Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
I finished reading the book ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ a few days ago, one of things which inspired me to increase our garden from five 4’x4′ vegetable garden beds to eight. The three new beds are fully above-ground with a plywood base sitting on part of the gravel where I had been parking my car. There is room for two more beds, but then I wouldn’t even be able to park my car there in a pinch. I’m excited, as I planted garlic and shallots today, which will establish their root system over the winter, and develop a proper planty part in the spring.
As for the book, it is essentially 4 books in one, and I had a different attitude about each element of the book.
- On one extreme, the book includes significant “preachy” content about the (completely genuine) horrors that CAFO’s make our meat, and the legitimate concerns about a society which values everything ripe at all times, no matter the fuel required to enjoy asparagus in December. This is important info, but I don’t enjoy the constant reminders.
- Another element is a genuine narrative about their lives. I did not find this especially interesting, but it did tie the story together.
- The most compelling part for me is the detailed recount of the actual process required to grow your own food for a year, or source it from your community. I enjoyed learning about their experiences raising (and processing) chickens and turkeys, learning to make mozzarella, finding suprising spring foods at the farmers market and the details of a large near-sustinance farming experiment.
- There were also excerpts from her daughter, whichprovided short stories from an alternate perspective, followed by some recipes that follow the seasons appropriately. I made some dried tomatoes following one of the recipes, and will try to make a sundried tomato pesto sometime after fresh tomatoes are no longer outside and at the farmers market.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but enjoy more the rejuvenated entusiasm in my own garden.