A pledge of rededication, of sorts

While I was at my parents’ house last week, I picked up my mom’s copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, something I had been kind of avoiding prior to that point.  Avoiding, because I had heard about it from so many people who kept telling me how it made a huge difference in the way they ate, cooked, shopped for food, etc., and reading a book that was going to make me feel like making a big change in my life is about as high as “Color Code My Panty Drawer” on my list of priorities.  I am in much more of a fingers-in-the ears LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU kind of place these days.  Plus, I am not in the market for guilt.  I received a brand spankin’ new load of that on October 29 and Goodwill will not accept the gently used guilt I already have laying all over the place, not even when I tell them I don’t need a receipt for it.  And so in regards to this book, I have repeatedly said, in the nicest possible way:  kindly take your locally grown, organic, grass fed book and shove it.

But then one evening as I was disrobing for my nightly bath (quick moment of silence for being back in the Land of the Tubless.  ……………… ) I realized I was without reading material, and as I planned on soaking until I reached raisin fingered nirvana, I knew I would be needing something to occupy my mind for the duration. Enter The Book.

Here’s the thing.  That damn Barbara Kingsolver can write.  She’s like a witch with her voodoo words and spell casting chapters.  I can count on no hands the number of times I have made any kind of baked good from scratch.  My thumb is black as night.  It is a very real and sure fact that I will never in my life own a live chicken. But after half an hour with her book I’m flipping through her recipes, wondering if I’ve missed tomato planting season and calculating how much chicken wire I’ll need for my backyard coop.  INTERNET, THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

However, I am glad that I read this book.  Not only because of the urge I now feel to buy local food and perhaps try a tomato plant or two and just be less of a greedy food consumer asshole in general, but also because of the reason I feel that urge: stellar writing.  I closed the back cover of that book a changed person, all because of words on a page.  Words carefully and artfully chosen by someone who had a vision for crafting them into something that would make even the most ignorant among us (read: ME) give a whoop.  That’s powerful stuff right there, wouldn’t you say?

So the (now not so) dreaded book inspired me to more conscientiously consume my food.  But also?  It inspired me to write.

I’ll take my fingers out of my ears for that.


1 Ginny { 04.14.09 at 8:11 am }

I love Kingsolver.
I did notice that she talks about varieties of POTATOES. As you say: OMG

2 Amanda { 04.14.09 at 1:40 pm }

Loved that book. Next up for you to read – Omnivore’s Dilemma and then In Defense of Food. Also great writing, fascinating, not guilt-causing…but totally made me re-think — again — how I eat, what I eat, where it comes from, etc.

3 Morgan { 04.14.09 at 1:55 pm }

I am also avoiding the book for much the same reasons as you. There is a CSA group at the church and they asked me to join and I had to laugh. Vegetables come to rot and die in our house and I would have no idea what to do with half the stuff that comes in those boxes. Maybe one of these days…

On a semi-related Barbara Kingslover note…
I read the Poisonwood Bible in college before it was in Oprah’s book club, so it was not well know. I knew that I had to read it and was going to try and get it to read over break. So, I ventured into a little local bookstore while out shopping one day to see if they had it. I asked the clerk and she about fainted. “Honey, this is a CHRISTIAN bookstore. We don’t have any Poison Bibles!”

4 Shayleen { 04.15.09 at 11:38 am }

I think i will read that book. you have peaked my interest. I also wanted to try my hand on growing some tomatoes, have I missed the planting time?

5 Carol { 04.18.09 at 3:43 pm }

Barbara Kingsolver is stellar.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is awesome- who would think that turkey sex would be so interesting? Try Prodigal Summer– it fits your stage of live.

6 Anjie { 04.19.09 at 7:58 pm }

Rach, glad you didn’t hate it. For folks asking about tomato season…it is just barely now time to plant in the southeast. You have not missed it. You can find plants now at nurseries, big home improvement box stores, etc. Make sure you put them in appropriate sunlight (usually they like a lot). Make sure you water them enough to keep the soil moist. Planting some marigolds around them will help keep away insect pests and provide a bright beautiful color combo. I recommend a regular (whatever variety you want to try) plant with full size tomatoes AND a grape tomato plant. The grape tomato will give you high yield and delicious snacking right there in your yard. Yay for having a tomato plant…even just in a pot on your back porch!

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