Celebrity Chef/Gourmand World Award Winning Author of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking shares a book review. For more recipes and stories from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking join 100,000 worldwide subscribers at www.marialiberati.com.
Editor: Chris Manganaro
Fruits and vegetables tend to come from the ground. Technically, meat even comes from the earth. All food shares its origin whether it is canned or frozen. How we receive it comes in just as many ways as we may cook it. Despite the fact that food is of the utmost importance to us as functioning human beings, we do not always prioritize it. Some of us may even look at it simply as a means to an end and nothing more. But there is so much more to what we eat than we consider and as such we do not even consider eating locally.
Barbara Kingsolver is not one to simply overlook something. As a world-renowned author, she takes the time to think and explore. In her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Kingsolver and her family attempt to live their lives while eating locally and growing their own food on their farm. What they learn is much more than the reader may expect.
Readers of her other books may find themselves right at home with Kingsolver’s writing but this is not a guarantee due to the content of the book. What is guaranteed is a book that is written quite colorfully with Kingsolver’s usual wit. Another author may not be able to pull off telling stories the way Kingsolver does. Even when not telling stories, she still has a way with her researched words. Due to Kingsolver’s knack for telling stories, these are the parts that shine and may leave some reader’s wanting during heavily informational sections.
Along with Kingsolver’s words, we are also able to experience those of her husband, Stephen, and her daughter, Camille. Throughout the book, sections pop up that are written by Stephen and relate to something Kingsolver has been discussing. Often these sections are factual with links to websites at the end. They read like tips and tidbits and add more context to certain parts of the overall story.
Rounding off the end of almost every chapter, Camille, being younger than our other contributors, brings a different point of view to the table. This allows for younger readers to perhaps find themselves more able to understand and become enthusiastic about the idea of local eating. Of course, Camille is also rather unique due to her upbringing.
Camille also puts recipes on the table, creating another light, delicious layer. The recipes reflect the seasons and as such can be all the more enticing simply because they will reflect what you might have at hand. They also have a way of teaching by example just what is in season. Perhaps they might even make you want to eat local all the more.
Not all readers will agree with what they find in the pages of this book, of course, due to Kingsolver’s beliefs being shaped by the specific course of her life. Like any good author, Kingsolver realizes this and merely hopes that she can make you think. Her enthusiasm and passion for the subject matter wafts from the pages like the smells of freshly harvested fruit and pulls you in, perhaps, to take a bite.
Published in: Cooking