I didn’t get around to posting over the weekend because I have been stuck with my head in a book for the past few days. I also have put off all my house chores, so my apartment is looking quite unfortunate at the moment. Everything is a disaster, my bedroom has several layers of clothes layering the floor and the kitchen table is piled a foot high with papers, gardening books, and other random objects. Today is catch up day.
A few weeks back while talking with my brother on the phone about my vegetable garden and the other projects I have been working on, he mentioned the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I looked into it, first browsing the website, and then ordered it on Amazon a few days later.
From the time I got it in the mail I could not put it down. The book chronicles one family’s choice to eat locally for an entire year. What the family couldn’t grow themselves they would get from neighboring farms, with a few small exceptions (free trade coffee, spices, etc). It was a really fun and inspiring read, which brought to light so many issues with food today–most of which I hadn’t thought of or known about. It was really neat that the entire family contributed to the book; the oldest daughter, Camille, wrote excellent short essays following each chapter and included many recipes and menu plans for using their fresh produce, while Steven, the husband, included very informative statistics and facts about the importance of eating local foods. Included in the book was a recipe for 30 minute mozzarella, which I am so excited to try later this week after the supplies come in the mail.
For a while now I have been trying to do everything the ‘old-fashioned’ way–from scratch. This book really validated a lot of the choices I have made, as well as taught me a lot of things I didn’t know about the food we eat. Though I have never been one to buy processed foods, I only recently gave up buying store bought bread and mayonnaise, among other things, and instead vowed to make everything I can from scratch instead. Besides the obvious health benefits and the cost, I find that I am enjoying my meals more. I love being able to spend a long time in the kitchen. At the end of a long day knowing that everything we are eating is homemade, really does make you appreciate the food more.
One thing that sticks with me after reading this is that it really justifies spending a bit more money for local grown produce at the farmers market than the deals you may find on out of season fruits and vegetables in the supermarket. The taste alone could quite possibly be reason enough, but besides eating fresher organic produce, shopping at the farmers market puts money back into the community, which has many benefits from a sociological perspective. That along with cutting back on the massive amounts of fuel used to transport our produce is enough to convince me!
Anyhow, this was a great read, and I really would recommend it to anyone who is at all interested in growing there own produce, living more self sufficiently, eating locally, or just food in general.