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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
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March 2018: Autobiography > Animal, Vegetable, Miracle / Barbara Kingsolver - 3.5***

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6000 comments Animal, Vegetable, Miracle A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L Hopp, Camille Kingsolver
Digital audiobook read by the three authors.

Kingsolver, her husband and two daughters moved from their Tucson Arizona home back to southern Appalachia and her husband’s family farmstead. As a family they vowed to get back to their roots – literally – growing much of their own food and buying what they couldn’t grow themselves locally. They pledged to a year of this experiment, allowing each family member one “luxury” – coffee for Steven, dried fruit for Camille, hot chocolate for 9-year-old Lily. They also accepted that they would need olive oil and flour, as well as spices. But they made a commitment to find the best possible sources for organic ingredients they needed to buy. This memoir is a record of their family’s journey.

The book includes essays / asides from Kingsolver’s husband, Steven Holt and eldest daughter Camille. Holt focuses on the global carbon footprint and economics of agriculture. Talk about preachy; I really felt I was being scolded for not paying closer attention to how my eating habits affect the world! Camille’s essays give a perspective from a teenager / young adult and include seasonal meal plans and some recipes.

I was surprised that I liked this as much as I did. Kingsolver is a talented writer and the humor of their situation shone through, making this very readable. I loved the episode describing young entrepreneur Lily’s egg business, or that chapter on turkey sex. That said, she can (and does) get preachy and while she states that she understands that not everyone has a family farm to move to, she doesn’t seem to really take into account that not everyone is actually able to grow so much of their own food, or to spend the time at home to prepare such delicious and seasonal meals for their family. And no, Ms Kingsolver, most of us do NOT have a chest freezer.

Still, she gave me much to think about. My husband and I have developed a more European style of marketing over the last few years. We go to the store every day, buying just what we need for that day’s meals and, with the exception of some staples (chiefly coffee, sugar, olive oil, oatmeal, canned tomatoes, and chicken stock), we wheel our grocery cart almost exclusively on the outer parameters of the store: dairy, eggs, meats, poultry, fish, and produce. (Thank heavens the wine is also on the “outside” … LOL) Come spring (yes, the calendar says we’re already there, but I live in Wisconsin – we still have snow on the ground), I plan to hit the local farmers’ market more often.

The authors narrate the audio book themselves, which lends a sort of personal touch. The recipes, however, are not included in the audio version; rather, the listener is referred to their website where the recipes are available.

LINK to my review

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Great review, BC. I have considered reading this book several times but was worried I may not enjoy it. Reviews are all over the place, including some 1 star ratings.

LibraryCin | 8617 comments I really liked this one!

message 4: by JoLene (new) - added it

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments This has been sitting on my bookshelf FOREVER!! It never bubbles up to the top, but I have several similar books. One that was really interesting was the one where the couple only ate food available within 100 miles for their house.

message 5: by Cynda (last edited Mar 23, 2018 11:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cynda I read this book when it was new. It was the first time I heard about local sourcing, what the cost to the Earth was to have items shipped from other continents. It opened my eyes to some of my destructive practices. I make jewelry and have to remind myself why I am not buying lightweight wood beads from Africa or from Korea. The Earth is more important that my necklace. (Duh Cynda)
I agree the writing is preachy. Today I would very likely be irritated some by the writing style. But it got my attention. It changed me.

message 6: by Book Concierge (last edited Mar 25, 2018 05:02AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6000 comments Good point about the cost of shipping, Cynda. Here's a startling quote by Steven Holt:
If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That's not gallons, but barrels.

message 7: by LibraryCin (last edited Mar 24, 2018 10:23AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

LibraryCin | 8617 comments I'm certain I liked this book so much because I agree with most of what she preaches! That's not to say I do it all, but I really try to be as "green" as I can.

Wow, BC! Wow!

Cynda Huge! Thanks for sharing BC.

KateNZ | 2502 comments Great review, BC!

Jeremiah Cunningham | 717 comments I read this book many years ago and really enjoyed it. The passages about growing asparagus still stand out to me. Not sure why, but they do.

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6000 comments This would probably fit the "strong women" tag for April.

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