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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life » User review

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

  • Jan 26, 2011
Rating:
+5

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, MiracleIt’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.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle By Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp

 

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January 26, 2011
Great review! Plus, it's not just the amount of fossil fuels for transportation that's appalling, but the amount of toxic pesticides and chemicals in that conventional store bough food. I don't grow my own. Yet. But I want to and for now I try to buy local and organic when I can. :)
 
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More Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A ... reviews
review by . June 23, 2010
Who knew gardening could be so exciting?  Barbara Kingsolver and her family make the trek back east to live more simply and connected to the earth.  Beginning with crisis-of-conscience moments at the gas station on their way out of their former desert hometown, Kingsolver takes you through the highs and lows of eating local and seasonal.      I found the excerpts from her 19 year-old daughter and husband a great way to balance the monthly t …
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
I am reading this right now, and am so inspired by the endeavors of her family! This book includes scholarly essays and stories about manufactured and local food, making you think about how your values are reflected in your diet.
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
Sure, I'd do this all too, if I had the money Kingsolver has. The book is inspiring- but what about those of us who can't afford to drop everything, to always buy local, etc etc.
review by . February 06, 2010
It might just be a matter of thinking about red cars and so suddenly seeing red cars everywhere one looks, but it seems to me that once I started researching organic foods for an article I am writing, I began to see books on sustainable farming, organic food markets, news stories about an organic food movement, and farmer's markets everywhere I looked. Something is going on, and I'm pretty sure by this point in my research that it is a very good thing. Suddenly, I am seeing garden fresh red tomatoes …
review by . January 01, 2009
The less you know about the food you eat, the more urgent your need to read this book. Organized around Kingsolver's family decision to eat-local for a year, the tale she tells is much larger--encompassing as it does the entire relationship between food, energy, nutrition, corporate agriculture, marketing, global climate change and the sexual habits of turkeys. The novelist brings all of her writerly experience to the task and she is at her best in barbed asides about the forces that force feed …
review by . September 24, 2007
Kingsolver puts together in words what we know to be true in our minds, but we don't address it as a society: our absurd misuse of our resources. I suppose I'm not much of an economist, but it seems like stuff grown close to where you live should be fresher and cheaper that stuff grown far off; yet access to cheap fossil fuel enables us to scratch our "instant gratification itch."      Buying locally is great, however super stores have squeezed out local farmers at an unbelieveble …
About the reviewer
Jennifer ()
Ranked #720
I live in the suburbs with a bear, a peanut, two wienerdogs, and a very attractive computer geek. My blog, "It's Not Easy Being Green" (www.greenmomintheburbs.wordpress.com) is an account … more
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Michael Pollan is the crack investigator and graceful narrator of the ecology of local food and the toxic logic of industrial agriculture. Now he has a peer. Novelist Kingsolver recounts a year spent eating home-grown food and, if not that, local. Accomplished gardeners, the Kingsolver clan grow a large garden in southern Appalachia and spend summers "putting food by," as the classic kitchen title goes. They make pickles, chutney and mozzarella; they jar tomatoes, braid garlic and stuff turkey sausage. Nine-year-old Lily runs a heritage poultry business, selling eggs and meat. What they don't raise (lamb, beef, apples) comes from local farms. Come winter, they feast on root crops and canned goods, menus slouching toward asparagus. Along the way, the Kingsolver family, having given up industrial meat years before, abandons its vegetarian ways and discovers the pleasures of conscientious carnivory.This field—local food and sustainable agriculture—is crowded with books in increasingly predictable flavors: the earnest manual, diary of an epicure, the environmental battle cry, the accidental gardener.Animal, Vegetable, Miracleis all of these, and much smarter. Kingsolver takes the genre to a new literary level; a well-paced narrative and the apparent ease of the beautiful prose makes the pages fly. Her tale is both classy and disarming, substantive and entertaining, earnest and funny. Kingsolver is a moralist ("the conspicuous consumption of limited ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0060852569
ISBN-13: 978-0060852566
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Genre: Home & Garden, Entertainment
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Date Published: April 29, 2008
First to Review
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