On the way home from my (aborted attempt at an) honest day's labour yesterday I popped into Borders at Parramatta to find something to read. I normally prefer to shop at the small independent booksellers, but Parramatta is pretty short on those and I needed something for the ride home.
The upside of shopping at Borders is that they seem to be having some pretty agressive sales on some interesting new books these days. A week or so ago I had flicked through a copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver in a bookshop in Newtown. I put it back down again though when I decided that as interesting at seemed I didn't want to pay the $29.95 paperback price at that time. So I was especially pleased to see that Borders had dropped the price by $10 to $19.95!
Does that make me sound cheap? Tight? I hope not, but with the rate I churn through books it can get to be an expensive habit when you buy lots of books around the $30 mark.
Anyhoo. I was really intrigued by the idea behind the book. Barbara and her family relocated to a small farm, and took this as an opportunity to try and spend a year only eating food that was seasonal, locally produced, or at least whose provinence they could vouch for. Basically eating the way recent generations ate, and much of this planet still does. What they couldn't produce themselves they would source from local growers.
Along the way Kingsolver examines how the industrialised food production system works, the phenomenal amount of resources expended and cost added in trucking out of season produce across the world, obesity and processed food, and how out of touch most consumers are with really fresh good produce. It's fascinating stuff, and just starting to read it has made me want to seek out local growers' markets and think more about the value of a really good in season tomato. Or apple. It's kind of sobering to think about just how old some of this stuff is by the time it arrives in the supermarket, how little the grower receives and how much of the value of the item is made up in petrol and freight.
It's an interesting read, full of the personal as well as the political. There is a website associated with the book, where you can read more about it and even print off some of the recipes that are in the book.
Food for thought. (Sorry, had to.)