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2 Home & Garden Cooking and Food- Sustainable Cooking

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

by and and

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780060852559
ISBN10: 0060852550
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

After 25 years in the Arizona desert, in 2004, Kentucky-bred Barbara Kingsolver moved back to the Appalachians, to a Virginia farm just hours from her childhood home. Family called. "Returning," she explains in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, "would allow my kids more than just a hit-and-run, holiday acquaintance with grandparents and cousins."

But Kingsolver adds, "There is another reason the move felt right to us, and it's the purview of this book. We wanted to live in a place that could feed us: where rain falls, crops grow, and drinking water bubbles right up out of the ground."

The typical food in an American supermarket has traveled considerably farther than some people do in a year of vacations. Consider the impact of those miles on fuel consumption, or the effect that chemical preservatives and industrial processing have on our health, not to mention what this long haul paradigm does to local economies and to our grasp of what food really costs, what food is.

For one year, the author's family pledged to eat only what it could procure from within an hour of its home. Meats, vegetables, grains, you name it.

After eleven previous books — bestselling novels, short stories, essays, and even a volume of poetry — Animal, Vegetable, Miracle marks yet another departure for Kingsolver. Her first full-length nonfiction narrative, and it's a family project besides. Husband Steven Hopp contributes informative sidebars that supplement Kingsolver's narrative and point out sources of additional information. Daughter Camille pens a short personal essay at the end of each chapter, offering seasonal recipes and weekly meal plans. Third-grade Lily starts an egg and poultry business.

"As we come around to being more mindful of our carbon footprint, being more thoughtful about the fuel we use as consumers, food is a natural place to begin," Kingsolver explained a week before publication. "Food is the rare moral arena in which the choice that's best for the world and best for your community is also the best on your table."
Recommended by Dave, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"This may sound like a pretty crunchy read — either a frivolous ecofantasy or an uncomfortable scold aimed at those of us unable or unwilling to raise chickens in our backyards. But rest assured, it's neither. This is largely an informational book, short on plot, and don't expect any deep insights into the Kingsolver-Hopp family. Yet Kingsolver...adds enough texture and zest to stir wistful yearnings in all of us who have 'lost the soul of cooking from [our] routines.'" Marjorie Kehe, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

"As the U.S. population made an unprecedented mad dash for the Sun Belt, one carload of us paddled against the tide, heading for the Promised Land where water falls from the sky and green stuff grows all around. We were about to begin the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain.

"Naturally, our first stop was to buy junk food and fossil fuel...."

Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that's better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet. "This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air."

Review:

"[Signature] Reviewed by Nina Planck Michael Pollan is the crack investigator and graceful narrator of the ecology of local food and the toxic logic of industrial agriculture. Now he has a peer. Novelist Kingsolver recounts a year spent eating home-grown food and, if not that, local. Accomplished gardeners, the Kingsolver clan grow a large garden in southern Appalachia and spend summers 'putting food by,' as the classic kitchen title goes. They make pickles, chutney and mozzarella; they jar tomatoes, braid garlic and stuff turkey sausage. Nine-year-old Lily runs a heritage poultry business, selling eggs and meat. What they don't raise (lamb, beef, apples) comes from local farms. Come winter, they feast on root crops and canned goods, menus slouching toward asparagus. Along the way, the Kingsolver family, having given up industrial meat years before, abandons its vegetarian ways and discovers the pleasures of conscientious carnivory.This field — local food and sustainable agriculture — is crowded with books in increasingly predictable flavors: the earnest manual, diary of an epicure, the environmental battle cry, the accidental gardener. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is all of these, and much smarter. Kingsolver takes the genre to a new literary level; a well-paced narrative and the apparent ease of the beautiful prose makes the pages fly. Her tale is both classy and disarming, substantive and entertaining, earnest and funny. Kingsolver is a moralist ('the conspicuous consumption of limited resources has yet to be accepted widely as a spiritual error, or even bad manners'), but more often wry than pious. Another hazard of the genre is snobbery. You won't find it here. Seldom do paeans to heirloom tomatoes (which I grew up selling at farmers' markets) include equal respect for outstanding modern hybrids like Early Girl.Kingsolver has the ear of a journalist and the accuracy of a naturalist. She makes short, neat work of complex topics: what's risky about the vegan diet, why animals belong on ecologically sound farms, why bitterness in lettuce is good. Kingsolver's clue to help greenhorns remember what's in season is the best I've seen. You trace the harvest by botanical development, from buds to fruits to roots. Kingsolver is not the first to note our national 'eating disorder' and the injuries industrial agriculture wreaks, yet this practical vision of how we might eat instead is as fresh as just-picked sweet corn. The narrative is peppered with useful sidebars on industrial agriculture and ecology (by husband Steven Hopp) and recipes (by daughter Camille), as if to show that local food — in the growing, buying, cooking, eating and the telling — demands teamwork. Nina Planck is the author of Real Food: What to Eat and Why (Bloomsbury USA, 2006)." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"If you've ever been lucky enough to eat a tomato in the middle of summer, while it's still warm from the sun, if you've seen a farmer's market filled with fresh produce and happy people, if you've stopped at a farm stand, even (or especially) if it's just a table at the side of the road, you know the difference between the taste of real food and what's sold at the grocery store. But advocates of locally... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Kingsolver's passionate new tome records in detail a year lived in sync with the season's ebb and flow....Writing with her usual sharp eye for irony, she urges readers to follow her example..." Booklist

