Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver

animalveg.gif My kids find it hard to believe, but when I was a child I’d never heard of zucchini….our lives changed forever the day [my father] brought home zucchinis. ‘It’s Italian food,’ he explained. We weren’t sure how to pronounce it. And while the artichokes had brought us to tears and throat lozenges, we liked these dark green dirigibles a lot. The next year Dad discovered he could order the seeds and grow this foreign food right at home. We ate them steamed, baked, batter-fried, in soup, in summer and also, in winter, because my mother developed a knockout zucchini-onion relish recipe that she canned by the score. I come from a proud line of folks who know how to deal with squash.

In her latest book, well-known writer Barbara Kingsolver, and her family dedicate a year of their life to eating as much local food as possible. The book chronicles their adventures growing or raising most of their own food on their rural Virginia farm. Kingsolver does a good job of reminding us where our food comes from and introduces the reader to a number of small farmers who are trying to make a living in the world of factory farms and imported produce. They are compelling stories to be sure. Kingsolver’s tone is adamant but not preachy and full of the same humor you might remember if you read High Tide in Tucson. Recipes and menus at the end of each chapter help illustrate the point that you don’t have to starve to eat local.

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