Friday, February 18, 2011

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Finally, I got through Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and so ends my current foray into non-fiction. I promise! For anyone out there who actually reads this and isn't gagging over me talking about books, I'm heading back into my favorite realm, fiction, next. What will be next?!?! My secret. A clue--it's not an American author and evokes the idea of metallurgy. If you figure it out, you're genius like or else my hint was way too easy. But, back to the task at book.

Interesting concept this: eat seasonally (and locally) for one calendar year. In other words, eat fresh tomatoes when fresh tomatoes are ready. Eat zucchini when zucchini is in season. Don't drive to the store and buy tomatoes in January and lettuce in December. What it essentially boils down to in this epicurean adventure is developing a intuitive relationship with food that isn't reliant on overt quantities of petroleum to supply it. Could I do it? Not at all, not the way that I'm currently set up to be. And, frankly, I'm okay with that.

In fact, I'm mostly okay with reading this book without feeling like I'm being frowned upon for the 6 oz. of blueberries that I bought at the store this week because multiple times, Kingsolver happens to mention that they still bought Kraft mac-n-cheese. Admittedly, I don't quite get this because her first mention of this was that they bought the chemical (i.e. petroleum) laden noodley goo in order to make her youngest daughter's friends appeased when they came to play. But they also denied bananas to their oldest daughter's friend. And later times when she mentioned buying the blue box magic, it really came across like she was also buying it for her family as a splurge. Hypocritical? I do believe so even if Kingsolver wasn't trying to portray it as such.

I admire Kingsolver for this smart and funny book (she's really quite sarcastic at times and laughingly pokes fun at herself a lot) and especially for the epic family resolve that her family took on upon themselves voluntarily. I wish I could do it. It's another book that makes me want to plow up my yard and scour plant catalogs. And I decided somewhere around chapter/month September that whenever I have a better little plot of land to tinker in, I will definitely need some funky hippie Wellingtons to wear as I putter around. And a plaid shirt. And comfortably worn jeans with threadbare knees. And hair that is long enough to pull into a messy ponytail or braid. Or maybe just Wellies.

But the book is delightful overall. I really think the message here is moderation not abstinence. It's a lovely read in conjunction with Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, which, if you missed it (tsk tsk), I blogged about toward the beginning of January.

And for any of you out there who are like, hmm...Barbara Kingsolver...I know that name. Yes, you probably do, especially if you went to Manchester, where everyone seemed to be reading or had read or was recommending that you read The Poisonwood Bible. For the record, I much prefer her non-fiction. Scathing indictment!

Pick it up. Enjoy it as spring starts knocking on the door. I bet that it will make you want to start searching for the first green shoots of wild asparagus. Delish!

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