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Book club: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

post #1 of 107
Thread Starter 
Is anyone else reading this now? I got it for my birthday (the first birthday gift of this year!), and I'm currently on chapter 6. I'd love to discuss it with other people, since my husband just smiles & nods when I read him excerpts,
post #2 of 107
I would love to, if only I could get my hands on a library copy! I've been waiting forever for my turn in the queue.

If it ever becomes available, I'll be back!
post #3 of 107
I just finished it a couple days ago. I loved it!

I would love to discuss--but I am one of those in-one-eye-out-the-other readers so my memory is not that great.

It's adding a new dimension to my sense of ethical eating. Today I wrestled with the idea of buying bananas. I didn't buy them. . . . But I so love bananas . . . . I bought 4 lbs of local tomatoes instead, and started drying them, using BK's suggestion.
post #4 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post
I just finished it a couple days ago. I loved it!

I would love to discuss--but I am one of those in-one-eye-out-the-other readers so my memory is not that great.

It's adding a new dimension to my sense of ethical eating. Today I wrestled with the idea of buying bananas. I didn't buy them. . . . But I so love bananas . . . . I bought 4 lbs of local tomatoes instead, and started drying them, using BK's suggestion.
I'm also wrestling with bananas (how's that for a mental image?). When we go to Trader Joe's (it's 7 blocks away, we're there every 2-3 days), my son eats an organic banana while we shop, to keep him occupied and content and so he's not asking for every.little.thing. Do I continue doing that and continue promoting produce from Ecuador and wherever else, or do I risk Toddler Wrath™ and tell him "no banana today, honey, sorry"? It's a tough call!
post #5 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennnk View Post
When we go to Trader Joe's (it's 7 blocks away, we're there every 2-3 days), my son eats an organic banana while we shop, to keep him occupied and content and so he's not asking for every.little.thing. Do I continue doing that and continue promoting produce from Ecuador and wherever else, or do I risk Toddler Wrath™ and tell him "no banana today, honey, sorry"? It's a tough call!
When I was walking around my store which must not be named, looking at all the produce that had come long distances, I kept wondering why they didn't sell more local produce, especially at this time of year. I'm sure supply can be patchy, and prices might be slightly higher, but for heaven's sake, it tastes better!

That stuff at the farm stand is so much fresher and tastier. My DH and I almost swooned with ecstasy when we ate a local canteloupe a few weeks ago.

Does TJ's sell local products when possible? I wonder if there's something you could give your son instead of the organic banana. But bananas are relatively clean and easily eaten. A local peach, for example, is pretty juicy and messy.
post #6 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post
When I was walking around my store which must not be named, looking at all the produce that had come long distances, I kept wondering why they didn't sell more local produce, especially at this time of year. I'm sure supply can be patchy, and prices might be slightly higher, but for heaven's sake, it tastes better!

That stuff at the farm stand is so much fresher and tastier. My DH and I almost swooned with ecstasy when we ate a local canteloupe a few weeks ago.

Does TJ's sell local products when possible? I wonder if there's something you could give your son instead of the organic banana. But bananas are relatively clean and easily eaten. A local peach, for example, is pretty juicy and messy.
We live in Washington, there are a TON of farms around here, yet all the conventional stores have grapes from chile, tomatoes from CA, etc. It makes no sense, the only thing from WA are the apples, TJ's at least has more American produce than the other stores. I also need to make a more firm commitment to the neighborhood farmer's market. She makes such good points about their role in the community, and ours is actually held at a reasonable time of day/week (3-7 on Thursdays). I did the math on our food stamps benefits, after reading that bit about how in some states you get only $1/person/meal, and we get 61CENTS per person per meal! I need to talk to the local farmers about meat & eggs, too, because I don't even trust the "organic" stuff from Safeway anymore.
post #7 of 107
I finished reading that book about a couple of months ago, so my memory isn't fresh but I would love to discuss it. I will just have to pull my copy off of the book shelf.

I was so inspired to eat local that we have made a huge effort all summer long to only eat out of our garden or from the farmer's market. It has been a challenge, I will say that I struggled with what to do about bananas as they are a staple at my house and we can't give them up.
post #8 of 107
Is it possible that someday, a banana in my house will seem as wasteful and silly as . . . say, disposable menstrual products?

One thing that really struck me was the idea that in many ways, we are still acting like June Cleaver is still at home, cooking and cleaning, while the rest of us are off doing other things. I sure wish June was at my house!

What did you think about the parts about local meat, eggs, and dairy products?
post #9 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post
What did you think about the parts about local meat, eggs, and dairy products?
I think she makes important points, though it's not news that factory-farmed animals aren't treated well. Unfortunately, that IS one part of eating local that is significantly more expensive in this area than other things. A dozen eggs from the farm where we used to have a CSA share is $3.25. A dozen eggs from Trader Joe's - cage free eggs, at that - are $1.19. Now she does make the point that advertising on these things is misleading ("free range" my behind!), but I believe Trader Joe's sets higher standards than most stores and I'm willing to trust them, especially since so much of the dairy is rbst-free.
post #10 of 107
I read it a few months ago. It has changed the way I think about food. I'm still in the mostly thinking stage, but I'm working up to the doing stage, I hope.
post #11 of 107
I jsut finished the book recently. Though much of what she said was not new to me, it did put it all together very nicely and made me THINK about what I already KNOW. I'm working on changing my eating habits slowly but surely. I was pretty much all organic and all of my meat/dairy was free range, hormone free, wild caught, etc. I did not think so much about local produce however. Now I am

Subbing. I would love to discuss this further.

