jean Marc ..., he gave the distributor, ..., a present for us because we were his biggest customer; and his first, I think . . . one of his first. And he gave us a gift for Christmas. So ...handed it to me and I opened the box, and it’s this box of dust. It’s .... It’s just dust. Again, I’m like what the hell is this? So ...says Jean Marc wanted to give you after he . . . a present that . . . of nut dust. It’s basically after he presses the nuts for his oil he has all this residue. So he said . . . .. said, you know, last year I went over to Burgundy and I had lunch with Jean Marc. And as I open the door to go into his kitchen, he was there on the stove sautéing potatoes. And we sat down to a salad and a little, like, fried potatoes . . . sautéed potatoes. But ... said all he could taste from the salad and potatoes . . . All he could taste were almonds. He didn’t see any almonds. He just smelled this like overwhelming thing of almonds. So he thought there was some kind of almond soufflé coming for dessert or something, but there was no almond soufflé. So he asks . . . He asks Jean Marc . . . He says Jean Marc, you know, it’s a delicious meal, but I’m tasting these almonds. And Jean Marc said oh okay. So after I press the almonds, I have this residue, this dust. Instead of throwing it out I throw it onto my potato fields, and a lot of it on my potato fields. And through this incredible process of osmosis, you know, he gets almond potatoes, right? So I thought . . . And he’s telling me this, and I’m looking at my box, and I’m like this is the secret to, you know, my millions, right? So I take the stuff and I call the nut company out in California . . . an organic nut company and asked them for like 500 pounds of, I thought, pine nut. Because I thought I could one up him. I sort of got competitive with this guy I don’t even know who gave me a gift. Pine nut . . . We did almond again. We did walnut. We got all these nuts and Jack spread them on carrots. And I didn’t wanna do it potatoes because I thought it would be too much ..., so I did carrots. And we’d have a lot of carrots through the winter. So we spread, spread, spread, spread, spread. Meanwhile I decide, you know, with my brother we’re gonna make some money, so we do like this special night. We know when the harvest is coming – seven weeks after the planting. So we say okay, we’re gonna do a harvest night. And we’re gonna do, you know, an almond carrot night because we figured that would be the one that would work the best. So an almond carrot night. We invite . . . The whole dining room is packed with people who are excited. We send out this e-mail. We talked to people for months and months. We get the waiters all jazzed up on this thing. I mean everybody was just . . . The coat check, the valets, everybody was . . . The cooks, everybody was talking about it. So the day of the dinner comes, right? And the harvest for some reason came really late that afternoon, and I hadn’t actually really tasted the carrot, you know? So it’s like 4:30 and we’re sitting there cleaning carrots, and we’re like . . . I started to taste them, and right as I’m tasting them – again, too much to believe – like the tickets start coming in. You know it’s like five almond carrots salads; six almond carrot salads; you know double order of almond carrot salad. And I take a bite of the carrots . . . no almond flavor, nothing, zero, zilch. It doesn’t even taste like there is a potential for almond in the future. There’s like nothing. It’s a delicious carrot; no almond. Total failure. So I sliced the carrots, and all of a sudden tickets are like coming in, coming in. We’ve got 30 tickets on the board and like 500 almond salads. And so I start slicing the carrots really quickly; salt, pepper, lemon vinaigrette; and I reach for Jena Marc’s almond oil which I have a few extra bottles and I start dousing it with almond oil. And I mix it, and then I give it to the waiters to taste just before they go out to the dining room. Genius. Man, it tastes like almonds. Man it’s unbelievable. Dan Barber’s a genius. So that night we sold like 120 almond carrot salads. And it is the greatest success in the history of the . . . It’s the best night we’ve ever had at Blue Hill. It’s the best night we’ve ever had at any restaurant. People wrote e-mails. They still talk about it. They still talk about it. People say it’s the most exciting, the most delicious, you know, experience I’ve ever had in a restaurant. There was a buzz in the dining room like I’ve never had. And what I realized at the end of the night in the mayhem of plating all these salads – I mean it was a crazy night – I forgot to put the almond oil in the carrots. I did on some, but I didn’t on a lot, and it did not matter. It absolutely did not matter. People tasted almonds because you told them the story. And they tasted the most delicious carrot of their life because they had this funny story that they felt invested in, and they felt a part of, and they wanted to be connected to. I think we’re hard wired for this, and that’s my ultimate theory. It’s like you know as hunter-gatherers, we were spending our time figuring out is that thing poisonous? Is that thing delicious? Will that thing feed our children, you know? Is that thing nutritious? That kind of thing, and I don’t think that’s been bred out of us, you know? So when someone gives you a story of this kind of thing, like it informs us and relaxes us really to taste things that we otherwise wouldn’t taste. You know that’s my . . . We have so many stories like that that just like teaches me again and again you have a story, you have delicious food. As long as you really don’t screw it up you have really delicious food. So there you go. Recorded on: 2/11/08
When a good story adds that extra bit of flavor.
