Saturday, April 3, 2010


About five years back I read a book by Barbara Kingsolver called The Poisonwood Bible (per your recommendation, I believe). This book was huge. It made me think, it made me question, and it led to several long conversations. Ultimately, there aren't too many details that I remember anymore from this novel, but there is one piece of it that made an impression and has stuck with me. There's a character who stays in Africa, is raising a family here, and is struggling to find enough protein for her child. Malnutrition is rampant, and it is difficult to find the necessary nutrients to keep her family strong and healthy. Later, she comes back to visit her parents in the United States, and there is a scene in which she walks through an American supermarket, marveling at the abundance and immediacy of food options here. It is in such contrast to the world that she came from. (In retrospect, this also reminds me of the ending for the movie Cast Away)

And here's the thing. We have infinite food choices in the states. We have the ability to make almost any nutritionary and dietary choices that we want! The food is available. But we make bad choices. We choose processed and packaged over whole foods. And this is the thing that stuck with me: I have the opportunity to make any dietary choices that I want--why not make the healthy decision? This book is one of the reasons why I try to make healthy food choices and to do it from scratch as much as possible.

The reason why I am posting about this is because I just found out that Barbara Kingsolver wrote another book about her family's year of living off the land. She spent a year only eating food that her family raised or grew themselves, or that they bought from local farmers' markets. I guess it wasn't coincidental that the part of her novel that I took to heart was an issue that meant something to her as well. I'm not in a position to do what she did, but I was excited to make this find and I look forward to reading what she has to say.


PS. Barbara Kingsolver used to live in AZ. I guess she had to move to Virginia to pick up gardening and start a farm. I wish I could be successful at growing plants here, but maybe in a year or two we will find ourselves in a more growing-hospitible climate. Even if I had enough shade and nutrient-rich soil, the amount of water required to plant a garden would be unsustainable.

PPS. Apparently the adhesive that is used to attach non-stick coatings to pans will break down at high temperatures. Fumes that are released from this process have been known to kill household birds. I did not know this. And I have a whole lot of non-stick pans. But I wanted you to know, that in the interim between switching out my pans, I have been doing a lot of cast-iron cooking. I highly recommend. Cast iron rocks.