Friday, September 9, 2011
Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
No wonder they think I'm odd.
But really, I cannot recommend this book more highly. Its an important book to read if you eat, care about the planet, or have a little farmer in you dying to be exercised.
The premise is Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from Arizona to a farm in Virginia, where they pledge to go a year of eating locally. They grow a garden, raise chickens and turkeys, make their own cheese, and make do with farmers markets and canning/freezing. It was an inspiring tale because they succeeded. But the book also uses this story of a year of eating locally to highlight the problems with food in America, how we get it, how we eat it, and how we think about it.
There is no denying that the food system in America is messed up, from cows being over dosed with hormones to make them grow, and antibiotics to make them able to handle the crap (corn and chicken parts) we feed them**, to not knowing that certain foods should be eaten in season. (Tallman does not understand why I won't make butternut squash risotto until October, and why I insist some meals are more wintery/summery than others, don't worry though, I'm working on him)
**Mini Religion Major Rant: if Leviticus says we can only eat animals that chew their cud, and have cloven hooves, then what does it mean for kosher eating that the majority of cows aren't eating food they need to chew their cud for. Does that make them no longer kosher, or halal, because they aren't chewing their cud?
Anyway. I like not destroying the planet to eat, whether it be from over fishing the ocean, polluting with cow manure full of hormones and super germs, making plants go around the world so that I can have tomatoes and asparagus at anytime of the year. That was what I enjoyed about the experience of the family in this book. They tried to eat local. They succeeded. It was inspiring, it really was.
I recommend you read this book immediately. I also recommend you eat things in season, eat things from farmers markets, eat things grown locally. Corn syrup IS the devil. So is anything so over processed you aren't sure how to make it yourself (I'm looking at you squeeze tube of margarine at the Tall household).
Read this book. It might change your life. It might just make you use your brain about what you eat. Either way, I bet you'll like it.