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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Review of "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - a year of food life"

For inspiration and education throughout eat local month, I've been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - A year of food life by Barbara Kingsolver. I have absolutely loved it. It's extremely informative, but besides that,  just beautifully written and inspiring to read - whether you decide to start sourcing all or some of your food locally after you read it, you'll never experience food the same way. Somehow, Kingsolver has managed to successfully combine her family's story with enough information both about modern food production and farm life to constitute a college course - and she's done it with flair. I truly did find this book to be a page-turner as I got lost in the stories of cherry picking and "harvest day", as she shares about family road trips and why they've boycotted CAFOs. I've been inspired to change my eating habits to a more local diet, of course, but also to simply take pride and enjoyment in what I eat and what I serve my family. I now more fully grasp that food is not just sustenance for the body, it's a balm for the soul and a connection between every person involved with gettng it to the table - from farmer to seller to the hands that prepare and share it.

Plot summary

Barbara, along with her husband and their two daughters, grows weary of feeling like a drain on the environment and food system. They decide to pack up and move the family from Arizona to the mountains of Appalachia, where her husband owns a farmhouse and some land. They've set out on a family project - to spend one year producing as much of the family's food as possible, and finding the rest of their food from local sources. The book moves chronologically through the months of the year and the seasons. Some months are just exhausting to read, with all of the harvesting and canning and freezing and chopping they have going on! I definitely have the homesteading bug again after reading this book! (I've made a promise to myself to wait until we're done with a few current projects before we take on anything new, though!)
I found this copy at my local library (So if you're reading from Tangipahoa parish, you know you've got access to a free copy - after I return it!).
Maybe you should check your local library for it! My doctor saw me reading and said "I forgot you could get books at a library." I had, too, until Izzy got old enough to start enjoying going to the library each week. We literally get a couple of hours of entertainment each week picking out and reading the books we find there. I like to sneak over there by myself once in a while an peruse shelves and magazine racks. I have a list as long as my arm of cookbooks I want to thumb through. Am I the only one that reads cookbooks like novels?
So, your homework for this week is to go check out your local library and see if they have a copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - a year of food life.
When's the last time you visited your local library? Did they still have those big card catalogs with drawers of shelves?

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