Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a wonderful account of author Barbara Kingsolver and her family working their Virginia farm and living on local or home-grown food for a full calendar year.
This meant no snack foods, no processed ones, no cucumbers from warmer parts of the world. “Six eyes, all beloved to me, stared unblinking as I crossed the exotics off our shopping list, one by one,” Kingsolver writes about the family’s adjustment to these strictures. With the exceptions of olive oil, grains and spices, everything they ate was simple and in season.
Was this a hardship? “If many of us would view this style of eating as deprivation, that’s only because we’ve grown accustomed to the botanically outrageous condition of having everything, always,” she writes. She thinks most North Americans have lost their awareness of what ought to be ripe when. So the book provides a shorthand for knowing which vegetables to trust at which times and what questions to raise about how they’re grown.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle A Year of Food Life By Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver 370 pages. $26.95. HarperCollins.