Jess's Reviews > Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
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's review
Feb 18, 15

bookshelves: library, nature, non-fiction, wishlist, to-read
Read from January 11 to 16, 2011, read count: 1

While Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma fell flat for me, this book turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. It was fascinating, informative, and yet poetic.

There were so many things that I loved about this book. I think most of all, I just really liked Kingsolver's idea of chronicling a year of eating intentionally with her family. For an entire year, they tried to only consume food products that were local to their area in the Appalachian foothills in Virginia and food that was currently in season. If you stop and think about it, it wasn't all that long ago that this particular way of life was the norm and, in fact, the only option.

The writing is excellent, as well. I typically read fiction a majority of the time, and I had no trouble picking this up and getting lost in its pages. I've never read any of Kingsolver's other books, and now I can't wait to! She writes beautifully, yet simply. It wasn't fluffy, and it wasn't clunky. It was just right. The way Kingsolver writes--I was there. My mouth was watering for half of the book. I mean, she just had a way of wording things (like when she talks about gardening or the joy of cooking a meal) that left me wondering why I had never thought of it like that myself. And she was so funny and down-to-earth, too! I couldn't wait to see what antics her and her family would get up to next. At the same time that this book was a lot of fun to read, it was also really informative, too. I learned just as much about food and our food industry as I did while reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, except I enjoyed it so much more. I really shouldn't compare the two, but as I mentioned in my review of Pollan's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the perfect example of presenting the general public with a book about food that they'll WANT to read.

Hands down, though, my favorite thing about this book was that I could actually relate to a good bit of it. I've grown up in a family that values gardening, canning, local food, etc. For as long as I can remember, my dad has grown a garden, and in recent years, I've learned a thing or two about gardening myself. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolved around the tomato and beet canning days in the fall. So, when Kingsolver wrote about harvesting tomatoes or the feeling of watching something you've planted grow into something that will feed you, I wanted to jump up and pump my fist in the air. I wanted summer, and I wanted to try out all of the DELICIOUS recipes sprinkled throughout the book.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you love food or if you love learning about food. I learned so much reading this, and I'm looking forward to this summer so that I can revisit these recipes! Yum!

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Reading Progress

01/11 "Reading this for my sustainable agriculture class that I will be starting in about a week. I'm only a handful of pages into it, but it's very interesting so far, and I love Kingsolver's writing."
01/12 page 86
22.0% "This is fascinating, informative, and yet poetic--everything I had hoped it would be."
01/15 page 196
51.0% "Completely loving this, and now I'm looking forward to this spring and summer so I can try out some of these recipes using our own garden."
01/16 page 259
67.0% "Oh, now I want to go to Italy!"
02/18 marked as: to-read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Valerie I loved this book! I learned a lot from it and found the author's antics to be humorous.

Jess I'm totally loving it! (And I'm looking forward to summer so I can try out some of these recipes with veggies from our own garden!)

Valerie It definitely changed the way I think about local and organic. In fact, I'm going to a winter farmer's market today!

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