I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I can't get over how much I loved it. I've read books on sustainable eating before, and I've read Barbara Kingsolver's fiction before, and this book had the best of both worlds. Telling the story of Kingsolver and her family's year of all local eating, this book read like a delicious memoir instead of as a textbook. The descriptions of setting and, of course, of food made this book much more positive than many other sustainable tomes. Rather than primarily a critique of the food industry, this book was mostly a celebration of local food. From endearing stories of gifts of plants to hilarious tales of turkey mating, Kingsolver manages to lend just the right tone to the whole story.
In addition to being just likeable overall, this book taught me a few lessons:
1. Asparagus, though difficult to plant, will grow back every year and signify the coming of spring.
2. If you're ever in Appalachia and someone gives you a plant, don't thank them. Unless of course you want to bring ill fortunes upon the plant.
3. There are chickens that lay multi-colored eggs. Really.
4. In the summer, be very skeptical of anyone who wants to give you squash or zucchini, particularly if you also have your own garden or CSA membership.
5. Acid should be added to tomatoes if you are canning them in a hot water bath because not all varieties have enough acid to make them safe.
6. Making soft cheese is (or at least sounds) fun and easy, and homemade soft cheese have less lactose.
7. It really is impossible to write a food memoir without at some point ending up in Italy (See also my review of Bill Buford's Heat).