Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Book Review

     Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver, was an incredibly inspiring book for me.  Ms. Kingsolver and her family committed themselves to a year long experiment, of sorts, in growing and raising as much of their own food as they could, supplemented only by food grown or raised within a small radius of their home.  I am not motivated to have my family copy their experiment; however, we are stepping up our efforts this year to grow more of our own food.  I have to admit that a lot of that motivation existed before reading Ms. Kingsolver’s book; but the book did offer me lots of encouragement as well as provide me with plenty of valuable information.

     After the introductory chapter explaining the background behind their decision and how they began implementing their experiment, the remaining chapters chronicle the happenings during their year long trial from March of one year to the next.  Some months, such as June, require several chapters, while other months, such as November and December, share a chapter. 

     I appreciate that the author does not romanticize the notion of growing your own produce and raising your own meat for food.  It is hard work.  There is a great deal of unpleasantness involved, especially when it comes to butchering animals.  There are weeks and weeks of work with no rewards and there are weeks and weeks of hard, strenuous work when the rewards (by way of abundant garden produce) begin to take over your life!  Ms. Kingsolver deals with these events in a straightforward manner.

     There are a couple of added features in the book that I also enjoyed.  Most chapters feature an article written by Steven L. Hopp, the author’s husband.  His articles  covered a variety of topics:  the safety and economics of the American food supply, the global food situation, genetic engineering, pesticides, etc.  I did not always agree with his politics, but I did learn quite a bit from his articles.  I appreciated not only that his articles were short and to the point, but also that he included plenty of web sites and other references for anyone wanting further information on each topic. 

     There were also short articles, and recipes, shared by Camille Kingsolver, the author’s collegiate daughter.  Many of the recipes were appealing, but I also enjoyed hearing this young woman’s take on her family’s experiement as well as hearing the reactions of some of her friends. 

     By way of disclaimer, the author and her family do not share my faith, and they certainly have a much different view on the origin of life than the one I hold.  However, it is not necessary to agree with the author’s views on these matters in order to benefit from her book.  As with all things, hang on to the good and freely discard what you wish. 

     Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is a book I thoroughly enjoyed.  It was entertaining, as well as informative, and there were times when I caught myself saying, “Just a few more pages” when it was time to put the book down.  I would recommend this book not only for those of us who would like to increase the amount of food we produce oursevles, but also for those of us who want a clearer understanding of the economics and perils of today’s American food supply. 

     Please visit the Reading Basket section of my side bar to see the books in my reading queue and to understand why I think it is so vitally important that you spend some time reading each week.  

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 

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5 comments to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Book Review

  • I thought I had seen this book somewhere, probably it was on your blog.  It does sound interesting.  This way of feeding a family sounds intriguing, but it is also not an option for us, as we do not even have a farm, and by our township laws, I am pretty sure we couldn’t have even chickens.  I am not sure though, but I do not think our neighbors would not appreciate it, and I don’t wish to aggrivate them!  We have been so blessed with such wonderful neighbors! 

    Your big shop days sound wonderful, although tiring!  I tend to spend 3-4 hours shopping every two weeks.  I like to go to 4 or 5 different stores.  My hubby likes to shop with me, but when he goes, he just wants to go to Wal-Mart and be done with it.  There is a method to my madness though, and I have found that going to several store does save us money.  So, when he is fine with staying home, that is how I do it.  Last time, I did the other stores the day before on my own, and the next day hubby went with us to Wal-Mart to finish up.  It isn’t the most fun, though, taking a 9yo, 7yo, 5yo and almost 3yo shopping! 

    I like your organization.  I am sure that these are things which you have learned, and I appreciate you sharing them with us!  I love to learn from others!  I remember a post which you had in which you shared that you were not always so organized and disciplined.  God has been doing some heavy work in my life to make me learn to be more disciplined and diligent.  Putting the menu on the fridge would definitely make one be more accountable!  I tend to make a menu.  Then, say… today for instance….I would plan on stew.  But perhaps I am late getting it started, might see something more yummy online, or just all-of-a-sudden don’t feel like stew….and I’ll change my mind 5 times before 4:00, at which time I have to make something….Maybe I should post our menu too, that way I wont’ be tempted to change my mind! 

    Well, this is getting lengthy!  I didn’t mean to take up your time!  Thank you for your wonderful posts!  They are very inspiring!

    Best Wishes

    Monique

  • I thought I had seen this book somewhere, probably it was on your blog.  It does sound interesting.  This way of feeding a family sounds intriguing, but it is also not an option for us, as we do not even have a farm, and by our township laws, I am pretty sure we couldn’t have even chickens.  I am not sure though, but I do not think our neighbors would not appreciate it, and I don’t wish to aggrivate them!  We have been so blessed with such wonderful neighbors! 

    Your big shop days sound wonderful, although tiring!  I tend to spend 3-4 hours shopping every two weeks.  I like to go to 4 or 5 different stores.  My hubby likes to shop with me, but when he goes, he just wants to go to Wal-Mart and be done with it.  There is a method to my madness though, and I have found that going to several store does save us money.  So, when he is fine with staying home, that is how I do it.  Last time, I did the other stores the day before on my own, and the next day hubby went with us to Wal-Mart to finish up.  It isn’t the most fun, though, taking a 9yo, 7yo, 5yo and almost 3yo shopping! 

    I like your organization.  I am sure that these are things which you have learned, and I appreciate you sharing them with us!  I love to learn from others!  I remember a post which you had in which you shared that you were not always so organized and disciplined.  God has been doing some heavy work in my life to make me learn to be more disciplined and diligent.  Putting the menu on the fridge would definitely make one be more accountable!  I tend to make a menu.  Then, say… today for instance….I would plan on stew.  But perhaps I am late getting it started, might see something more yummy online, or just all-of-a-sudden don’t feel like stew….and I’ll change my mind 5 times before 4:00, at which time I have to make something….Maybe I should post our menu too, that way I wont’ be tempted to change my mind! 

    Well, this is getting lengthy!  I didn’t mean to take up your time!  Thank you for your wonderful posts!  They are very inspiring!

    Best Wishes

    Monique

  • I’m so glad you addressed their worldview…I struggled a bit with that part and you answered it well.  I read part of the book and found it inspired me to do what I can with the little 1/3 acre I do have.  It’s amazing how much you can do on even a small plot.  I long for the country…..