Review:

"With...assistance from her husband, Steven, and 19-year-old daughter, Camille, Kingsolver elegantly chronicles a year of back-to-the-land living with her family in Appalachia....Readers frustrated with the unhealthy, artificial food chain will take heart and inspiration here." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[Kingsolver] has now written a big-hearted, tough-minded account of her family's decision 'to step off the nonsustainable food grid.'...." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"[P]art memoir...part call to action, part education, part recipe collection....Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes an important contribution to the chorus of voices calling for change." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"This is largely an informational book....Yet Kingsolver...adds enough texture and zest to stir wistful yearnings in all of us who have 'lost the soul of cooking from [our] routines.'" Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"If you are what you eat, then surely you are also what you read, and so this book offers real nourishment for the soul." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"The book springs to life when Ms. Kingsolver describes special food events, such as growing and eating their own miraculous asparagus." Dallas Morning News

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver's twelve books of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction include the novels The Bean Trees and The Poisonwood Bible. Translated into nineteen languages, her work has won a devoted worldwide readership and many awards, including the National Humanities Medal.

Camille Kingsolver attends Duke University, where she studies biology, anatomy, and dance, and teaches yoga.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 25 comments:

saraevjen, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by saraevjen)
Excellent!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
anonymous1, July 14, 2011 (view all comments by anonymous1)
it sucked.. terribly. horrible. dont EVER read it. i dont know why teachers make kids read this book. teachers are stupid.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 20 readers found this comment helpful)
Kevin McCloskey, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Kevin McCloskey)
I really enjoyed this book. The turkey breeding chapter was hilarious.
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(7 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 25 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060852559
Subtitle:
A Year of Food Life
Author:
Barbara Kingsolver and Camille Kingsolver and Steven L. Hopp
Author:
Kingsolver, Camille
Author:
Portis, Antoinette
Author:
Kingsolver, Barbara
Author:
lle
Author:
Hopp, Steven L.
Author:
Kingsolver, Cami
Author:
by Barbara Kingsolver and Camille Kingsolver
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Food habits
Subject:
Farm life
Subject:
Organic
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Farm life - Appalachian Region, Southern
Subject:
Country life -- Appalachian Region, Southern.
Subject:
School & Education
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20070501
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from PreS to 3
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 8.00 oz
Age Level:
from 4 to 8

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » General
Cooking and Food » Sustainable Cooking
Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Home and Garden » Gardening » Organic Gardening
Home and Garden » Sustainable Living » Food
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Food and Famine

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages HarperCollins - English 9780060852559 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

After 25 years in the Arizona desert, in 2004, Kentucky-bred Barbara Kingsolver moved back to the Appalachians, to a Virginia farm just hours from her childhood home. Family called. "Returning," she explains in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, "would allow my kids more than just a hit-and-run, holiday acquaintance with grandparents and cousins."

But Kingsolver adds, "There is another reason the move felt right to us, and it's the purview of this book. We wanted to live in a place that could feed us: where rain falls, crops grow, and drinking water bubbles right up out of the ground."

The typical food in an American supermarket has traveled considerably farther than some people do in a year of vacations. Consider the impact of those miles on fuel consumption, or the effect that chemical preservatives and industrial processing have on our health, not to mention what this long haul paradigm does to local economies and to our grasp of what food really costs, what food is.

For one year, the author's family pledged to eat only what it could procure from within an hour of its home. Meats, vegetables, grains, you name it.