Sage
post #12 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennnk View Post
I think she makes important points, though it's not news that factory-farmed animals aren't treated well. Unfortunately, that IS one part of eating local that is significantly more expensive in this area than other things. A dozen eggs from the farm where we used to have a CSA share is $3.25. A dozen eggs from Trader Joe's - cage free eggs, at that - are $1.19. Now she does make the point that advertising on these things is misleading ("free range" my behind!), but I believe Trader Joe's sets higher standards than most stores and I'm willing to trust them, especially since so much of the dairy is rbst-free.
Yeah, what was Lily selling a dozen eggs for in the book? $2.50? That's out of reach for many people. It bothers me that prices for the unhealthiest (for human consumption and often for communities) are kept artificially low.
post #13 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post
Yeah, what was Lily selling a dozen eggs for in the book? $2.50? That's out of reach for many people. It bothers me that prices for the unhealthiest (for human consumption and often for communities) are kept artificially low.
Yeah, $2.50 was the lowest she could go & still turn a decent profit.

The point they made about how much we pay for subsidizing monolithic farms through taxes was a good one, but I don't really "see" that money leaving, you know? I SEE an extra $2.06 leaving my wallet when I pay $3.25 for eggs that are otherwise $1.19. It's making me a little ill to think of all these farms of corn & nothing else, and all these millions of tons of pesticides and for what? So bugs can get stronger and ruin twice as many crops as they did 60 years ago? Ugh. At least I woke my brother up to the Monsanto seed thing; I'm hoping they get next year's seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or something similar, instead of the usual Territorial.
post #14 of 107
This book really influenced me and changed our summer. I have been taking the kids to pick-your-own farms regularly; we grew a few things in our yard; we've gone to the farmers marked every Saturday; and we even caught and ate our own fish from a nearby lake!!!! I would say that since late June, we've been eating 80-90% local.

The problem is figuring out what to do when Ohio's relatively short growing season is over. Soon it'll be all apples and squash, but then what? I do not know how to can and I don't know if a food dehydrator would really be a worthwhile investment for our family. We've put away a few freezer bags of berries, and I'm planning on making and freezing some tomato sauce, but once winter comes, I have a feeling it'll just be impossible to try to eat local.


One thing that really bugs me is fish. I have begun looking to see where the fish in the grocery store comes from. Almost all the tilapia comes from China (WHY? Tilapia is so easy to raise!!!) and they sell other fish from Russia, Vietnam, etc. We need to be taking care of our waters and eating fish out of our own regions. Or at least our own continent!

Another annoying thing: my local corporate chain grocer has started advertising local produce. You walk in the door and you see a sign: "We proudly support Ohio farms!" Great! They ususally have a few items. But at the eame time, they have this produce display under a big sign that says, "A A Taste of New Zealand!" and they have all these fruits from NZ. Hello???? Ohio is always claiming Johnny Appleseed as our own, yet we're selling APPLES from halfway around the world in the grocery stores?

We have CSA's in the growing season. I think it would be awesome if a few people with some business experience and skill in the kitchen could get together and figure out how to do something similar in the winter. Like, during the summer and fall, they could make soups, casseroles, desserts, etc. out of locally grown produce, and then freeze or can their culinary creations, and then in the winter, they could provide their subscribers with these prepared foods.
post #15 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Pickle View Post
This book really influenced me and changed our summer. I have been taking the kids to pick-your-own farms regularly; we grew a few things in our yard; we've gone to the farmers marked every Saturday; and we even caught and ate our own fish from a nearby lake!!!! I would say that since late June, we've been eating 80-90% local.

The problem is figuring out what to do when Ohio's relatively short growing season is over. Soon it'll be all apples and squash, but then what? I do not know how to can and I don't know if a food dehydrator would really be a worthwhile investment for our family. We've put away a few freezer bags of berries, and I'm planning on making and freezing some tomato sauce, but once winter comes, I have a feeling it'll just be impossible to try to eat local.


One thing that really bugs me is fish. I have begun looking to see where the fish in the grocery store comes from. Almost all the tilapia comes from China (WHY? Tilapia is so easy to raise!!!) and they sell other fish from Russia, Vietnam, etc. We need to be taking care of our waters and eating fish out of our own regions. Or at least our own continent!

Another annoying thing: my local corporate chain grocer has started advertising local produce. You walk in the door and you see a sign: "We proudly support Ohio farms!" Great! They ususally have a few items. But at the eame time, they have this produce display under a big sign that says, "A A Taste of New Zealand!" and they have all these fruits from NZ. Hello???? Ohio is always claiming Johnny Appleseed as our own, yet we're selling APPLES from halfway around the world in the grocery stores?

