Could you live an entire year eating locally or the food from your garden? Barbara Kingsolver transplanted her family from the deserts of Arizona to the mountains of Virginia for their endeavor. Join From Left to Write on February 21as we discuss the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.
I have to admit that I really couldn't find myself getting into this book. Not that the subject matter doesn't seem incredibly interesting; but more the fact that right now my head is filled with problems and dilemmas and a lot of pressure at work and I find when I do have some free time to read that I really don't want to read non-fiction or instructional books. I want to get lost in a great mystery or love story. Something that takes me far, far away from real life.
That being said, I did read the first three chapters and that was enough to give me some inspiration for a post. As a member of From Left to Write we don't actually write reviews of the books we receive; instead we write a post inspired from the book itself.
Photo taken on my cell phone at one of our many, many, many stops at Rest Areas.
The book and the reason for it coincides with a recent trip that I took to Arizona with my mom and my sister Lisa. On the way while travelling through miles and miles and miles of beautiful desert my mom was inspired to share stories of her childhood with us. Normally when we would take long car trips as children it was my dad who would do all the talking. He would tell us wonderful stories of when he was a fighter pilot in the war (which he never was, he was just great at inventing stories to keep us kids occupied and avoid the inevitable "Are we there yet?" questions.)
But this trip, since my mother had our ears she started telling us stories about the things she used to eat as a child. To give you a little background on my mother, she hates food...plain and simple. Nothing would give her more joy than to have a little pill invented that would provide all the nourishment and vitamins she needs to survive and stay healthy. She's never loved cooking and sometimes just the thought having to decide on what eat when her body begs her for food even when her mind is rebelling against the thought, can make her physically sick. Let me tell you, it's not easy being me when you have to be around my mom. I joke that we're a sad pair as she HAS to eat and doesn't want ANYTHING and I want EVERYTHING and shouldn't eat ANYTHING!
So my sister and I were curious if my mom had always been such a picky eater and what she ate as a child. She said she mainly ate a lot of beans, refried with tortillas. But that she could remember as a special treat when they were able to get their hands on zucchini squash that her mother would cut them into rounds and dry them by inserting them into the needles of cactus growing up around their home. They would also grow what vegetables they could in the dry Texas land they lived on and trade with neighbors. I think of how much work that must have been. In those days the family's sole job was to come up with enough food just to feed their family!
I can't imagine myself in this day and age working 8 hours a day and then having to come home and work in a garden to raise my family's food and then picking it and cleaning it and cooking it and canning it, day after day? I see that when I buy a loaf of bread it can last for a month without any mold growing on it when back in the day I can remember my mom buying bread and if we didn't eat it within a week it was be all moldy and gross. So I understand that there are tons of preservatives and other chemicals in the foods we consume. But do I honestly want to come home and bake my own bread when I can swing by any grocery store and buy a fresh loaf? Let me answer that with a resounding "NO".
My dad was a farmer all his life. I've written posts before about all the crops that he would grow from Bell Peppers to Apricots so I know first hand how delicious fresh tomatoes straight from the field taste. I know that when I first had my daughter April that I used to buy vegetables and make her baby food for her as I wanted her only to have the best and the healthiest and the freshest. But do I want to work as hard as the Kingsolvers just to put food on the table for my family? Well, not at this point in my life, but I applaud all the young parents out there that buy organic or grow their own produce...but for me at this point in my life, my kids are all grown up and it's hard enough getting my mom to JUST EAT, let alone eat healthy!