Monday, 13 August 2007

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver et al

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Barbara Kingsolver et al
Faber and Faber

NOVELIST Barbara Kingsolver decided to go home to the Virginia mountains and try to feed her family for a year with food grown on the home place, or within 100 miles.

Kingsolver's book about her year's adventure is preachy - skip the first chapter to get to the good stuff - but lyrical. Her descriptions of gardening and cooking with her family make you want to put on the overalls and pick up the hoe.

And her daughter's delicious recipes at the ends of chapters make the book a good buy.

Her clear love and joy in her family is infectious and inspiring.

But as I roamed the supermarket buying my metal-tasting cotton-wool tomatoes and taste-free rocket salad, I wondered how possible Kingsolver's plan would be in Ireland, where local eating would mean goodbye to bananas, oranges, avocadoes - heavens, even wine!

At the same time, she has startling insights - for instance, the way Americans have gone nutty about creationism comes from the fact that they no longer raise crops or livestock, so they don't see evolution in action.

And you have to think, hmmm, if we just had a greenhouse on every farm, how much we could grow locally here. Mangetout grow like weeds. So does rocket. So do tomatoes...

Brilliant, challenging, fascinating, enticing. Don't miss this book.

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