Book review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Warning: information in this blog posting may be an entry drug, like marijuana is touted for harder stuff. If you read the blog and like it and then go on and find out more you may be hooked into a new way of eating. READER BEWARE. Lifestyle change possible.
I’m a reader….always have been and I read every day for at least an hour to help me turn off the craziness of the day and relax for bedtime. When I was younger I read only fiction and wondered how people could enjoy nonfiction, but I guess I had equated nonfiction with school assignments and know now that if you read anything about a subject you enjoy, it is fun.
I was introduced to Barbara Kingsolver’s writing in the late 1980s when she published The Bean Trees and read several others of her novels, but it wasn’t until last year when I ran across her 2007 nonfiction Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a Year of Food Life. It moved to my bedside table and as I started reading it, I was hooked. It changed me. It changed my family’s eating.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle tells the year Kingsolver’s family made a move from Arizona to a family farm in southwestern Virginia in order to try to live one year eating only the foods they themselves raised or could purchase or trade in the local community. They made very few exceptions; one was to switch to purchasing fair trade coffee. Many of us can relate for the need for coffee.
Adjusting took a while. For example, learning not to act on the desire for strawberries that first January lead to them learning how to preserve berries when they were in season to enjoy the next winter. The whole family participated, both in the farm activities and involvement in any business that grew, as well as writing sections of the book.
The book is humorous and pithy and yet clear about the work involved. It presents a lot of information that most of us do not know in an easy to read fashion.
Do I plan to start farming my own food? No, I know my limitations. But I also know that this book awakened a passion in me to do what I can to move our diet to seasonal foods as much as possible. To local foods as much as possible. To know my farmer. To eat less processed foods and to learn how to preserve fresh nutritious produce at the peak of its ripeness.