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Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

In the little free time I have to read, I usually prefer fiction. I enjoy being swept away into another world, far removed from own. While I enjoy non-fiction, it’s not what I turn to for escapism. But I could not resist this book! First, because the author is one of my favorite fiction writers so I knew I could count on an engaging read. Secondly, the book is about something near and dear to my heart (and work)–FOOD!! How to acquire it, prepare it, and enjoy it but, more importantly, how to do these things ethically.

It’s seems strange at first that things like politics, environmentalism, immigration, and ethics can intersect on something as everyday-familiar as our dinner plates. Like many of us who are busy leading lives, working, and raising kids it can be daunting and disconcerting to add one more thing to think about at the grocery store—not just is this affordable/healthy/tasty/will my family eat it? But now also, is this the “right” thing to buy? Can I feel good about spending my money this way?

Kingsolver’s book is no political diatribe. Rather it is an entertaining and engaging look at one family’s attempt to live lightly on the earth. While it has helpful suggestions for all of us who are looking to eat in ways that are healthy for our bodies and the environment, it is not an eco-treatise or heavy-handed pro-organic message. A mixture of anecdotes, recipes, and compact research, you will fly through the book. If you were attracted to Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma but found it a bit too research-heavy, then this is the book for you.

I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a delightful read and you will come away from it with a better understanding of how the food you eat comes to you, and why you should think about it.