Never have I craved fresh vegetables more than I have while reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. At the same time, it’s done nothing to ease the pain watching my sad little garden; the tomato plants show very little promise of ever bearing fruit. Whatever. At least there’s a farmstand down the street, where surely I’ll be able to find something garden-fresh.
As much as I’d like to blame the harsh climate on my gardening failures, it’s pretty likely that my brown thumb played its part once again. So much for the power of positive thinking.
Anyway, this has been a delicious read so far. I’m almost done, having read April – January of this year-long memoir. Even though I don’t foresee making the same commitment to locally-grown food, the book makes me want to try it. At the very least, it makes me want to rush to the nearest farmers market and stock up on bushels of produce for canning. Even after reading about all the wonderful pickles and sauces that were put up in the family’s pantry, though, I still have a nagging fear of preserving my own harvest, if you will. You know, because of the risk of botulism. Pesky, deadly botulism. Mom, you’re going to have to come supervise if I ever work up the courage to try this at home.
Maybe I’ll stick to freezing stuff. That’s such a tidy option. Of course, the key is to actually use the frozen food instead of leaving it in there indefinitely. I’m trying very hard to shake the habit of using the freezer as a rest stop for the food before it makes the lonesome journey to the great beyond: the trash. “Hmm – I’m not sure if this chicken is still good. Maybe I’ll just freeze it…til garbage day.” Delaying the inevitable takes some of the sting out of being wasteful for some twisted reason.
The book did nothing, though, to calm another of my nagging fears: that sometime in the future, there may indeed be a day when I would not be able to get my hands on enough food to feed my family. Don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not a doom and gloom, preachy sort of book. Just the barest mention of disasters, natural or otherwise, that would limit our food supply for more than twenty-four hours is enough to set off my alarms. Currently, we have several types of rice and pasta, a crazy mix of canned veggies, and a couple of boxes of cake mix in the pantry. Oh, and some old Capri Sun that I can’t bear to throw away. (Maybe I should stash it in the freezer for awhile.) With that hodge-podge, at the very least we’d be a sour-faced bunch of somebodies after a few hours, I’m sure.
So to sum up: Interesting and entertaining book, I highly recommend it, but not if you’re hungry. You’ve been warned!