Holiday Book Gifts – I

Dear Y’all,

I’ve read some fabulous books in recent months. “Gardens of Eatin'” is my most recent blog at the Red Room (Where the Writers Are) web site. Check it out. Meanwhile, more books to think about in the next few instalments.

Gardens of Eatin’

December 2, 2009,

Today I traveled Portland on errands listening to a treatise on turkey sex.

No, it was not a CD of some agricultural quarterly. I was listening to the last few chapters of Barbara Kingsolver’s wonderful book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life read by the author. It’s her family’s tale of year of living as totally sustainably as one can in our modern culture. It’s been around for a couple of years, but with this book it’s a value-added thing, a gift that keeps giving, if you will.

The year the book came out, 2007, I planted my first Victory Garden. I’d always had gardens. Even when there wasn’t space for a proper garden, I’d do something. Basil in a pot. A couple of tomatoes. Organic friggin’ roses. But in 2007 I was completely sick of it all, so I added more space in my generous yard and gardened like a scalded cat. I was going to survive, dammit, in spite of “W” and the gang. I’d show ’em.

Reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle only validated my cause. It was something I could do. It is something all of us can do at whatever level is comfortable for us.

Contributors to Kingsolver’s effort are her husband Steven L. Hopp and daughter Camille Kingsolver. Hopp adds short treatises how different food purchasing choices translate into reducing pollution through using less fossil fuel (more than 1 million barrels a week U.S. consumption if all of us ate just one meal a week using only locally grown food!), genetically modified foods, and child labor in third world countries. Camille is the recipe maven, fashioning weekly menus and contributing recipes (Asparagus-Morel Bread Pudding, Spicy Turkey Sausage, Four Seasons of Potato Salad).

Because it is Barbara Kingsolver, the book is poetry. It’s sexy and sassy and earthy. I laughed out loud when “Lolita” the turkey hen made a pass at Steven in front of Barbara! The hussy had no shame. I cheered out loud and nearly ran a red light when that same turkey strumpet hatched an egg.

It doesn’t get any better.

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