We have CSA's in the growing season. I think it would be awesome if a few people with some business experience and skill in the kitchen could get together and figure out how to do something similar in the winter. Like, during the summer and fall, they could make soups, casseroles, desserts, etc. out of locally grown produce, and then freeze or can their culinary creations, and then in the winter, they could provide their subscribers with these prepared foods.
She makes canning and cheesemongering sound so easy I want to try both. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, they sell wild caught Alaskan salmon, and I believe all their other fish is domestic, too. Not Ohioan, but closer than China. Check thrift stores for food dehydrators - they're like bread makers & waffle irons, everyone gets one as a wedding gift and then gets rid of it 10 years later after never using it,

I LOVE the idea of CSA-style casseroles & canned goods. Pickles, canned beans, fresh canned fruit (no heavy syrup!), etc. I know some places have "canning parties" at community kitchens - bring your own produce & jars, and you get a lesson. See if you have something like that in your area. My mom has never canned, but she makes AMAZING freezer jam, it's super simple, she learned from a library book. She has so many tomatoes this year that she has to learn how to can, otherwise it'll all go to waste!

I'm lucky to live in Seattle and have all this stuff close by, but the price is prohibitive. Seriously, fish at farmer's market is twice what it is in the store, bread (which I could make myself if I got off my lazy butt) is $4 per loaf, etc. I know they need to make a living, but if I bought everything local, I'd be living under the Fremont bridge! And while I have signed up for a community garden plot, the waiting list is 2 years long. In the meantime, we have no balcony, cats that eat every plant we try to grow in the windowsill, and a toddler who'd dig in the dirt of large pots (that are SO expensive anyway, why is that?) if we put them on the floor. I love the accessibility of everything in the city, the public transportation system, etc., but rural living is looking nicer and nicer the more I think about this issue. Too bad I'd go crazy without a library within walking distance (TWO when our neighborhood branch reopens), a yarn shop up the street, and a TJ's around the corner. *sigh*
post #16 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennnk View Post
She makes canning and cheesemongering sound so easy I want to try both. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, they sell wild caught Alaskan salmon, and I believe all their other fish is domestic, too. Not Ohioan, but closer than China. Check thrift stores for food dehydrators - they're like bread makers & waffle irons, everyone gets one as a wedding gift and then gets rid of it 10 years later after never using it,
Yeah, I even wanted to try making my own cheese, and that's really saying something. I did, however, make two attempts at making our own yogurt for omnivorous DH. (No luck so far.)

If you don't find a dehydrator, you can use your oven at a very low temperature. (I borrowed a dehydrator from a friend. jennk is right--my friend hadn't used hers in years.) Or even better, you can just spread things out on cookie sheets and cover with fine screen (maybe cheesecloth would work, too) to keep the bugs off, and put them in the sun. Things don't have to be totally dehydrated; in fact, they're better if they're not! When they're kind of dried out, flash freeze them on a cookie sheet, and then combine them in a freezer bag or container and put them in the freezer. I've already done some local tomatoes that way.
post #17 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post
Yeah, I even wanted to try making my own cheese, and that's really saying something. I did, however, make two attempts at making our own yogurt for omnivorous DH. (No luck so far.)

If you don't find a dehydrator, you can use your oven at a very low temperature. (I borrowed a dehydrator from a friend. jennk is right--my friend hadn't used hers in years.) Or even better, you can just spread things out on cookie sheets and cover with fine screen (maybe cheesecloth would work, too) to keep the bugs off, and put them in the sun. Things don't have to be totally dehydrated; in fact, they're better if they're not! When they're kind of dried out, flash freeze them on a cookie sheet, and then combine them in a freezer bag or container and put them in the freezer. I've already done some local tomatoes that way.
you can also use the oven to dehydrate stuff, or so I've read online. I haven't tried it yet.

Making my own yogurt is another adventure I want to try, esp. since Andy loves it so much but it's quite expensive here (50-60c per 6oz. container or $3 for the 32 oz. unflavored goat yogurt, which they don't have in individual containers) and I'm trying to reduce how much plastic we bring in. Our own yogurt in glass jars would be awesome.
post #18 of 107
Thank you for the idea about where to find a food dehydrator! I get to place a free ad in my local paper, so maybe I'll try that first, then thrift stores.

And thanks for the idea about the canning parties. I think that's something I could work on.
post #19 of 107
glad I found this subforum! Just finished the book & really enjoyed it, more than I thought I would. I saw a talk she gave on cspan book tv (with slides & all) so I almost thought I didn't need to read it. But I would have missed alot, especially the points she makes about American food culture (or lack thereof). And of course, she's a wonderful writer.
Now, I just want to figure out how to get myself to enjoy cooking as much as I enjoy gardening, and I'll be all set!
I think my definition of "local" will have to be eastern US tho. Our farms are all drying up here in the SE & the pickings are getting slim. So sad! I want to get a freezer & get some local, natural meat tho.
Anyone else affected bythe drought?
post #20 of 107
Yay, so happy to see this thread! I'll be back to discuss later. I bought my first "local" chickens raised on pasture last week.
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