Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

#5.  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver

If you’re one of the two individuals who haven’t heard anything about Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, let me explain the premise to you.  Basically Kingsolver and her family – husband and two daughters – decided to spend an entire year eating only food they either grew (or raised, in the case of eggs and poultry) themselves or bought locally (within 80 miles or so).  This book is partly Kingsolver’s memoir of that experience, partly nonfiction regarding lots of different issues about food and where it comes from, how it’s grown/raised, etc., and partly recipes and ideas for how you as an individual can adopt SOME of what they did in your own life. 

I found this book very interesting.  Kingsolver goes into a lot of detail about how important it is to get food from local sources whenever possible, and gives many, many reasons why going local may not be as difficult an idea as some may think – but never, ever comes across as preachy.  In other food books I have come across, the author always seems to be trying to convince the reader of something, but I really didn’t find that to be the case in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – which was so refreshing.  The book came across as the family honestly wanting to share their experiences with the reader, not convert everyone into locavores overnight or scare everybody away from “Big Food”. 

I loved that Kingsolver’s husband Steven and oldest daughter Camille were both involved in the book – Steven put together some educational pieces and Camille shared recipes, food tips, and some of her own experiences being a college student and trying to eat as healthfully and locally as possible.  Both Steven and Camille added an extra something to the book that made it that more readable and relatable.

Also, I listened to this book in the car and I have to say I highly recommend this as an audiobook.  It paces very well for long drives, and the best part is that Kingsolver actually narrated the entire thing herself.  I loved that!  It made me feel like the experience was so personal, like she was actually telling me herself about it isntead of someone else reading it to me.  Also, Steven and Camille narrated their parts themselves which helped the listener really get to know them too.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle really inspired me.  I am not going to start gardening anytime soon (for starters, I don’t have anything resembling a yard) but I am thinking much more about what exactly goes into my food and where it came from.  I am trying to be more concious of where I spend my money – but I realized that it’s a lot more important to think about what organizations the money I spend is supporting, and I’d rather support a smaller, organic company than a huge one that cramms their fruits and veggies full of pesticides to get them through a several days long journey to my grocery store.  The book also inspired me to look into farm-raised or free-range meat products whenever possible.  I don’t have the best grocery stores around me (think Super Wal-Mart) but I am willing to drive a little further if possible to support companies that treat their animals humanely.  Last, I am absolutely going to search for farmer’s markets this spring and summer when they come around again.  I know they exist around me, I just don’t know where and when.  But I definitely plan to find out.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracleis fantastic and it really taught me a lot.  If you care at all about where your food comes from, or just like memoirs, or just like Kingsolver, it’s definitely the book for you. 🙂

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14 thoughts on “Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”

  1. This book inspired me too. I ordered a cheesemaking kit from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company and have made mozzarella several times. It’s easy to do and the cheese is delicious.

  2. First off let me just say that this review ROCKED!! This has been on my list to read for a while because I totally loved the Poisonwood Bible. After reading that you recommended it as an audio really motivated me to request it from my library. I am really looking forward to hearing this book from Kingsolver herself.

  3. I guess different people hear tone differently. I also “read” the audiobook and found the early part of the book to be a little preachy. But it got better as it went along, and it did inspire me to get a bread maker. (Fresh bread. Yum!)

  4. I’m glad you were inspired by this book. It inspired me too, particularly to expand my garden. But unlike you, I did find it quite preachy in some places, and I ended up putting down the book for long stretches at a time because of that. It was the book I took the longest time to finish last year!

  5. I’ve heard so many great things about this book. We garden and can a lot around here, so I think I’d really enjoy it. Thanks for posting the review!

  6. A couple of ways I’ve tried to practice eating locally: I do garden, but I’m not very good at it, what I have been able to do well (and it doesn’t take much space) are herbs. Anyone can grow them and not buying bunches of herbs in the store is a cost savings. I also started having a box of organic, local fruits and veggies delivered to my door weekly. I open my door on Monday morning, look through my box and plan my meals for the week.

  7. This sounds like a great book from an author that, up until now, I didn’t really enjoy reading all that much! I also think that its important for the general public to realize that it doesn’t take a whole lot of extra money or time, and that not just the rich and famous can “go green”, such as shopping locally and trying to eat organically. I’m glad there is a book out there that can inspire all of us to live a bit better!

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