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Book club: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Page 2

post #21 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralWoman View Post
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?
there's a drought? lol I'm in Seattle. It rained yesterday and again today and probably will again tomorrow. Not making light, just I really know nothing about climate in other parts of the country - I saw something about Hurricane Fxxxx and I thought "we're on the 6th one already?"

How about this: you do the gardening, I'll do the cooking. I have all these romantic notions about a yard and a garden, and then I remember the overwatering of the ivy & the underwatering of the cactus. *sigh*

The points she makes about American food culture ARE really good - she says we define it kind of as the lack of ethnicity, and I'd never realized that before. I'd grown up eating Americanized Italian food (heavy on the ricotta & sauces, light on the veggies) alongside traditional family recipes (calzone to DIE for, AMAZING manicotti, etc.).

Funny story about American food culture in my own experience: I went to a Chinese restaurant, the typical small-university-town kind of place that, inexplicably, also has cheeseburgers on the menu, in addition to the non-authentic "Chinese" foods that Americans have come to think of as Chinese. I went with George (who was my boyfriend at the time), his mom, and her boyfriend, as they'd just helped us move into our first apartment together. What did MIL's boyfriend order? At a Chinese restaurant? A grilled cheese sandwich. I WISH I were joking.

Does anyone else get ribbed by family about dietary choices? My mother SWEARS that organic food gives her stomach aches and rolls her eyes when I remind her that we limit dairy (Andy's growing out of a sensitivity) and I have to remind her time & again that eggs are not dairy.
post #22 of 107
Just joining in...I'm about half-way through the book now (believe it or not, my library had a copy on the shelf!) and completely inspired! I've been making an effort to eat local for a few months now, but now am even more passionate about it. I've been researhing local sources for veggies/fruit, meat, dairy and have been faithfully buying from the farm stands and farmers markets each week. That said, it's also sort of overwhelming, especially with a picky toddler and limited resources. Like, I'm having a heckuva time finding local, pastured chicken although we're surrounded by (factory) chicken farms here : Sometimes I just have to put the book down for a while because it makes me : thinking about all the implications of eating a simple meal!

Oh, have you all seen www.foodroutes.org? I know about Local Harvest, but hadn't seen this site til recently...I saw the link listed in Nina Planck's book 'Real Food'....there's a buy local 'challenge' there among other interesting reads.
post #23 of 107
I read this on my vacation two weeks ago, and really loved it. I have been spending a lot of weekend time at the farmers market this summer, and the book just opened me up to buying things that are out of the box for me (like the fresh lima beans on the cover of the book!).

I will also admit that, thought I KNOW tomatoes have a season, it never really occurred to me that buying them all year round is kind of crazy, and that I might not like salad because the salad I make in NJ in December just tastes crappy--not because I don't like veggies.

I'll be curious to see how I'm able to sustain the local eating through winter...
post #24 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
I will also admit that, thought I KNOW tomatoes have a season, it never really occurred to me that buying them all year round is kind of crazy, and that I might not like salad because the salad I make in NJ in December just tastes crappy--not because I don't like veggies.
I had this epiphany, too--some foods I knew would taste awful if bought from a grocery store at certain times of year; corn on the cob, for example, I would never dare buy except from the farmer's market or farm stand. But I have been known to buy some things out of season and then wonder why they weren't any good.:

Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
I'll be curious to see how I'm able to sustain the local eating through winter...
Yeah, I have this same concern. I'm in a mad dash to preserve as much food as I can now! (And I'm a total food-preservation novice.)
post #25 of 107
$2.50 might sound like a lot for a dozen eggs but when you consider how much better they taste and how much more nutrition they have, not to mention that the hens are treated better and the transport didn't contribute to global warming - it's really not expensive. Also - you are getting 12 eggs - that's enough for a couple of meals. Many people spend more than that on a coffee drink or to rent a video.
post #26 of 107
We started a local eating group here - called SLOcavores (we're in SLO county). WE had a potluch where everybody brought a dish made with local ingredients- but it was surprising how hard it was to do completely - we don't have any grains grown local or salt or spices.
post #27 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathe View Post
$2.50 might sound like a lot for a dozen eggs but when you consider how much better they taste and how much more nutrition they have, not to mention that the hens are treated better and the transport didn't contribute to global warming - it's really not expensive. Also - you are getting 12 eggs - that's enough for a couple of meals. Many people spend more than that on a coffee drink or to rent a video.
You're absolutely right, cathe. My kids like hard-boiled eggs, so I think it's great when I can give them both a healthy, filling snack that was produced locally and ethically for a total of 50 cents.
post #28 of 107
Oh, and I made my first pot of tomato sauce, and it didn't turn out so well. I tried to cut the acid with a little bit of sugar, but it ended up both acidic and too sweet. Any ideas? What's your secret ingredient for tomato sauce? (we'll eat what I made anyway, but next time I'd like it to be better!)
post #29 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathe View Post
$2.50 might sound like a lot for a dozen eggs but when you consider how much better they taste and how much more nutrition they have, not to mention that the hens are treated better and the transport didn't contribute to global warming - it's really not expensive. Also - you are getting 12 eggs - that's enough for a couple of meals. Many people spend more than that on a coffee drink or to rent a video.
We go through a half-dozen every time we make breakfast. I swear, my kid has a hollow leg. If we add veggies & cheese to it, we can cut it down to 4, but only if we have toast & fruit, too. Given we're on a food stamp allowance that comes out to 61c per person per meal, I have to cut corners where I can, and that means (unfortunately), getting the cheaper eggs. I wish it didn't come to that, because I know that nutrition and taste mean a lot, but when you have to make that money stretch, you do what you must.
post #30 of 107
Jen,
It' true. Whether something is expensive or not is always relative. Thanks for reminding me of that.
post #31 of 107
Jen - I understand - hope I didn't sound jugemental. Eggs are a sensitive thing with me - we have hens and I know how expensive it is to feed them - and I get so upset about the way factory farmed chickens are raised just so they can produce them cheaply. I get a bit emotional about it.
post #32 of 107
So happy to see this thread! I finished the book and while I don't think I'll be able to do even close to what the author did I think I can emulate a lot. I go to the farmer's market religiously. And today a friend of mine shared her tomato bounty with me in exchange for the labor involved in making and canning salsa! We made about 12 pints - it tastes delicious and felt so good. We may do sauce in a few weeks.

Personally, I will still buy bananas - they are my luxury item. As well as avocados.

Oh yeah, last time we were at the Farmer's Market they had a table set up selling copies of "A, V, M" It does seem like the Farmer's Market is busier this year- is it where you live?
post #33 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathe View Post
Jen - I understand - hope I didn't sound jugemental. Eggs are a sensitive thing with me - we have hens and I know how expensive it is to feed them - and I get so upset about the way factory farmed chickens are raised just so they can produce them cheaply. I get a bit emotional about it.
No worries, I didn't think you were judging at all. After being attacked by a chicken as a small child, it's hard for me to care about their welfare, though I know on an intellectual level that the factory farms are bad for all of us, not just the chickens. And I'm not sure where Trader Joe's gets their eggs from, but with the level of conscientiousness the company has in other ways I would be surprised if it were a horrible farm. We get our eggs at TJ's because it's cheaper there than anywhere else, by 70c on a good day, $1 when they're not on sale at Safeway.
post #34 of 107
This one has replaced "Last Child in the Woods" as my Bible! I got the cheesemaking kit and made awesome mozzarella on my second try (the first try was salvagable as a semi-ricotta). It is very worth doing. We've also made a real dedication to a local farmer and have been getting great produce from her. I bought a flat of blackberries and made freezer jam last weekend, then 28 lbs. of tomatoes this weekend, which has so far produced 6 quarts of really, really tasty tomato sauce. DH is supposed to be finishing up the box today, so hopefully we'll get another couple of quarts out of it.

We'll also be shredding and freezing bags of zucchini for bread and cookies later this winter, and I'm getting into buying up corn to cook up and cut off the cob and freeze.

I know it is more expensive, and it is a lot more effort. But I just think that if enough of us tried, we really could change the world by eating more locally. As BK pointed out in the book, if each family ate just one locally produced meal a week, it would make a HUGE difference in the amount of oil consumption. That's an achievable goal, isn't it? Even if that meal is something like an herb & veggie fritatta with bread you make at home, you've made a great contribution to the cause. Anything else you can add on top of that is, well, gravy!

