08 February, 2008

Two good reads

Going back to the land is becoming a trend. Two books I've read recently reflect this. The first is Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The second Our Farm by Rosie Boycott. They are both very readable and reflect their authors' day jobs of novelist and journalist, respectively. Kingsolver's book is well researched, thorough, wry, warm to the occasional point of sentimental cheesiness. There are recipes from her daughter and reference sections on subjects like food miles, oil, and so on from her husband. Boycott's is easy, funny, intimate and possibly a little superficial. For example I would have liked to know what has happened to Ilminster since the supermarket arrived and the road system changed. Both follow a year in the life of the authors, tracking the seasons, the food available, the problems of growing vegetables, or looking after chickens, turkeys (the sex for turkeys section is very funny in Kingsolver) and pigs. Both make the move to the country and growing your own sound idyllic even if they clearly worked hard and in the case of Boycott piled lots of cash into the project too. I am not going to keep pigs but I am having a go at the veg side of things and it is inspirational to read about harvesting when you are just setting out, and discovering just how small a carrot or cabbage seed can be.

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