What a great show! I'm not interested in criticizing Barber -- nobody's perfect -- but he is pointing us in the right direction!
Once I followed a mostly vegetable diet plan that claimed to train your tastebuds and it did! Food tastes much better when you are hungry and if you purify your palate by foregoing all the packaged sugar, fat and salt, a half apple sliced up with a tablespoon of lowfat yogurt on it becomes like a rich and creamy treat! Unfortunately that diet depended too much on discipline and deprivation, but I learned (again) how great vegetables and fruits were and I have avoided but not ruled out meat ever since.
I lived in Japan for 2 years in the 1970's where a small plate (our dessert size), holding a fish about eight inches long, would be the "main course" for a family of four. No one felt deprived, because to them, of course, rice is the main course and everything else just makes the rice go down. ALL the fruit tasted good there, not like what we were used to eating from American supermarkets.
My father rarely went to church. The minister would shake his hand as he stood in line to leave the church after the Easter service and say, "See you again at Christmas!" Yet he was the most spiritual person I know, and it took me a long time before I realized that nature was his religion. He worked with wood, he did little experiments like Mr. Wizard, he grew tomatoes, he observed the backyard wildlife, he always knew the coming weather forecast. He had grown up on a farm in Norway and treated our Long Island suburban property much like his own little farm and laboratory.
Luckily, we lived near a fruit and vegetable stand (now defunct) run by a farming family across the street from their house. They brought the produce in from their farm further out on the Island and people came from all over during corn season to buy a dozen ears fresh off the truck. My father said that for corn to taste best you should start boiling the water first, and then go out in the field to pick it.
Every year in my small backyard I plant vegetables, sometimes with limited success, sometimes with too much produce to know what to do with. I have tasted my own corn when it is so fresh and tender and alive with a multitude of nuances of flavor and sweetness that it is almost like a transcendent experience. Really good tomatoes elude me, however, (except for the tiny ones, eaten like candy while I take a look at what's going on in the garden) and I am starting to question how good the seedlings sold in the nursery are. Yeah, my garden is an "organic" garden, but it's stocked every spring with about $100 worth of commercially grown seedlings. Growing from seed is a lot of work, but I may have to find some way to go in that direction.
The natural world is precious to me. Observing nature or working outside heals whatever is wrong with me. You can learn so much! Barber's discovery that flavor is the goal is serendipitous; it just makes so much sense.
I am reminded of when I learned that the way to breastfeed my children was to make myself comfortable first. Only when I could calm down and search for feelings of relaxation and pleasure inside myself would the milk "let down" so my baby could nurse contentedly. Ooooooooh, right, I've got it -- God set it up so that a hormone delivers pleasure to the mother in order for the mother to feed the child. It just makes sense.
If Barber can teach enough influential people to search for the best flavor when eating, buying and producing food, many other good practices may follow, or at least let's hope so.
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