Book Review – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


I have just finished reading the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.  I had seen it mentioned at times on the Simple Savings forum but there was no real detail of what it is about so I had forgotten about it until recently when I finally remembered to download it to my Kindle.

This book was first published in 2007 and documents the attempts of one family to eat mostly local food for a full year.  It is a substantial book and full to the brim with detail and information so is definitely not a light read.  I think I will need to read it a few times to extract the maximum benefit from it.

I found some of the detail quite confronting at times, especially the descriptions of CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) and the harvesting of the chickens and turkeys which they raised for meat.  This is not necessarily a bad thing as it forces us to examine our feelings about how our food is produced.  Out of sight should not mean out of mind.

Although it is written from a North American perspective there are many universal truths for everyone, no matter where you live.  By the time I had finished the book I was inspired with renewed enthusiasm to seek out as much local produce as possible.

During the course of the year, they travelled to Italy and also on a road trip north from Virginia, through Vermont and into Canada.  The local food that they ate and people encountered makes fascinating reading.

I also intend to apply the same principles to the food we eat during our upcoming trip to the USA.  Since we will be in the north-east states during late summer we will have an excellent choice of fresh food.  One of the things we had planned to look for is Farmers’ Markets in the cities and farm gate sales in the more rural areas.  My goal is to eat as much locally-sourced, organic and unpackaged food as possible while we are away but more about that another time.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle contains numerous recipes based on seasonal produce which are also available on their website.

The book contains an engaging mix of passion, theory, humour and science related to a topic which is the essence of every one of us – our food.

I would strongly recommend that you read ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ and take the time to really think about what you are eating and how it came to be on your plate.