Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

A Year of Food Life

Book - 2007
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Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

"As the U.S. population made an unprecedented mad dash for the Sun Belt, one carload of us paddled against the tide, heading for the Promised Land where water falls from the sky and green stuff grows all around. We were about to begin the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain.

"Naturally, our first stop was to buy junk food and fossil fuel. . . ."

Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that's better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.

"This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air."

Publisher: New York : Harper Collins Publishers, 2007
ISBN: 9780060852559
Branch Call Number: S521.5.A67 K56 2007
641.0973 K55a
Characteristics: 370 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

In this warm and enlightening memoir, novelist Kingsolver documents her family’s year of eating and growing local food on their rural Virginia homestead. Entertaining tales of asparagus harvests, at-home cheese making, and turkey mating rituals are interspersed with informative essays about Ameri... Read More »

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ArapahoeAnna Oct 09, 2020

A fine edition to the back to the land genre, the narration by the author and her family is delightful and witty.

Sep 30, 2020

Kingsolver does with homegrown meals in ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A YEAR OF FOOD LIFE (HarperCollins, $26.95) what Morgan Spurlock did with fast food in SUPER SIZE ME: (She eats nothing but local and homegrown food for a year and analyzes the results. Recipes.

Lovestoread5 Jan 17, 2020

I liked it. Very informative, even though the author sometimes gets on her soapbox a little too much. Although published in 2012, many issues she writes about are still in existence today. On another note, it was great to see how they survived their year with their own grown goods, farmer market fare, and food gifts from neighbors. I did take one recipe from the book to try on my own: Braised Winter Squash.

Barbara Kingsolver is well-known for her fictional works, which I certainly intend to read after enjoying the deadpan humour in this book. The family describes a year during which they attempted to be fully self-sufficient – growing their own vegetables, raising turkeys for Thanksgiving, keeping chickens for eggs, putting up preserves and making cheese. This book is particularly interesting because of factual information presented in a decidedly un-boring way and the inclusion of perspectives from both Barbara’s husband and daughter. I found myself wondering what it would be like for my own family to undertake self-sufficiency – while most would not start with a year-long attempt, this book is inspiring to anyone who is concerned with how we can lessen our environmental impact by making local food choices. (submitted by library customer SS)

Jul 19, 2017

I rarely keep books(real ones) and I kept my copy of "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:.." This impacted me in a big and practical way. How I consume, buy, prepare, moreso in my small efforts in backyard gardening, the natural circle and miracle of the life and death of animals- respect, human consumption, tending and preserving which definitions and meaning were elevated , in fact romanticized in many accessible ways. This was a catalyst for me! Probably one of my lifetime favorites!

laurendouglass Apr 03, 2017

When this book debuted, it was such a revelation for many about food production, carbon footprint, local food, etc. that many people overlooked the fact that it is also a great cookbook. A library staff member was so impressed with the book she attempted to prepare and can some of the summer too-many-tomatoes recipes from page 217 and she shared her results with the rest of the staff. The Sweet and Sour sauce was life changing!

Mar 21, 2017

Didn't grab me in a way I would've liked, not interested in views r/t chastity, marriage, etc., not into growing food as I live in the "big" city and just want/like a variety of places to shop.

HCL_staff_reviews Dec 01, 2016

Ever thought about wresting control of the food you eat back from the mega-corporations, growing your own or supporting local producers? This book may be just the inspiration and practical guide you need. Kingsolver and her family chronicle their first year of living a strictly locavore lifestyle - not only how they did it, but why they did it - with resources, recipes, and tales of simple miracles they found along the way. Kingsolver's skill with fiction ("Prodigal Summer", "The Poisonwood Bible") makes this true account an engaging as well as informative read. — Julie L., Maple Grove Library

ArapahoeStaff15 Nov 05, 2016

Beautifully-written account of Kingsolver's attempt to eat only locally-sourced foods for one year. A nice blend of informative and narrative sections - Kingsolver does a great job of merging her family stories and personal experiences with background on the food industry and food science.

Jun 23, 2016

Listening to the this as an audiobook and loving it!

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Sep 30, 2020

[Kingsolver] eats nothing but local and homegrown food for a year and shares the results . . .

Jul 18, 2014

“The average food item on a U.S. grocery shelf has traveled farther than most families go on their annual vacations.”


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Sep 30, 2020

Not to be confused with a year in the life of food, Kingsolver's experiment observes and analyzes a year in her life with food. That is, she eats nothing but local and homegrown food for a year and shares the results in ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A YEAR OF FOOD LIFE (HarperCollins, $26.95).


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