Sunday Brunch at Whitebait and Kale

Once a year, we get to call a day in the calendar , Our Day.
It's an obligatory celebration of the day that we shoot right out of our mother's uterus.

And yes, October 1st is mine.
I own it, along with 100 billion other people in China.

The family decided that they should celebrate my birthday on Sunday and I got to pick where I wanna go.

We went to Whitebait and Kale at Camden Medical for sunday brunch. They had a month-long organic promotion . Since I am into organic stuff these days , thought we might try it out.

I ordered the pita bread and various spread for starters ; for mains, organic chicken breast with quinoa and pomegrante sauce . The rest of the family had their free-range egg and 'organic pork sausage & beans, typical breakfast fare, along with 2 tiny pieces of muffin.

After 1 month of low salt diet, the meal at Whitebait and Kale tasted extremely saltish, and I had to drown myself with water and soda.

The brunch was pricey, average per pax was $30-40 per person.
I ordered a cappucino that cost $9.45 with taxes.
It came along with a tiny biscotti and a fancy wooden board cupholder.

Probably won't go back again

Fuck Vegetables

Someone emailed me this photo some time ago, I found it hiding in my file folder while springcleaning my harddisk

I don't know who took this image, so whoever you are, thanks for the funny image!

Google 'Fuck Vegetables' and you discover a huge community into such activities.

Quote from Buckminster Fuller

"I know I live on Earth at present, I don't know what I am. I know I am not a category, and thing a noun. I seem to be a verb, a evolutionary PROCESS, an integral function of Universe."

Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller
(July 12, 1895July 1, 1983)
was an American visionary, designer, architect, poet, author, and inventor.

"Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?"

Such wise words from Bucky really speaks to me, ever since I grew conscious about my existence, I begin to see myself living on a floating ship, a prison planet filled with unconscious humans that yet woken to the fact they are beings, part of the universe, part of this huge evolutionary scheme.

Slow Food Singapore #80 : Au Petite Salut

Slow Food Convivium Society
Singapore Tasting Event #80
at Au Petit Salut
Held on 22 Sept 2007

The Menu
Slow Food Singapore : Menu

Amuse Bouche

Fresh abalone consomme
created by Jason Wong
Slow Food Singapore : Abalone Consomme

Accompanied by Gonet Champagne Grand Cru Special Brut
Slow Food Singapore : Champagne

First Entree
Char-grilled baby octopus salad with balsamic vinegar
created by Karl Dobler
Slow Food Singapore : Baby Octopus

Accompanied by Meursault, Domaine Dubois 2004
Slow Food Singapore : Meursault Domaine Dubois

Second Entree
Braised crispy pork trotter, Sauteed potatoes and wild mushrooms
created by Philippe Nouzillat

Slow Food Singapore : Pork Trotter

Accompanied by Fixin 2003, Domaine Durand
(No Photos)

Main Course
Braised beef cheeks in red wine, Parsnip mash and carrots
created by Patrick Heuberer
Slow food Singapore : Beef cheek in red wine

Accompanied by Gevrey Chambertin Belair 2004, Taupenot-Merme
(no photos)

Frozen valrhona praline parfait with coconut dacquoise, pear sultanas salsa
created by Francois Mermilliod
Slow Food Singapore : Valrhona praline parfait

Accompanied by Grain de Malice Provins Valais
Slow Food Singapore : Grain de Malice Provins Valais

The dishes that replaced the red meat items on the menu
Sea Bream
Slow Food Singapore : Sea Bream

Duck Confit
Slow Food Singapore : Duck Confit

The Chefs
Slow Food Singapore - the Chefs
Slow Food Singapore - the whole crew

Slow Food Singapore #78 Oso Restaurant

Slow Food Convivium Society(Singapore)
Tasting Event # 78
Oso Restaurant
Saturday 21 July 2007

The Menu

Slow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

Daily made “burrata” cheese from Puglia filled with tomato coulis
Slow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

Accompanied by Aloi Lageder, Pinot Bianco 2006. Alto Adige
Slow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

First Course
Carnaroli quality rice in risotto style with prawns tomato and orange zest
Slow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

