Friday, August 01, 2008

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver has been on my "must-read" list for a while. Tom had to read The Omnivore's Dilemma for a class last year, and he brought Ms. Kingsolver's book to my attention. Then I read a review at one of Semicolon's Saturday Reviews.

I found it at the library last week and read it. The subject matter was one I found interesting: try to eat locally as much as possible. I've seen several articles in the paper about families doing this, and Ms. Kingsolver, her husband, and her two daughters resolved to eat locally (in Virginia) for a year. I think it's a great idea, and the Kingsolver-Hopp family seemed to do it with great planning, and enthusiasm. I do think that it's an activity that up until a few years ago was widely practiced - at least in many rural areas. When I was growing up, my parents always planted a garden and Mom canned and froze local fruits and home-grown vegetables every year. We got our milk from a farmer down the road, and our meat and poultry came from local farms, too.

The last two years have been horrible because of the severe drought here, and I've been so thankful that we were able to have food from places that had rain! But this summer has been better, and we've enjoyed food from the garden in our back yard, and from gardens of other people in town that have shared with us. Local, fresh (as in just harvested) vegetables and fruit have a taste so much better than produce a few days old.

I liked reading Barbara Kingsolver's food diary/memoir, and I wonder how much they still practice, after their "year" ended. At first I found her tone to be hectoring and snooty, and in places more like a diatribe than a memoir. Then about half-way through the book I realized she did not mean to come across that way, and probably had no idea that she might sound elitist to some readers.

The last few chapters in which she relates her experience of raising and breeding turkeys were especially heart-warming. And the recipes and menus throughout the book are terrific.

And she inspired me to check out our local farmer's market last weekend. Steve and Sam decided to come with me and we had a lovely morning shopping for local produce. For $35 we got a lot of food - food we enjoyed all week long, and some we blanched or cooked and froze.



Blogger Charity said...

I really enjoyed this book, myself. Although living up here in Northern Canada, it's a little tricky, as we have much less variety; I still think it's something to think about as we go about our shopping. :0)

11:49 PM  
Blogger Mercy's Maid said...

This book is on my TBR shelf. Thanks for the review!

6:51 AM  
Blogger :: Suzanne :: said...

I loved this book. I collected quite a few blogposts on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as I loved to hear what others had to say about it.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Just saw that book in Target yesterday. It looks very interesting!

10:48 AM  

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