Lean in close and I'll tell you a secret: Though I am one of the founders of the Locavores and the editor of the Eat Local Challenge website, I still sometimes become a bit fatigued about the ubiquitousness of information about eating locally. While overall it's amazing and overwhelming, when a new perspective on the subject comes along, I am very excited. And when one of the best writers of our time, Barbara Kingsolver, chooses to write about eating local, I chomp at the bit to read the book.
Barbara Kingsolver wrote Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in conjunction with her husband, Steven L. Hopp, and her daughter Camille Kingsolver. Ms. Kingsolver wrote the main narrative while Mr. Hopp wrote intriguing sidebars that are politically and policy based. Camille, Ms. Kingsolver's daughter is a college student who peppered the book with her point-of-view and recipes relating to the text.
The crux of this book focuses on Ms. Kingsolver's family, living in Virginia, who manages to eat a locally-based diet for a year mainly subsisting of their family garden. More than her devoted point-of-view about eating locally, it was Ms. Kingsolver's calm moderation that made me love this book.
Our locavore project nudged us constantly toward new personal bests. But it always remained fascination, not fanatacism. We still ate out at restaurants with friends sometimes, and happily accepted invitations to dine at their homes. People who knew about our project would get flustered sometimes about inviting us, or when seeing us in a restaurant would behave as if they'd caught the cat eating the canary. We always explained, "We're converts in progress, not preachers. No stone tablets." Our Thanksgiving dinner would include a little California olive oil, a pinch of African nutmeg, and some Virginia flour that likely contained wheat from Pennsylvania and points north."
I talked to a friend recently who was frustrated with Ms. Kingsolver's point-of-view, saying that it wasn't possible for the majority of many Americans. While I didn't find Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to be as pedantic as my friend did, Ms. Kingsolver freely admits that this type of diet is possible if you know how, and are willing, to cook.