Accompanied by Aloi Lageder, Merlot 2004. Alto Adige
Slow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

The Main
8 hours slowly cooked lamb rack
Served with roast potato, onion and chestnut

Accompanied by La Gerla, Brunello di Montalcino 2001, Toscany
Slow Food Singapore Oso RestaurantSlow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

Alternate replacement Main Grilled Fish and Roast Beef
Slow Food Singapore Oso RestaurantSlow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

The Cheese
Mixed cheese platter with raisin, apple and red radish
Accompanied by Capannelle, Chianti Classico Riserva 2001, Toscany
Slow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

The Dessert
Warm mascarpone cake with lemon served with raspberries and its own sauce
Accompanied by Chateau Vari, 2000, Monbazillac
Slow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

The Other Photos

Chef Diego and Owner
Slow Food Singapore Oso RestaurantSlow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

The People
Slow Food Singapore Oso RestaurantSlow Food Singapore Oso RestaurantSlow Food Singapore Oso RestaurantSlow Food Singapore Oso RestaurantSlow Food Singapore Oso RestaurantSlow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant
Slow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant
Slow Food Singapore Oso Restaurant

Article : Lunch With Alice Waters, Food Revolutionary

Lunch With Alice Waters, Food Revolutionary
The New York Times
September 19, 2007

Evan Sung for The New York Times

WHEN Alice Waters is coming over to cook lunch, the first thing you do is look around your house and think, I live in a dump.

Then you take an inventory of the pantry. The bottles of Greek and Portuguese olive oil, once a point of pride, suddenly seem inadequate. And should you hide the box of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran and jettison those two cans of Diet Pepsi?

At the end of the afternoon, when the last peach was peeled and my kitchen was stacked with dirty pots, it didn’t really matter. Ms. Waters was either too polite or too distracted to mention what was in my cupboard. It turns out she travels with her own olive oil, anyway. And homemade vinegar. And salt-packed capers.

Ms. Waters had agreed to spend a hot September day shopping with me at the Union Square Greenmarket and schlepping back to my first-floor apartment in brownstone Brooklyn to make lunch.

The menu was dictated by two things: the market’s offerings and the recipes in her forthcoming book, “The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons and Recipes From a Delicious Revolution” (Clarkson Potter, October).

The book is more to Ms. Waters than an instructional guide. It is her attempt, through recipes, to save the American food supply. She wrote it because she still believes a plate of delicious food can change everything.

“We’re trying to educate young people and show them how to use that lens of ingredients as a way to change their lives,” she said. “Otherwise, it would be just another cookbook.”

The book is Ms. Waters’s ninth since she started Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., 36 years ago. Unlike the others, the new book does not use the name of the restaurant. It reads more like an organic “Joy of Cooking,” designed to instruct novices on how to make a perfect vinaigrette but also intended to be as essential to experienced cooks as the final Harry Potter installment was to 12-year-olds.

“Food can be very transformational and it can be more than just about a dish,” she said. “That’s what happened to me when I first went to France. I fell in love. And if you fall in love, well, then everything is easy.”

(Currently, Ms. Waters is not in love, though she longs for “a good pal to be in the world with.”)

By all measures, Ms. Waters should be relaxing at this point in her life. She is 63. She has held court with princes and presidents. A year ago, with some prodding from her partners at the restaurant, she pulled back from the daily work at Chez Panisse. Now she is trying to become better at leveraging her role as the high priestess of the local, sustainable food revolution.

Although she is enthusiastically mocked in some circles for the impossible goals she articulates in a wispy cadence, chefs who once sniffed that her methods were more about shopping than cooking now agree that the heart of great food is selecting the best ingredients.

So why does Ms. Waters still seem so restless, so unsatisfied, so unrelentingly demanding that she can’t show up at someone’s house and trust that they might have the right olive oil?

Because true, radical change — a country full of people who eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the earth — is simply not coming fast enough.

She is dismayed by the presidential candidates and said she has vowed not to vote for anyone who does not talk about the awful state of the food system.

