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Book review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

June 20, 2012

Warning: information in this blog posting may be an entry drug, like marijuana is touted for harder stuff. If you read the blog and like it and then go on and find out more  you may be hooked into a new way of eating. READER BEWARE. Lifestyle change possible.


I’m a reader….always have been and I read every day for at least an hour to help me turn off the craziness of the day and relax for bedtime.  When I was younger I read only fiction and wondered how people could enjoy nonfiction, but I guess I had equated nonfiction with school assignments and know now that if you read anything about a subject you enjoy, it is fun.

I was introduced to Barbara Kingsolver’s writing in the late 1980s when she published The Bean Trees and read several others of her novels, but it wasn’t until last year when I ran across her 2007 nonfiction Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a Year of Food Life. It moved to my bedside table and as I started reading it, I was hooked. It changed me. It changed my family’s eating.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle tells the year Kingsolver’s family made a move from Arizona to a family farm in southwestern Virginia in order to try to live one year eating only the foods they themselves raised or could purchase or trade in the local community.  They made very few exceptions; one was to switch to purchasing fair trade coffee. Many of us can relate for the need for coffee.

Adjusting took a while. For example, learning not to act on the desire for strawberries that first January lead to them learning how to preserve berries when they were in season to enjoy the next winter.  The whole family participated, both in the farm activities and involvement in any business that grew, as well as writing sections of the book.

The book  is humorous and  pithy and yet clear about the work involved. It presents a lot of information that most of us do not know in an easy to read fashion.

Do I plan to start farming my own food? No, I know my limitations. But I also know that this book awakened a passion in me to do what I can to move our diet to seasonal foods as much as possible. To local foods as much as possible. To know my farmer. To eat less processed foods and to learn how to preserve fresh nutritious produce at the peak of its ripeness.

Read it, but again, be warned….you may never think about food the same again. And that will be a good thing.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2012 11:55 pm

    This is my favorite book of all time. It is water logged and ruffled from reading on the porch and in the tub. I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle each year season by season as the book is laid out and compare my garden victories and challenges with those of the Kingsolver family. Gardening and recipes combined with a modern day family “eating local” ala Little House on the Prairie… perfect!!!

    • June 21, 2012 12:17 am

      In another segment of my current life, I am a book re-seller. I plan to keep an eye out for copies of this book whatever place I go to acquire books. It would be great to get copies for sale at the Wild Ramp….we’ll see how I do.

  2. June 26, 2012 12:33 am

    This is on my top 5 favorite books list: it’s so heart-warming, eye-opening and truly life/diet-changing!

    Two more good ones:Eating Animals (you’ll never buy the standard meat at the grocer again) and The Dirty Life (makes you want to run off into the sunset to start farming).

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