19 August 2008

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver describes a year in the life of Kingsolver, her husband, and her two daughters as they try to eat only foods that were grown or produced in their local area. Their first step is to move from Arizona to a family farm in Virginia. Once there, they grow some of their food (including raising poultry), buy some from the neighboring farms, and try to live without processed foods like Pop-Tarts as well as out-of-season foods like tomatoes in December.

When I first started reading the book, I thought that it would be similar to The $64 Tomato. However, it has more of a evangelistic bent. In between the anecdotal bits the author goes on and on about how industrial farming and processed food is killing us. Some of the passages conjured up a picture of Kingsolver standing at the pulpit of the Universal Church of Slow Food. Like a non-believer who is annoyed by friends who try to convert her, I was slightly turned off by those parts of the book. The sections where Kingsolver described the joys of eating produce from her own garden more than made up for the annoyance.

Although I disagree with some of the author's points (it is NOT cheaper to eat a diet solely comprised on non-processed "real" food), the book did renew my enthusiasm for gardening. I would recommend Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for anyone who wants to understand why people are starting to grow tomatoes in pots on their patios all over the country.

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