Her pioneering Edible Schoolyard project, in which schoolchildren grow their own lunch and teachers use gardens for science lessons and recipes for social studies, is thriving in Berkeley, has been planted in New Orleans and may expand to Pittsburgh and Brooklyn. But in more than a decade the concept has not permeated the nation’s thinking on education.

Although many school districts are trying to improve the food they offer, the results have been unsatisfying, she said. It’s useless to coat frozen chicken nuggets with whole-wheat bread crumbs and fill vending machines with diet soda. Only a complete and radical reform will do, and it must be led by the president of the United States.

“These are little Band-Aids,” she said. “The whole body is bleeding and we must stop it. We simply must.”

A revolution in how we eat means respecting food and the people who produce it, she said. In her world, every aspect of this revolution, be it related to agricultural policy, the environment or obesity, must begin with a plate of lovely, locally produced food and work backward from there.

She’s also concerned about whether the Slow Food organization, which began with protests of a McDonald’s in Rome, will ever become as influential here as it has been in Europe. Although she has helped the United States organization grow to 171 chapters since its inception in 2000, she would like Slow Food and the concept of eco-gastronomy to be as much a part of the political discussion as foreign policy.

Earlier this year Ms. Waters announced an ambitious gathering called Slow Food Nation, planned for next May in San Francisco. She wanted it to be the Woodstock of food, drawing people from around the country. Slow Foodies would erect architect-designed street restaurants and green kitchens serving low-cost food. There would be a film festival and, if all went well, the dedication of a wholesale sustainable farmers’ market on a city pier.

Much of the work of raising the estimated $5 million budget fell to Ms. Waters, who is not great at it. And like many of her visions, it ran up against the reality-based system under which much of the world operates. So, earlier this month, the Slow Food organization decided to do a little less.

“We all looked at each other and said, Why don’t we just do a picnic?” Ms. Waters said.

That kind of compromise — a word she hates — is rare.

“I am an optimist of the first order,” she said. “I just got dipped in Berkeley in 1964 and I believe.” Of course, now she envisions a national picnic, maybe, with a blanket that stretches across the country. (The Slow Food organizers who will be doing the work are scheduled to meet this week to determine exactly what the public event will look like.)

Ruth Reichl, the editor of Gourmet, said the remarkable thing about Alice Waters is that she simply doesn’t stop: “She’s relentless in that way revolutionaries are.”

Ms. Waters’s biggest flaw, Ms. Reichl said, is that she doesn’t always take advantage of her strength and that she still operates in an old-fashioned, Berkeley kind of way. For example, Ms. Waters wants Farm Aid to hold a concert in San Francisco, working with Slow Food. To help make that happen, she mailed a handwritten note to Willie Nelson’s wife, Annie.

“She is a major power who still operates in a lovely, minor way,” Ms. Reichl said.

Which is probably why she was in my kitchen, stumping for her book like a first-time author.

The book is deceptively simple. As she writes, “Good cooking is no mystery.” Most recipes seem to be built on salt, black pepper, olive oil, fresh herbs and garlic. But they have to be specific kinds, like chunky gray sea salt for boiling water. “If you are not buying the right ingredients, this is going to taste like any other food,” she said.

The attention to detail is maddening and enlightening. She offers lovely notes on cooking eggs, and her passage on serving fruit for dessert is so thoughtful and useful it reads like gospel. She devotes a page and a half to making bread crumbs properly.

But in parts of the book she veers past purity to madness. Halfway into a recipe for gazpacho, while soaking ancho chili, grating tomatoes and mashing it all in a mortar and pestle, you start to look at the blender with longing.

Ms. Waters doesn’t like machines much, although she is partial to the toaster oven. She doesn’t use a computer and has only cursory knowledge of her cellphone. She wrote the book largely by dictating her notes to Fritz Streiff, her longtime co-writer, and collaborated with Kelsie Kerr, who has cooked at Chez Panisse, and Patricia Curtan, who also illustrated the book.

But she knows almost all the recipes by heart, which made it easy to figure out lunch.

Walking through the Greenmarket with her is an exercise in excess. She has never met a fresh herb she didn’t like, and I still have plenty of hyssop in my refrigerator to prove it.

