Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Redux

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As I anticipated, there is a heckuva a lot of agenda in the book. However, I find most of the agenda congenial. Because I've grown increasingly suspicious of anything that represents itself as "non-fiction" there are some facts I would like to check out--particularly things like whether a patent on a genotype gives you the right to shut down nearby farming operations into which your patented genes have dispersed by air. If so, we all have a lot to be concerned about with the control of the eight basic crops in the hands of only four companies.

But I've also grown used to the fact that a specific wildly idiotic example is held up as the universal practice. I'm also suspicious of unquoted sources and innuendo.

Set that aside, the journey of a family to start to become part of the natural year and to eat as nature's table sets the banquet is utterly fascinating and often very, very amusing. Even if all of the political and agenda-driven stuff does not pan out, I think I will end up enjoying this book enormously.

Interesting to read this opposite Dante's Inferno in which we have a graphic representation of what happens to those who think only about their guts and what goes into them. Really, a very fine pairing, the two bring out the flavors of each other. The entree of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and the fine wine of Inferno.

I do suspect that Erik, amongst others would have strong sympathies with some of the ideas expressed in the book. (Eating tomatoes out of season, for example.)

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I have been hearing about the patented pollen stuff for years, but almost always from those who like to breathlessly tell one about the latest conspiracy, the latest thing that is not at all what it seems, and the nefarious fellows who control it all. I do seem to vaguely recall reading about some case in Canada, but as a hardened Canadaphobe, I don't think I really cared much one way or the other. In fact, since it was an American seed company, I probably rooted for them.

I am sick and tired of food ethics books. There are some good ones, but for the most part, you get to wade through all sorts of secular neo-puritan blather, psuedoscience, inept cultural anthropology, public hand wringing - no, it transcends that - it is a display of moral superiority (on dubious grounds) masking as guilt, all being heralded by trumpets. My, what large tassels these Vegans have!

But, of course, I maintain that eating seasonally and locally (which I am still doing, in spite of my ongoing effort to raise my carbon footprint - I buy more imported water and tropical fruit), is the best way to go for price and taste. Small farms, particularly those who eschew pesticides, take better care of their produce and get better results. I don't give a fig for pesticide residues, unless I can taste them, which I can't, so that means that you can't, either.

I am on my last couple of weeks of tomatoes, and am paying 40 cents a pound (I go to the farm to pick them, though, but it is only fifteen minutes away, and we have fun) for vine-ripened, sweet, juicy, flavorful tomatoes. At the end of the season, until next July, to get a bland tomato, I would have to pay $3.50 a pound (maybe not, I am never in the off-season tomato market, but to pay $1.50 would be too much).

Dear Erik,

All of which points Me. Kingsolver makes--flavor, family, health, and taste. (Health in the sense of freshness, etc.) And yes, she does touch on the other things--all of which I think are interesting, some of which just happen to coincide with my own interests (patents and trademarks) and some of which are just not of interest. But the core of the book is why eating locally, raising your own food, and really cooking and having dinners are good practices for all who can pursue them in a non-perjorative way.

In other words, while you come from opposite ends of the spectrum, a heckuva a lot of your rhetoric is very, very similar. Horrifying, isn't it?



I can't afford to eat fruit and vegetables _now_. I really hate to think how little I'd eat if these rules were instituted, unless there were a hydroponic greenhouse in every Ohio basement.

(One not dedicated to marijuana, that is. That kind is apparently far too common, but easily detected by analyzing suspects' energy bills.)

Of course, I can't really afford meat, bread, or any other food either, and I'm always too tired to cook safely on a stove. (One hand put directly down on a burner was enough.) If it weren't for artificial preservatives and fast food, I wouldn't be able to eat.

I should be a nun. Nuns get to eat food. They get to sleep, too. Me for the luxurious nun lifestyle.

Dear Maureen,

Anecdotally for my region, I've found that it is as expensive or inexpensive to eat either way. When I go to the organic citrus farm nearby I pay a little less than I pay to buy California Oranges (ewwww!--comment refer only to oranges for export--I'm sure in state they may be almost as good as Florida's) in the grocery store. But that's not true everywhere.

And, of course, not everyone is called to the same way--which is one of the things I like about Kingsolver's book--I can admire what she does and even want to emulate it without feeling like a brute if I don't.

Mr. Dreher, as I note above, doesn't leave me that option.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 2, 2007 9:00 AM.

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