The Sunday Salon #16: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Sunday, July 6, 2008 at 5:31PM

The Sunday 

I am very slow with completing books this semester  SUMMER, so I thought that it would be fun to have a progress report of my reading.  This is an online reading group where all the participants set aside time to read every Sunday and blog about the experience.

I continued reading  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. For those who do not know, AVM chronicles a family's quest to eat locally for year.  The twist is that the family is also trying to grow most of their own food.  I am almost finished with the book and I like the final chapter best.  She is starting to address some of the critics of the local food movement.  So far, her counter-argument is not very convincing to me, but I am hoping that I will get more as I continue.

Another thing which struck me as I was reading the book is how food is delivered in India.  In both Delhi and Hyderabad, each morning a man would come on his bicycle with fresh produce. He would then yell the names of the various items.  If people in the homes wanted anything, they would come downstairs or yell the order to him.  Most non-perishable items are in a grocery store. However, most of the food shopping that was done while we were there took place in open farmer market type places or bicycle exchange.  There has been an increase in the number of traditional supermarkets which has influenced how people cook.  However, this does not mean that produce is available year round.  My father asked for radish filled parathas; my aunt had to "go all over the countryside" to find the radishes.  My mother and I were frustrated with my father at making such a request; however, that is a story for another day.

Overall, I am enjoy the book. However, I certainly find myself annoyed with the writer at various points.  One particular passage which irked me was her take on being a vegetarian.  I have only been a lacto-ovo vegetarian (this means that I eat diary and eggs, but no meat) for a little over a year; my Partner to-be has been one for most of his life. His reasons are religious and economic.  My reasons are economic and my agreement to create a vegetarian home and raise vegetarian children.  I think that Kingsolver has valid points and arguments about why to not be vegetarian; I also think that knowing where everything you put into your body comes from is important whether or not you consume meat.  However, I felt annoyed by her tone in that passage. 

As the book has continued, I find myself looking forward to Camille's passages more and more.  Her writing feels very welcoming and offers more insight on how to function "in the real world" with the desire to eat locally.  Her parents have an advantage of living a pretty insular life which I think makes it easier for them to eat locally.  Overall, I am enjoying the book and look forward to seeing how it ends.

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