Her good friend Doug Hamilton, a film director and producer, came along to help carry our reusable cloth shopping bags. He was a godsend. When you visit farmers with Alice Waters, you come home with a lot of stuff.

Farmers kept trying to give her baskets of food, but she insisted on paying because she believes contributing money to family farmers is a moral obligation. (In this case, The New York Times paid for everything.)

People literally started shaking when they realized they were shopping next to Alice Waters. When she offered to visit the Queen’s Hideaway, a homestyle restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the owner, Liza Queen, waved her off, already nervous at the thought of it.

“Please don’t,” Ms. Queen said. “If you come in, we’d probably lose it.”

Back at my place Ms. Waters insisted we unpack and spread out everything on the dining room table, to take stock of what we had and to make a plan. It took almost every dish, basket and bowl I had.

Ms. Waters just sat with it all for a while. When things become discouraging, she said, she dreams of escaping to Sicily to sell produce from a little table that might look just like this one. Then she called her daughter, Fanny Singer, to tell her how pretty it all looked.

Once that was over, we got down to cooking.

Ms. Waters may not call herself a chef, but the girl can cook. She quickly pared small, late-summer artichokes and braised them in olive oil, thyme and water. She simmered sausage-shaped La Ratte potatoes and blanched three kinds of beans.

She threw the eggs into a strainer, then submerged them in the blanching pot, timing it so beautifully that the yolks just barely hung together when we sliced them open.

We warmed some olives with chili, olive oil and garlic while she got busy whisking her own personal stash of olive oil into what would become the centerpiece of the meal, an aioli made with garlic she smashed with salt in my mortar and pestle.

Truthfully, she’s a little messy in the kitchen. She’s firm, too. She chastised me for not having a spider to dip out the blanched vegetables. And she made me start a compost bucket, even though I have precious little dirt around my patio and a continuing battle with thuglike squirrels.

What ended up on the table was a platter of vegetables and eggs with heirloom tomatoes she deemed way too watery, all to be dipped into a big bowl of that glimmering green aioli. We heated some olive bread in the toaster oven and brought out a little plate of lemon cucumbers Mr. Hamilton had cut up.

It was a simple and beautiful thing.

Then she got up, sliced some peaches into a bowl with perfect late-season strawberries and blueberries she said reminded her of times she spent as a child in Maine. Over it all, she poured a syrup made by cooking down sugar, water and golden raspberries.

It was a hot day, so we headed into the air-conditioning to drink lemon verbena and mint tisane. She was sweaty, splattered and, she told me, quite happy to have been surrounded by good food all day. Because that’s how change starts.

“This kind of little gathering in the backyard is what reinforces our dedication,” she said. “That we can do something simply and easily with an unlikely group of people and all be in the same place because of the food on the table is how it happens.”

Her literary agent and her book editor eventually picked her up. I went to the back porch, ignored my urge to crack open a Diet Pepsi, and tried to figure out where I was going to put the compost pile.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Labelling caffeine content in soda

Caffeine content in soda can vary, study finds Labeling colas would help consumers make informed decisions, experts say

Updated: 7:06 p.m. ET Sept. 4, 2007

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Looking for a quick pick-me-up to get through a long afternoon? Forget that cola. A fizzy citrus drink could provide even more of a boost.

A new study shows that citrus-flavored sodas often have a higher caffeine content than the most popular colas. The research also found that caffeine content can vary widely from brand to brand, and even within a brand.

The researchers — along with consumer advocates — say labels on packaging should give the caffeine content to help buyers make informed choices. While most cans and bottles of soda don’t give caffeine amounts, some national brand beverage companies are already heading in that direction.

“I don’t really take a stand on whether caffeine is good or bad, but I do think the consumer has a right to know what they’re getting,” said Leonard Bell, one of two food researchers who conducted the study at Auburn University.

The Food and Drug Administration does not limit the amount of caffeine in foods. FDA spokeswoman Veronica Castro said a 0.02 percent caffeine content is generally recognized as safe for cola-type beverages.

