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Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I don't actually have time to read a real book these days however I do have time to listen to a book on CD when I drive in to the office twice a week. I have a fairly long commute (about 35 miles with some traffic) so I enjoy listening to a good story to keep me from getting stressed. Right now I'm listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I don't normally "read" non-fiction but I'd heard a lot of good things about this book so I thought I'd give it a try and I am soooo glad I did!!!

I think this book is one of those life changing books. This is the first time I've really experienced this phenomenon when reading a book. I can't recommend it enough! I think it should be mandatory reading for everyone, especially our young folk.

From Amazon...

"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, Miracle is all of these, and much smarter."

This book has me joining a vegetable CSA in the spring (I've done this before and was already planning on doing again but now I'm even more motivated) as well as a fish CSF that is run out of my neighboring town which is a big fishing port. I'm trying to find good sources for "local" (probably meaning in New England) pasture-finished/fed beef as well as true free range chickens and eggs. I've been wanting to have a vegetable garden for ages and now I'm even more motivated plus I'd like to plant lots of heirloom vegetable varieties. I want to do these for many reasons starting with:

  • Reducing my family's carbon footprint

  • Eating better tasting vegetables that are actually in season

  • Reducing the number of chemicals in my children's systems

  • Supporting local farmers/fishermen

  • Increasing the quality of the food we eat

  • I have even gotten out my breadmaker and made a quick loaf of bread after work! I also really want to try my hand at making cheese and will start with Mozzarella. I'm going to order a beginners kit from the New England Cheesemaking Company. You probably think I'm crazy trying to do all this stuff with three kids under three and I expect I am. I'm sure some of it also has to do with the whole fall nesting thing that happens to me every year but I really would like to become a better locavore if not a true one.

    At a minimum, if this book doesn't inspire you like it did me, it will at least make you more aware of where your food is coming from.

    1 comment:

    Littleredhen said...

    I'm re-reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle right now and am finding it as inspiring as I did a couple of years ago.
    And you should definitely try making mozzarella-I did a couple of months ago & it was fun. Although I only have one baby, not 3, it did get a bit tricky when she started yelling & needing attention at a moment where I couldn't stop! It worked in the end though, and it still tasted good, so I'll be doing it again. Good luck with yours:)