Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

This is one of my favorite books of all time, because not only is it a memoir written by Barbara Kingsolver (HarperCollins 2007), but it’s also a seasonal cook book (courtesy of her daughter, Camille), and packed with informative pieces (written by Barbara’s husband Steven). It’s arranged by month, so that you can start at the beginning and read all the way through, and then go back and focus by month.

It starts with Barbara and her family moving from Arizona, where most of the food is trucked in, to Southern Appalachia, where most people grow their own food. Did you know that if each person ate one meal with only locally grown foods, it would save our country 1.1 million barrels of oil per week?  (Just one fascinating fact from Steven).

Barbara and her family set out to eat locally grown and in season foods by gardening, raising their meat, foraging, frequenting farmer’s markets and supporting eateries that use local foods.  It’s an inspiring, fascinating book, and one that makes you seriously think about what you are eating and the over all cost to our planet as well as ourselves.  The recipes are delightful and luscious (love the 30 minute mozzarella from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company), and I refer to it constantly to inspire me, and to try new recipes.

The book motivated me to choose heritage breeds of chicken and that’s what I look for in seeds for the garden too.  It also inspired me to cook more, and to consider how I’m choosing to spend my time.  I’d like to have a kitchen like hers, where everyone works, no, plays together to create enticing aromas and exciting flavors and savors the simplicity of a home-cooked meal, rather than a kitchen that is used to quickly cook and eat a boxed meal.

Barbara calculated that her family of four saved nearly $7500. a year by raising their own food. She thinks of the money as income from their “second job”.  And the quality of the food . . . so much fresher and organic.  I see little gardens springing up all over my neighborhood.  Several families on my block (1 acre plots) have chickens.  Even though my yard is large, with a small yard or community garden plot, a family can still raise a fair amount of food. Hope you read this book and love it as much as I do. Happy gardening!

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