Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
While out of town, I had the chance to do some Actual Reading. It was delightful–staying at my folks’ place, we were all four of us staying in one big room, so there wasn’t much we could do after the kids went to sleep besides read. I guess we could do it at home too, but we for some reason just…don’t. Which is too bad…
I finally read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It’s a nonfiction chronicle of her family’s year of eating entirely seasonally and locally–a really wonderful read about a family’s amazing journey. I enjoy Kingsolver’s prose a lot, and her account of the year (from the first asparagus of spring through a year of planting and cheesemaking and turkey sex) (no, really, she breeds turkeys. Or learned to, that year.) is comfortable and fun and feels very Real. And makes me want to go out and plant a thousand veggies, raise chickens, and maybe get a nice dairy goat or something. (Don’t worry, I won’t. But she makes me feel as though I could.) And throughout the book there are little sidebar essays by her husband elaborating on points she’s mentioned, and each chapter ends with a reflection and several recipes by her college-aged daughter Camille. And they also have a website with lots of info and recipes.
Even for folks who aren’t sure about this whole local eating thing–heck, especially for those folks–this is a great book to read. Because the thing is, most of us have grown up not even realizing we have choices about what we eat and where we get it. Food comes from the grocery store shelves, that’s that. But in this newly awakening world of urban gardens and farmers markets and local eating and awareness of the amount of fossil fuel required to put our dinners on our table, we’re beginning to realize we have choices.
I’m not ready to go Barbara’s route yet. We still buy bananas and pineapple, we still eat New Zealand apples in the summer, and I don’t always take the time to figure out the absolute happy chicken factor in the eggs I buy. (God, it’s confusing.) But she’s made me think.