Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


Even though my agenda-detection device hummed through the entire course of this work by Barbara Kingsolver, I have to admit, I LOVED it.

What did I love about it? A great deal. In all, I can't argue with much of what Ms. Kingsolver points out in the course of the book. Our present food supply business is dangerously based upon a fragile monoculture that is controlled in large part by several industrial/chemical firms. One case of corn-rust and the food base is demolished.

Secondly, the lack of buying locally damages local farmers and as a result local communities. It imperils a ways of life that has been foundational in the structure of American Society from the founding of this country. But more importantly it does deprive each of us of some of the genuine pleasures that come from seeing a crop grow, of eating from the bounty of that harvest table, food that is freshly brought from the fields.

Thirdly, Kingsolver produces one of the most profound and wise arguments against the Vegan assault on sensibilities I have seen in a long time. That's right, she doesn't even let the vegan's off the hook.

Finally, while Kingsolver is committed to her line of action she is not unsympathetic to the plight of many who cannot afford to live in the way she describes. She is absolutely certain that the way of life she describes is a good one, the right one, and the one that would foster the good of the community and individual--but she doesn't rail against those who disagree or those who would be unable to commit to this much time and energy invested in the raising of food.

The book is a mediation on the miracle of eating with the seasons, of the richness of harvest and of knowing precisely where your food comes from and how it gets to table. It is an intimate history of eating, of food, and of community. There are touching and beautiful moments in the book and hilariously funny ones. One that I haven't mentioned in previous posts is the love-sick turkey who, as a chick imprinted on a human male. You have to read it to get the amusing and touching outcome.

One last point--on my recent trip, I was able to drive through some of the country that Barbara Kingsolver extols in the book, and once again found myself mysteriously drawn to a place that I have no claim on, but which obviously has staked its claim firmly in me. I hope to right more about that later.

In fine--Recommended. For those interested in food and in eating locally and in the slow food movement and in the expansion of the food market--Critical reading. But if you pick it up for any reason at all, just join in the enjoyment of the seasons, in the beauty of the feast, and in the miracle that is the cycle of food and life.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 1, 2007 7:05 AM.

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