Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Thanks to my recent time spent in various airports, I was able to finish this excellent book.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover

It's about a family who challenges themselves to eat only from their garden or local sources for one year. The book Chronicles the family's adventures as they move to a rural farm in West Virginia and begin to grow their own produce, raise turkeys and chickens, forage for merkles, cook meals from scratch and can vegetables for winter time.

Kingslover started this project as a testament to the locavore movement. She talks a lot about her moral obligation to eating locally, supporting our environment and local economies, preserving farm culture, heirloom plants and heritage breeds of livestock. And yes, I totally back all of that. I do! But I'm equally fascinated with this book because of my obsession for good food and self sufficiency.

Over the years, I've had many lofty goals, fleeting hobbies and intended career paths, but my interests usually fade before I'm able to get anywhere. If I'm not being lazy, I'm terribly indecisive. It seems as though the only exception is food. I put a lot of work into what I eat, and I've never gotten tired of it. I guess that is why making meals from scratch (or from seed, even) is so satisfying and therapeutic. I'm able to start from the beginning, actually follow through and have something to show for it. Something delicious. In other realms of my life ... not so much. It's harder, more complicated. I guess I'm saying, I want to grow, process and cook my own meals ... because it is easier. Do I sound insane? It depends on how you look at it. For me, it's like a fast-track to fulfillment. I know a homemade life is not for everyone, but I am really enjoying it. And I think I am good at it.

So basically, this book captures precisely what I would like to do. Eventually. In the meantime, our little garden must suffice. Thankfully, the book did remind me to take advantage of the season's last opportunities to accomplish some nerdly, food related projects. Before fall arrives, I'd like to gather up the last of summer's produce and store it away in the form of sauces, salsas and jams.

  • I would like to make and freeze some of this tomato sauce and this pesto.
  • The Made From Scratch Challenge this week is fresh pasta. Coinsedence?
  • Also, I might as well make some fresh mozzarella while I'm at it. (There's also a recipe in Kingslover's book, courtesy of the Cheese Queen.)
  • I think I'll give fermentation another try: easy cucumber pickles.
  • It's about time to finally use our new food dehydrator on some fresh tomatoes and peaches.


  1. i agree with you... i would love to be able to do what kingslover did. it's not for everyone but it sounds pretty dreamy to me.

    glad you made the sauce!

  2. that would be amazing. makes me want to sell everything i own and move to montana or something. unless that's not good farm land . . hmmm . .

  3. I've seen this book several times & heard so many good things about it. Must add it to my reading list =)

  4. Kelly & Raena - perhaps we should consider starting our own little commune? Haha

    Claire- I definitely recommend it! I was very inspired.

  5. Kelly & Raena - perhaps we should consider starting our own little commune? Haha

    Claire- I definitely recommend it! I was very inspired.


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