Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


I just finished Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and was completely obsessed and inspired. I know non-fiction doesn't do it for a lot of people but that is where my heart is. I loved the book and it was a complete page turner for me. The book inspired me in countless ways but here are a few things I am excited to do....
  1. I am going to become more of a "locavore". I've spent the last year trying to buy more locally produced food and avoid fruits that have traveled from anywhere further than California or Mexico. Other than bananas for my daughter I don't buy fruits and vegetables traveling from Chile or similar distances. I try to buy fruits and veggies when they are in season so I've been eating apples like crazy lately and not buying any fresh berries, tomatoes, etc. I plan to become even more strict with myself in the upcoming year.

  2. In addition to buying more food at farmers markets (which I really amped up last summer) I am going to research to find a local organic farm where I can purchase more food directly. I was doing a CSA program but noticed that only a small portion of my food was grown locally and most was coming from California. While it was supporting smaller farms, it wasn't supporting local farms as much as I had hoped. I would also like to volunteer at an organic garden or farm to learn more because one day hope to have a garden of my own.

  3. I am going to try making my own cheese (mozzarella for starters) and making my own bread. My goal is to try these both once and see how it goes. If I enjoy the process and the result I will make it more of a regular habit. The author frequently writes about both and I cannot wait to try my hand at it.

  4. I plan to load up on things in the summer while they're in season and tasting their best. I will buy tons of basil and make several batches of pesto to freeze for the winter months rather than buying store-bought pesto as often as I do. I will buy tomatoes when they are so good you could eat them like an apple. I will try to teach myself how to can some in various ways (as whole tomatoes, as sauce, dried, etc). I don't buy tomatoes anymore through the winter months because they don't taste like what they taste like when they're truly in season (my mother-in-law ruined me with the tomatoes from her garden. You can't buy tomatoes like hers in the grocery store - ever. Farmers Markets - here I come this tomato season to scoop up ALL your tomatoes!). I will try to buy berries when they are in season and freeze them on my own. This is a great way to eat these foods year round while capturing them when they taste the best.

  5. I'm going to try and institute Friday night pizza night. If I can make my own cheese, and give dough a go, how fun to do pizza every Friday night using fresh local ingredients as toppings?!

  6. I hope to avoid eating meat from CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) as much as possible. I am quite finicky about the meat I buy and cook at home but I still order plenty of meat at restaurants that is most definitely from CAFOs. I have vowed to myself to be better about that going forward.

I highly recommend the book. You can also visit the website to learn more about the book, find great resources for buying local food, check out some delicious recipes and more.

2 comments:

Erika said...

Well let's see...I do the pesto, freezing berries and I get most of my summer produce from my uncle's garden. I'm not so good at making bread, though. Perhaps we could take a class together???

Jen said...

There's an interesting tutorial on how to make ricotta in last month's bon appetit magazine. I haven't tried it yet but it looks really easy. You could probably access it on their website...