For a 12-ounce soft drink, that’s about 72 milligrams of caffeine.

Monitoring intake
The study by Bell and co-author Ken-Hong Chou found caffeine content in 12-ounce sodas ranged from 4.9 milligrams for a store brand of cola to 74 milligrams in Vault Zero, a citrus drink.

David Schardt, senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the Washington-based nonprofit first asked the FDA 10 years ago to require that food and drink labels show the caffeine content.

“People should be able to monitor their intake and to make informed choices because it can affect their sleep and can make some people jittery,” Schardt said.

Rather than deterring shoppers, labeling might have the opposite effect on those seeking more caffeine, he said.

The FDA has received a number of petitions to include caffeine content labeling on products, including the 1997 request from the consumer group, according to Mike Herndon, another FDA spokesman.

The Coca-Cola Co., based in Atlanta, and Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc. said they are phasing in new labels that include caffeine content. Most national brands also provide lists of the amount of caffeine in their products on their Web sites.

“It’s really in our best interest and that of our consumers to provide that info,” said Diana Garza, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman.

An element of flavor
While caffeine occurs naturally in some products, like coffee and tea, it’s an additive in soft drinks. It is commonly sought out for its stimulatory effect, and beverage companies say the slightly bitter substance is also an element in their flavor formulas.

“The addition of caffeine in a beverage is largely as a flavoring,” Garza said.

Bell and Chou say the buzz caused by caffeine is its main draw. They said previous research showed that only 8 percent of adults were able to differentiate between the taste of caffeinated and caffeine-free colas.

Their study analyzed the caffeine contents of 56 national brand and 75 store brand carbonated drinks. It was published in the August issue of the Journal of Food Science.

Caffeine content of well-known national brands include: Coca-Cola (33.9 milligrams), Diet Pepsi (36.7 milligrams), Pepsi (38.9 milligrams), Dr Pepper (42.6 milligrams), Diet Dr Pepper (44.1 milligrams), Diet Coke (46.3 milligrams), Mountain Dew (54.8 milligrams) and Diet Mountain Dew (55.2 milligrams).

By comparison, according to the American Beverage Association Web site, a 12-ounce cup of coffee has between 156 and 288 milligrams of caffeine, and the same amount of tea has 30-135 milligrams.

Bell said the data provided by manufacturers of national brand soft drinks was consistent with the findings of his study. He said the caffeine data for store brand drinks is not easy to find and often isn’t available at all.

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The Common Practise of Outsourcing could attribute to Outbreaks

Outsourcing makes tainted food hard to trace
Use of outside suppliers, many brand names adds safety issues, critics warn

Updated: 1:56 p.m. ET Sept. 2, 2007

WASHINGTON - Try searching for a culprit in the 90 brands caught up in the recent recall of canned chili, stew and other products, and you weave back to a single manufacturer.

That also was the case in recalls of spinach, pet food and frozen meat.

Companies increasingly are paying others to make the foods we eat — or the ingredients in them — and then selling it under multiple brand names. And that has prompted a growing debate about food safety.

“If people cannot trace a product back to a supplier, the supplier has no incentives to keep their processes as clean and effective, in terms of food safety, as possible,” said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer group.

But the food industry and regulators chalk up to coincidence the rash of recent major food safety recalls and the consolidation of food production

Financial reasons
“One reason we are seeing this is because it’s becoming a common industry practice,” said Dr. David Acheson, who leads the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety efforts. Acheson said he knew of no evidence that outsourcing production is inherently less safe than traditional arrangements in which companies make what they sell.

Outsourcing makes financial sense for companies unwilling or unable to establish or expand manufacturing operations. Established manufacturers can use excess capacity to fill orders for others.

For some specialty products that require expensive machinery — like pet food — a limited number of contract manufacturers, such as Menu Foods, make products that are sold under dozens of brands.

“Being able to develop a product without having to sink a lot of money into fixed, tangible capital is every entrepreneur’s dream,” said Michael Sykuta, director of the Contracting and Organizations Research Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Store-brand or private-label products account for much of the growth in the food outsourcing business. Supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers ring up more than $65 billion in store brand sales annually.

