Sunday, August 5, 2007

Book #33: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Title: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

I think that reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has cured me of my recent obsession with food-related literature (either that or I started eating again after my diet ended and real food took the place of just reading about food). Whatever the reason, Kingsolver simultaneously inspired me and made me feel like a total loser.

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Kingsolver (along with her husband and older daughter) recounts the year that she and her family resolved to live off the land. For one year, they (with relatively small exception) consumed no food that originated more than 100 miles from their homes. Sometimes that meant that they ate a lot of asparagus and in the summer, they were overwhelmed by zucchini.

Kingsolver's book really made me think about the food I consume. I try to buy produce that comes from Texas, but at Target, where I do most of my grocery shopping, virtually all of the vegetables, including the green onions and the bell peppers, come shrinkwrapped from afar (the pepper I ate yesterday came from Canada!?!?). But I rarely think about whether the food I eat is in season. I do recognize that strawberries in June are cheaper and tastier than berries bought in January, but that doesn't mean that I don't buy berries in January.

But Kingsolver really knows how to lay on the guilt. Thick. She tells the story of how her daughter had a friend visiting and when they were at the grocery store the friend wanted a bunch of bananas. Instead of buying the bananas, Kingsolver explained to the girl the cost to the environment (in terms of jet fuel and transportation) of the bananas. Talk about laying it on!

Anyway, I appreciated Kingsolver's book. I'm looking into subscribing to a CSA. I'll try to hit the farmer's market more often. But I'm still eating my bananas. I guess that here in the tropics, bananas are local anyway.

--originally published 7/29/07

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