Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver with her husband, Steven L. Hopp and her daughter Camille Kingsolver, originally published in 2008.
I’ve just started listening to a great audiobook by Stephen C. Meyer, but I won’t be ready to post about it this week. So I was reminded of a great book I read some time ago, well before I started this blog. It won’t inspire you to move out in the country and start raising vegetables and turkeys any more than it did me, but it’s well worth reading for a number of reasons:
1. It’s a charming family story, with a husband, wife, and two daughters working together to fulfill a goal, that of relocating and then limiting themselves for one year to food grown within a predetermined distance from their home. The younger daughter is a special joy: we learn all about the ins and outs of her egg business, for example.
2. It’s a painless way to learn all about our food supply, although such information is often very uncomfortable to contemplate. Where did those chicken breasts you bought from Costco actually come from?
3. It’s most importantly a prod to treat food respectfully. Mindlessly scarfing down a meal is the opposite of respectful treatment. Someone raised those plants and animals, someone else (usually) prepared the food. We at least owe some time and attention to the food as we consume it.
I think of someone sitting and watching TV with a bowl of popcorn on his/her lap. (And don’t tell me that it’s plain unbuttered popcorn and so therefore low in fat and calories—styrofoam is low in fat and calories, too.) Anyway, this person automatically reaches into the bowl and takes a handful, chomps it down, then takes another. At some point the bowl will be empty, with the person’s hand scrabbling among the unpopped kernels and crumbs. ‘Huh,’ he/she will think. ‘Did I eat the whole thing?’ This is not what I like to call “mindful eating.” It’s the exact opposite. (The same thing happens at movie theaters. Mindless chomping!)
Anyway, as you have probably noticed, I’m somewhat on a tear lately about healthful, mindful eating. This emphasis will probably continue throughout the new year. I want to give practical advice that actually, well, works, with recipes and tips.
In the meantime, though, I’d urge you to read this book. It came out in 2008, so there are lots of used copies available, as you’ll see if you click on the title (which is an Amazon affiliate link), or you can certainly find it at the library. Well worth your time!
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