Five Star February: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Title: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.)
Authors: Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp
Summary: Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat. “As the U.S. population made an unprecedented mad dash for the Sun Belt, one carload of us paddled against the tide, heading for the Promised Land where water falls from the sky and green stuff grows all around. We were about to begin the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain. “Naturally, our first stop was to buy junk food and fossil fuel. . . .” Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that’s better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet. “This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air.” [1]
Why I Loved It: Unlike Gaiman, I was a firm Kingsolver fan before I picked this one up.  Her fiction, set in Arizona, where I was living when I read it, is wonderful and I highly recommend it.  This book, non-fiction, was part of a book food fad including The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It by Participant Media, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser.  But this story is deeply personal and one which makes you wonder how your family would fair without a global food economy.
Who would like this:  If you are happy with pre-processed food, this is not the book for you.  If you want to begin to think about local economy and eating in the seasons, I can’t recommend this one enough.
Favorite Quote:  “When we traded homemaking for careers, we were implicitly promised economic independence and worldly influence. But a devil of a bargain it has turned out to be in terms of daily life. We gave up the aroma of warm bread rising, the measured pace of nurturing routines, the creative task of molding our families’ tastes and zest for life; we received in exchange the minivan and the Lunchable.”