Saturday, January 26, 2008

no more bananas?

title: animal vegetable miracle
author: barbara kingsolver
audio ed., may 1, 2007
bookmark - pause button?

just in case i haven't mentioned it already, i'm a fan of it's a really cheap way to get audio books. audiobooks are a really good way to undiagnosed add sufferers such as myself to finish 'reading' books.

i also am a fan of authors who read their own audio books. i'm sure not every author is cut out for this, and so far come to think of it i've mostly seen this with books that are at least vaguely memiors, so that makes some sense.

barbara kingsolver (minor kentucky folk hero), whose fiction i have not read (even though its recommended by both oprah and my mother) packs up her family from the west and plants them on a farm in virginia where they conduct a local food experiment for one year. they will grow or buy locally produced everything. (well, almost everything - they allowed a few expections, i'm thinking sugar was in there, and i believe that each family member could pick a couple spices or something). know what doesn't grow in virginia? most of that great stuff that grows in florida, california and such sunny spots. kingsolver mentions being somewhat convinced that they would starve. she is quite wrong.

kingsolver, her husband and her oldest daughter share authorship and reading of the book. kingsolver takes on most of the narrative of how the year progresses, what they grew, what they slaughtered and cleaned by hand, etc. her husband covers things like studies, resources, broader background to the local food idea, and her daughter gives sample menus for the seasons and mentions more resources.

did you know that it's apparently pretty easy to make your own soft cheeses?

i liked this book quite a bit, and i liked the authors' presentation of it in audio. i'm not sure that she brought up any particularly original points about local food (good for the economy, the earth, the body, the mental health of children, the pocketbook), but i certainly came away with the inclination to find a local farmers market [which i have researched, and they really aren't as prevalent in this are as i would have thought]. All the resources and actions they list in the book make the idea of at least finding a lot of your food from local sources seem very doable, and oddly zen.

local food is going to continue to grow as a topic, both in publishing and elsewhere. michael pollen is certainly helping out with that also. i think that kingsolver's book will serve for a long time to come for readers who want to dig into this topic but who can't hack a traditional non-fiction how-to or commentary. kingsolver's language is very natural, and her childhood connection to the out of doors in rural kentucky probably helps out with this: growing an impressive pile of food and canning it, though clearly a lot of work, comes across as a accepted part of life in her narrative. so should it be. i don't know about being up to my elbow in freshly killed turkey guts though. i think i shall have to leave that to sturdy characters like barbara.

(also, kingsolver was included in a book about people who are ruining america or the world or whatever...the book reflects a republican world view, if i'm not mistaken...her mention in 'animal vegetable miracle' of her learning of this new notariety and her reaction to it also made me fan of hers).

posted by ~e at 11:58 PM


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