Oh, I also had put in an order with a friend for half a locally-raised pig, and we'll be getting that in a couple of weeks. I am totally hoping my DH can kill a deer this hunting season too, and then we'll be set!
post #35 of 107
NAK--subbing!! So glad to see this thread, will be back later...
post #36 of 107
I *finally* got a hold of a copy from the library! Yay!!! So far I haven't read much but I have already got one of the recipes in the making (summer potato salad, p. 274).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie9 View Post
I know it is more expensive, and it is a lot more effort. But I just think that if enough of us tried, we really could change the world by eating more locally. As BK pointed out in the book, if each family ate just one locally produced meal a week, it would make a HUGE difference in the amount of oil consumption. That's an achievable goal, isn't it? Even if that meal is something like an herb & veggie fritatta with bread you make at home, you've made a great contribution to the cause. Anything else you can add on top of that is, well, gravy!
I totally agree. I can't remember if this has been mentioned on this thread before, but I wanted to point out two websites: One Local Summer is a local eating challenge that people signed up from earlier this summer where everyone promised to make one local dinner a week and post about it. I didn't make it in time, but there are some really great ideas (and photos!) of delicious local meals, organized by region. Another site is Eat Local Challenge, which is a blog with many contributors about eating locally. They are doing a September 2007 month-long eat local challenge, so join up if you want to! We're going to try to do it for the first two weeks (we have out of town guests for the last 2 weeks, so it's not as feasible for us then). And remember it's not an all or nothing thing - do what you can, when you can!

Ok, back to reading....
post #37 of 107
I finished the book a few days ago. Much of it wasn't anything I didn't already know, but I loved it all the same (and I did learn a few things, for sure!!). It is very inspiring, and really makes me want to get off my duff and start doing a whole lot more to eat local and do things a lot more sustainably.

A quick thought about eggs: for many people (even in some urban areas) it is very feasible and quite easy to keep a few laying hens for eggs. The difference between your own fresh eggs and store-bought ones (even the so-called "cage free" ones) is amazing. A few years ago I bought 4 pullets for $5 apiece from a friend. Since then, they have been wonderful pets and have reliably given us more eggs than we could ever eat. While we do have a large farm, the way we keep them requires very little space. If anyone wants any info on keeping hens for eggs, feel free to ask me questions! You can "grow" a lot of local meals with your own eggs!
post #38 of 107
I have been waiting on this book forever though my library..I might just break down and buy it, so I can join in
post #39 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennnk View Post
Does anyone else get ribbed by family about dietary choices? My mother SWEARS that organic food gives her stomach aches and rolls her eyes when I remind her that we limit dairy (Andy's growing out of a sensitivity) and I have to remind her time & again that eggs are not dairy.
Um, oh yes! Your mother and mine would get along quite well...for the longest time, if, for example, I offered my mom a piece of fruit she would first ask "but is it real?" (and this comment was usually accompanied by rolling eyes, as well) By "real" what she meant was not organic! She is so suspicious of organic, it's the funniest thing. I had the damndest time explaining to her that organic is, in fact, a whole lot more "real" than any conventionally grown produce! : She's coming around, though. She even likes a lot of natural and/or organic processed food now(e.g., Amy's brand convenience foods). It's still processed food, but it's a start towards smarter eating.

Any other vegetarians read the book and find Kingsolver's argument against vegetarianism interesting? I'm veg (I do eat eggs and dairy) and found it thought-provoking...the argument is one I've heard before, and it doesn't make me want to start eating meat or anything, but at the same time I do see the value in, say, preserving heritage livestock breeds (I raise breeds of chickens found on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's rare/endangered lists).
post #40 of 107
Any other vegetarians read the book and find Kingsolver's argument against vegetarianism interesting? I'm veg (I do eat eggs and dairy) and found it thought-provoking...the argument is one I've heard before, and it doesn't make me want to start eating meat or anything, but at the same time I do see the value in, say, preserving heritage livestock breeds (I raise breeds of chickens found on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's rare/endangered lists).

Yes. She made that argument in Prodigal Summer, I think, and in one of the essays in Small Wonder, too. So when she brought it up again, I was like, *yawn*. I love BK, but she comes across as self-righteous and condescending when she brings this up. I and many other vegetarians went veggie -NOT- because we think it's unethical to take an animal's life, but because it's a way to lighten our impact on the earth, to leave a smaller footprint. And because we feel healthier when we're not eating meat. I think eating ethically-raised meat from a family farm is totally fine. I buy it every week at the Farmer's market because my husband and children aren't vegetarian, and I'm happy to cook it for them. And yeah, there may very well be some places in the world where eating meat might actually be an environmentally friendly thing or a necessary thing to do. The Midwest, however, is not one of those places, so I don't like it when Bk gets on her rant about how vegetarians haven't thought it through.
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