After eleven previous books — bestselling novels, short stories, essays, and even a volume of poetry — Animal, Vegetable, Miracle marks yet another departure for Kingsolver. Her first full-length nonfiction narrative, and it's a family project besides. Husband Steven Hopp contributes informative sidebars that supplement Kingsolver's narrative and point out sources of additional information. Daughter Camille pens a short personal essay at the end of each chapter, offering seasonal recipes and weekly meal plans. Third-grade Lily starts an egg and poultry business.

"As we come around to being more mindful of our carbon footprint, being more thoughtful about the fuel we use as consumers, food is a natural place to begin," Kingsolver explained a week before publication. "Food is the rare moral arena in which the choice that's best for the world and best for your community is also the best on your table."

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "[Signature] Reviewed by Nina Planck Michael Pollan is the crack investigator and graceful narrator of the ecology of local food and the toxic logic of industrial agriculture. Now he has a peer. Novelist Kingsolver recounts a year spent eating home-grown food and, if not that, local. Accomplished gardeners, the Kingsolver clan grow a large garden in southern Appalachia and spend summers 'putting food by,' as the classic kitchen title goes. They make pickles, chutney and mozzarella; they jar tomatoes, braid garlic and stuff turkey sausage. Nine-year-old Lily runs a heritage poultry business, selling eggs and meat. What they don't raise (lamb, beef, apples) comes from local farms. Come winter, they feast on root crops and canned goods, menus slouching toward asparagus. Along the way, the Kingsolver family, having given up industrial meat years before, abandons its vegetarian ways and discovers the pleasures of conscientious carnivory.This field — local food and sustainable agriculture — is crowded with books in increasingly predictable flavors: the earnest manual, diary of an epicure, the environmental battle cry, the accidental gardener. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is all of these, and much smarter. Kingsolver takes the genre to a new literary level; a well-paced narrative and the apparent ease of the beautiful prose makes the pages fly. Her tale is both classy and disarming, substantive and entertaining, earnest and funny. Kingsolver is a moralist ('the conspicuous consumption of limited resources has yet to be accepted widely as a spiritual error, or even bad manners'), but more often wry than pious. Another hazard of the genre is snobbery. You won't find it here. Seldom do paeans to heirloom tomatoes (which I grew up selling at farmers' markets) include equal respect for outstanding modern hybrids like Early Girl.Kingsolver has the ear of a journalist and the accuracy of a naturalist. She makes short, neat work of complex topics: what's risky about the vegan diet, why animals belong on ecologically sound farms, why bitterness in lettuce is good. Kingsolver's clue to help greenhorns remember what's in season is the best I've seen. You trace the harvest by botanical development, from buds to fruits to roots. Kingsolver is not the first to note our national 'eating disorder' and the injuries industrial agriculture wreaks, yet this practical vision of how we might eat instead is as fresh as just-picked sweet corn. The narrative is peppered with useful sidebars on industrial agriculture and ecology (by husband Steven Hopp) and recipes (by daughter Camille), as if to show that local food — in the growing, buying, cooking, eating and the telling — demands teamwork. Nina Planck is the author of Real Food: What to Eat and Why (Bloomsbury USA, 2006)." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "This may sound like a pretty crunchy read — either a frivolous ecofantasy or an uncomfortable scold aimed at those of us unable or unwilling to raise chickens in our backyards. But rest assured, it's neither. This is largely an informational book, short on plot, and don't expect any deep insights into the Kingsolver-Hopp family. Yet Kingsolver...adds enough texture and zest to stir wistful yearnings in all of us who have 'lost the soul of cooking from [our] routines.'" (read the entire CSM review)
"Review" by , "Kingsolver's passionate new tome records in detail a year lived in sync with the season's ebb and flow....Writing with her usual sharp eye for irony, she urges readers to follow her example..."
"Review" by , "With...assistance from her husband, Steven, and 19-year-old daughter, Camille, Kingsolver elegantly chronicles a year of back-to-the-land living with her family in Appalachia....Readers frustrated with the unhealthy, artificial food chain will take heart and inspiration here."
"Review" by , "[Kingsolver] has now written a big-hearted, tough-minded account of her family's decision 'to step off the nonsustainable food grid.'...."
"Review" by , "[P]art memoir...part call to action, part education, part recipe collection....Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes an important contribution to the chorus of voices calling for change."
"Review" by , "This is largely an informational book....Yet Kingsolver...adds enough texture and zest to stir wistful yearnings in all of us who have 'lost the soul of cooking from [our] routines.'"
"Review" by , "If you are what you eat, then surely you are also what you read, and so this book offers real nourishment for the soul."
"Review" by , "The book springs to life when Ms. Kingsolver describes special food events, such as growing and eating their own miraculous asparagus."
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