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Minimoons<p>Scientists have confirmed just two prior minimoons. One was <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_RH120" target="_blank">2006 RH120</a>, which orbited us from September 2006 to June 2007. The other was <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_CD3" target="_blank">2020 CD3</a>, which got stuck in the 2015–2016 timeframe, and is believed to gotten away in May 2020.</p><p>2020 SO, the new kid on the block, is expected to arrive in October 2020 and pop out of orbit in May 2021.</p><div id="37962" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f4c0fc8a2cba6536ea4cd960ebed3e6e"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1307729521869611008" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Asteroid 2020 SO may get captured by Earth from Oct 2020 - May 2021. Current nominal trajectory shows shows capture… https://t.co/F5utxRvN6Z</div> — Tony Dunn (@Tony Dunn)<a href="https://twitter.com/tony873004/statuses/1307729521869611008">1600621989.0</a></blockquote></div>
Identifying 2020 SO<p>The first clue 2020 SO isn't your ordinary asteroid is its exceptionally low velocity. It's traveling much more slowly that a typical asteroid — their <a href="https://www.lpi.usra.edu/exploration/training/illustrations/craterMechanics/" target="_blank">average rate of travel</a> <a href="https://www.lpi.usra.edu/exploration/training/illustrations/craterMechanics/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a>is 18 kilometers (58,000 feet) per second. Even <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_rock" target="_blank">moon rocks</a> sent careening into Earth orbit by impacts on the lunar surface outpace pokey 2020 SO.</p><p>For another thing, 2020 SO has an orbital path very similar to Earth's, lasting about one Earth year. It's also just slightly less circular than our own orbit, from which it's barely tilted off-axis.</p><p>So, what is it? <a href="https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/ca/" target="_blank">NASA estimates</a> that the object has dimensions very reminiscent of a discarded Centaur rocket stage from the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveyor_2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Surveyor 2 mission</a> that landed an unmanned craft on the moon. Back in the day, rocket stages were jettisoned as craft were aimed toward their desired position. This stuff, if released high enough, remains in space. It appears that this Centaur rocket, launched in September 1966, is now making its way back homeward, at least for a little bit.</p><p>When 2020 SO arrives at its closest point in December, the rocket is expected to be about 50,000 kilometers from Earth. Its next closest approach is much further: 220,000 kilometers, in February 2010.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQzMDk3NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODg1MTQ1MX0.HGknDwqp0GmeuczKY_AS7vrPG7KMFUc_XO95tNoI2xo/img.jpg?width=980" id="e5cda" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="85eb1f790d8c3ee5b261f7ba13eaa5e1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Centaur rocket stage" />
Centaur rocket stage
What we may be able to learn<p>Earthly space programs being as young as they are, scientists would love to know what's happened to our rocket during a half century in space.</p><p>While 2020 SO won't get close enough to drop into our atmosphere, its slow progress has scientists hopeful that they'll still get some kind of a decent look at it.</p><p>Spectroscopy may be able to reveal what the rocket's surface is like now — has any of its paint survived, for example? Of course, being out in space, it's likely to have been hit by lots of dust and micrometeorites, so the current state of its surfaces is also of interest. Experts are curious to know how reflective the rocket is at this point, valuable information that can help planners of future long-term missions anticipate how well a craft out in space for extended periods will remain able to reflect sunlight.</p>
Yet 80 percent of respondents want to reduce their risk of dementia.
- A new MDVIP/Ipsos survey found that only 35 percent of Americans know the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
- Eighty percent of respondents said they want to reduce their risks.
- An estimated 7.1 million Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from Alzheimer's by 2025.
Credit: logika600 / Shutterstock<p>Remaining healthy requires regular screenings. Here again we see a disassociation between risk reduction and proactivity. Seventy-seven percent of respondents don't talk to their doctors about lifestyle habits that support brain health; 51 percent have never been screened for depression; 44 percent have never had a neurological exam; and 32 percent have never been screened for hearing problems. </p><p>Common early warning signs of dementia, <a href="https://news.yahoo.com/americans-worry-alzheimers-disease-survey-140644803.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">according to</a> Dr. Jason Karlawish, co-director of the Penn Memory Center, include repetitive questions and stories, difficulties with complex daily tasks, and trouble with orientation. </p><p>In terms of intervention, <a href="https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/does-lack-of-exercise-lead-to-dementia" target="_self">exercise</a>, <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/obesity-dementia" target="_self">diet</a>, building a <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/brain-reserve" target="_self">brain reserve</a>, and challenging your brain (such as learning a new language or musical instrument) are all proven methods for staving off the ravages of Alzheimer's. Oxytocin has also <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/alzheimers-oxytocin" target="_self">showed promise</a> in brain-addled mice, while researchers found positive results for a <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/intermittent-fasting" target="_self">group of intermittent fasters</a> in promoting neurogenesis. </p><p>Epidemiologist Bryan James says that dementia is <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/04/15/176920391/how-exercise-and-other-activities-beat-back-dementia" target="_blank">not an inevitable result</a> of aging. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It's simply not pre-destined for all human beings. Lots of people live into their 90s and even 100s with no symptoms of dementia." </p><p>Professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, Andrew Budson, <a href="https://news.yahoo.com/americans-worry-alzheimers-disease-survey-140644803.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends</a> aerobic exercise and the Mediterranean diet. As has long been known, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and healthy fasts like nuts and olive oil seem to have brain-boosting properties. </p><p>To learn more, take the <a href="https://www.mdvip.com/brain-health-iq-quiz" target="_blank">Brain Health IQ quiz</a>.</p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>