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May 20, 2010 / littlefooteslab

Book review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I finished the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver yesterday afternoon.  (yes I know it was written  3 years ago.  I’m just finally getting around to reading it)  I had to finish it because it was due at the library.  So, I set it by the front door so that I could return it while on my way to an appointment in the evening.  Then, I didn’t think of it again until about ten  minutes after I left the house, without the book.  Well, I guess I owe the library 25 cents now.  I returned the book this morning on my way to the post office to ship a pillow order (!!)

First off, let me say that I really enjoyed the book.  Kingsolver is one of my favorite writers, her writing is moving and meaningful to me, I feel a deep connection to her books and am always a little sad when I finish reading one because I won’t have it to look forward to every evening.  *le sigh*  There are lots of other great books out there.

I’ll give away some of the book content after the break, so stop here if you are worried about me spoiling it for you.  I think you’ll still enjoy the story even if you know a bit more about it, that’s how good the writing is(plus I won’t give everything away), but that’s just my opinion, so consider this fair warning.  : )

AVM (we’ll use this as short hand for the book title) is the story of living off food as locally produced and grown as possible for an entire year.  Most of the vegetables and much of the protein the family eats is grown on their own property.  They even find themselves feeling that they are eating very abundantly and never have to ration or go without.  It’s moving to me to think about this.  I love the idea that we can be less dependent on oil and chemicals to feed us.  I love the idea of only buying meat from humanely treated animals, we can still eat meat with out supporting big conglomerate farms that abuse animals.

This book does a fairly good job of explaining how and why we can make these decisions, with out being too preachy.  I have to admit that I am a fairly easy audience for this topic of eating locally since I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit even before reading this book.  So what wasn’t too preachy to me might be a different story to someone who has not bought into the ideas yet.  Also, living in Portland, Oregon, there are lots of opportunities to buy local and organic, even restaurants that focus on that type of food.  There are not as many specifically seasonal places to eat or buy food, especially in the winter months, but we’re going into the growing season here, so now is a really good time to change our buying habits and really enjoy local, organic, and seasonal food.

I have planted a fairly large garden this year as I have talked about a bit on this blog, and I have been looking forward to the whole thing all winter.  There is one area that I am really excited for though.  That is the tomatoes and basil.  YUM!  I make really good jokes.  I’m sure you’ll all agree.  One of my awesome jokes lately has been that I am looking forward to the fresh tomatoes and basil and that all I need now is a mozzarella plant! Ha! Ha!  . . . . hello? . . .  did you all just leave my blog?  oops.

The point is that in the book AVM, they list a recipe for 30 minute mozzarella!  Fresh mozzarella in 30 minutes!  I am excited to try it out.  If it works and is as easy as they make it out to be, I’ll be all set for my caprese salads!  Yaaahoooo!  I’ll tell you all about it when I give it a go.

Back to the book.  It’s full of great stories and descriptions of what the year was like.  There are recipes and meal plans for every season.  The book also directs the reader to the web site for more information as well as more recipes.  I recommend checking it out for more info on all of the topics covered in the book.

Even though the book wasn’t too preachy for me, there were a few times when I think it go there.  One time towards the end of the book when Kingsolver was trying to wrap the whole thing up an tie it all together.  She just got a bit preachy and a little much for me.  But it really wasn’t a huge deal.  I still enjoyed the book and would read it again.



Leave a Comment
  1. moma / May 20 2010 8:34 pm

    I hope the author focuses on Miracle. That’s what my plants require!

  2. Jessica / May 21 2010 6:54 am

    I too liked the book. And I felt inspired to make cheese. I do wish cheese making supplies were a little bit more accessible for Oregonians. But it’s a good excuses to take a trip or get a package in the mail.

    I also enjoyed that we got a glimpse of the trials of farming, like her story about turkey mating. Things that I’ve never thought about, Kingsolver shows in a comical light where she could have taken the doom and gloom approach.

    I also agree that Kingsolver does become preachy in parts yet, considering the drastic change in eating, I think her message is pretty digestible. Good points littlefoote!

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