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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

A Year of Food Life

by Barbara Kingsolver

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
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  • First Published:
    May 2007, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2008, 400 pages

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Power Reviewer Cloggie Downunder (12/26/11)

a very interesting read
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the 7th non-fiction book by Barbara Kingsolver. Co-written with her husband, Stephen L. Hopp, and her daughter, Camille Kingsolver, this book details her family’s experiences during the year they decided to become locavores, trying to obtain their food locally, either from their own garden or farms close by, and thus eat seasonally. But this book is much more than that. It gives us the low-down on many, often controversial, subjects such as GM foods, Mad Cow Disease, Free Range and Organic produce, evolution, vegetarians and vegans, as well as Farmers Markets, cheese making, canning and bottling, seasonal eating, and breeding chickens and turkeys. There are many delightful, illustrative, and often educational anecdotes that occasionally had me laughing out loud. There is a timely warning for those evolution-deniers, the creationists, as well as the ironic method the Slow Food movement has employed of saving rare breeds: getting more people to eat them. The ultimate aim of eating food which has been produced in a manner that means it tastes good and is good for both the eater and the environment seems like a worthy one. This book is thought-provoking, inspiring, and practical, with recipes and meal plans by Camille. The side-bars by Stephen L. Hopp are informative and, at times, revelatory. I don’t know how much of what is in this book is applicable to where I am (Australia), but it will certainly have me looking at and thinking about where my food originates. A very interesting read.
Lorena (06/26/10)

I am in love with this book!
I could write a long review, go on for hours about different elements that encouraged and enlightened me. But to put it plainly, this book changed my life. It ignited a passion for living closer to the earth, and respect her efforts. I encourage others to read it or "at least grow a tomato plant". I am forever thankful for this book, and the knowledge I have gained from it.
Jill Hansen (01/21/10)

Soul mates
It has been a very long time since I found a book that I could not put down. This book is not only it, but I had to check it out 3 times from the library because I could not give it up. It started out as a book recommended by the librarian for a research project I was doing for a culinary class. I have always upheld certain values when it comes to food and cooking and have decided to attend the Culinary Institute of Michigan to delve further into these skills and ultimately a career. I have not met anyone with like minded food values until I read this book. In many cases, it felt like Barbara was quoting me, it was uncanny. We have been living overseas for 16 years total and 1 1\2 years ago moved back to the states. In Europe, food is still for the most part food and what people put into their bodies is still again for the most part respectful and healthy. I have always believed the reason being, cultures are closely guarded, and the environment is revered and protected. (Naturally, this is not a generalization but in many areas this is true). Farmer's markets are still a major food source. They are in every village, every week, year round. That was where I shopped. In moving back to the U.S. I am seeing something vastly different, and have been trying singlehandedly to bring public awareness to my community about "real food". Barbara's book says everything I want to say and wish I could somehow get it out their to my community as required reading in the schools, community education based on this book etc. Michigan has some of the most obese people in the nation and I see what people are putting in their grocery carts. Most of it is not even food. Living the way Barbara's family does is not feasible for most people, however, everyone can shop at a Farmer's Market, and everyone can avoid the center aisles at the Supermarket, and everyone can be taught how to cook from "real food". That is and has been my goal since I moved here and I only wish I had a Barbara and Camille by my side to help. Jill Hansen
Rockey Mann (05/05/08)

We STILL need people telling us this?
It amazes me that everyone is all agog about something we all should know by heart - seasonal eating. We are killing our planet with everything all the time as a food style. How are city mobs supposed to eat locally? This is a priviledge of the poor.
Wake up World....best get back to the future.
Elyse Grau (10/10/07)

Enjoyable read, with reservations
I was attracted to this book as a kindred spirit (of sorts) to the author. I have been growing much of my own food (plant-based, anyway) as I could for many years. I prefer to eat seasonal foods, and buy locally produced items whenever available.

So I was a little disappointed when I first began reading, as much of the first chapter or two is taken up by the author's berating us all for our ignorance and our eating habits, as well as a lot of good, but unfortunately not new to me, information on our food supply.

Thankfully though, I hung in there, and found it to be an enjoyable read overall. I was looking forward to hear someone else's experiences in the garden and the kitchen, and that I did get.

I found myself skipping some parts, the description of the poultry slaughtering for example. The book also includes sidebars written by her husband, which were mainly summaries of reports one may have already read elsewhere; and essays written by her daughter, Camille. I didn't find these entries of interest, and so skipped them as well.

If you enjoy reading about food and or gardening, or you have been having second thoughts about your grocery habits lately, then I recommend this book.
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