Having just finished reading 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle ~ A Year of Food Life' by Barbara Kingsolver, I am still processing the wealth of information which I read over the last month. This book was a slow read for me – not because I was bored but I believe that to do justice to this book one has to read slowly and digest each morsel.
There were times when I was truly inspired. I could not wait to go out and plant my own bed of asparagus in my fledgling garden so to the local garden store I went. I wanted to taste fresh asparagus as Kingsolver describes it in her book. I grabbed the first clerk I could and impatiently told her how I wanted to buy asparagus plants for my garden – quickly. I think she smirked at me as she shook her head ‘no’ and started to turn away. Whoa there – I need to start my Barbara Kingsolver asparagus bed NOW – what do you mean ‘no’?
“If you wanted to plant asparagus beds you should have done it a month ago – at least.”
Oops. I then tried to rein in my excitement as I read and I resisted ordering heirloom turkeys immediately. Maybe next year.
This book is considered a memoir but should also be considered as a serious textbook/reference book at the high school/college level. It is interesting how it was written as a family affair with her daughter and husband. To be honest it was Kingsolver’s writing style which allowed this book to flow as well as it did. Her husband writes with a technical style which did not always hold my focus. I enjoyed the recipes which her daughter offered but would caution the whole family against being a tad judgmental at times.
I did wonder more than once about whether or not their ‘experiment’ would have worked if they had stayed in Arizona. I wondered about the message their book might send to those not fortunate enough to be able to up and move to the fertile Appalachians.
The ‘vegetannual’ is a powerful teaching tool and would make a beautiful poster/print. I would have used it for the cover of the book. Now, whenever I shop, I stop and think about the vegetannual and I converse with myself about the distance that kiwi had to travel to sit on my local grocery store shelf.
This book would be the perfect book club read. I frequently wished I had someone to discuss various issues with, ask the many questions that came to mind and share my reflections with others.
Whether or not you agree with every word in this 352 page memoir, I think you have to respect Kingsolver for using the power of her words to force people to stop and think about our food and its origins. While one might not be inspired to run out and plant an asparagus bed, let me leave you with some food for thought: 'If every American family chose to eat just one (1) meal a week consisting of locally grown food, we'd save 1.1 million barrels of oil -- a week. '