That amounts to one in every five items they sell, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association.

Creating vulnerability
But critics of the outsourcing of production warn that it creates increased vulnerability of the food supply. The manufacturer no longer is directly accountable to consumers, but to other companies, they maintain, they maintain.

That makes for a long supply chain with several stops before a product reaches consumers, said Jean Kinsey, co-director of the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota. “And not everyone along the way has the same vested interest in its safety.”

The Grocery Manufacturers Association counters that there would be no reason for co-manufacturers or co-packers to skimp on food safety.

“If we use the classic term, ’barking up the wrong tree,’ that would be the case here,” said Craig Henry, who helps oversee scientific and regulatory activities at the industry group.

But some food safety advocates say that when problems arise with foods made under contract, sorting out who made what can delay recalls or public health warnings.

Hampered recall
Last month, the FDA for hours delayed issuing a consumer warning about botulism contamination in canned food products, until it could sort out the brands under which the Castleberry’s Food Co. product was sold. The recall was further hampered by confusion over which brands were involved.

This spring’s rolling series of recalls of cat and dog food made with chemically tainted ingredients from China began in mid-March and stretched to late May.

“I’m not telling you it is a system that is optimal for consumers. What we are trying to do is make the response part faster,” says the FDA’s Acheson.

He expressed concern about a recall “dribbling on for two months” but said that’s better “than not saying anything and waiting for two months.”

Generally, the identities of contract manufacturers remain secret for reasons of commercial confidentiality. So how can consumers learn where their food comes from?

“The truth of the matter is today, to a large degree, you can’t ... and efforts to improve on it have been beaten back,” said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union.

For example, she said, there has been a long delay in requiring that imported fruits and vegetables be labeled with their country of origin.

Difficulty in links
The difficulty of linking a product back to a particular lot or manufacturer has been a major problem in some food safety cases, say consumer advocates.

When salmonella contamination led ConAgra Foods Inc. to recall Peter Pan-brand peanut butter earlier this year, it also recalled Great Value peanut butter it made for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The FDA said at the time that other Great Value peanut butter, made by other manufacturers, wasn’t affected by the recall.

In the peanut butter case, the lids of the jars — regardless of brand — were consistently marked in a way that made it easy to find the specific product code being recalled, DeWaal said.

That’s not always the case.

“Traceability is critical to ensuring processors use the highest standards of care,” DeWaal said. “When their identities are hidden behind multiple labels and poor traceability information, they can use whatever practices they want because they’re probably not going to get caught.”

Among other recalls that involved consolidated production:

  • Fresh spinach, recalled last September because of E.coli contamination was processed and packaged by Natural Selection Foods LLC, but sold under more than two dozen brand names.
  • Pet food recalled last spring was made by Menu Foods Income Fund and other companies using chemically spiked ingredients, but sold under nearly 200 brands.
  • About 5.7 million pounds of meat was recalled in June by United Food Group LLC because of possible E.coli contamination, but was sold under six brands.

For the companies that put their names on products made for them, the inevitable spate of lawsuits that have followed recent outbreaks likely will force them to more closely scrutinize suppliers, said Cornell University professor of food science Robert Gravani.

“The lesson for everyone is: Know your supplier,” said Douglas Powell, scientific director of the International Food Safety Network at Kansas State University.

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Documentary: American Farm

James Spione, Director

From the website :

In this moving portrait of a vanishing way of life, documentary filmmaker James Spione explores the century-long struggle of his mother’s family to maintain a small dairy farm near Cooperstown, New York. Drawing on remarkably intimate interviews with three generations of Ames family members, Spione chronicles the backbreaking work, agricultural innovation and determination in the face of tragedy that led to the success of the operation. At the same time, American Farm reveals the profound shifts in attitude that have created the current crisis: no one in the next generation is willing to take over the farm. As he approaches seventy years of age, the director's cousin Langdon is now faced with selling a property that has been the center of family life for 150 years. Narrated entirely by the people that grew up there, American Farm is both powerful tribute to, and sober demystification of, one of America’s most hallowed and least understood institutions.