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.


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...