Thursday, April 4, 2013

March Reads

For the month of March I really took my time reading the few books I crossed off my list. I thoroughly enjoyed each one and learned a lot from them. I really do love anything that has to do with food, especially when it comes to books. I'm sorry if these might bore you and aren't something you would be interested in reading on your own, but they were certainly very intriguing stories to me!

I've had The Feast Nearby on my to-read list for over a year now. I finally filled out a recommendation for our library to purchase it and I was thrilled when they contacted me a week later saying it was being held for me. When the author's husband of twelve years asks her for a divorce and she's laid off from her job at the Chicago Tribune as a food writer all within a week, she has to make some major decisions and fast. Robin relocates to her cottage in Michigan, allowing herself only $40 a week for groceries, eating as local as possible. Robin takes us along her year-long journey, breaking the book down into seasons. Robin shares many of her recipes, all prepared with local and fresh ingredients. Our family already purchases our milk from a local dairy farm and I've been wanting to look into purchasing locally raised meat as well. We actually signed up for our very first CSA share this week, I can't wait to start getting that box of fresh produce each week! After reading this book, I'm even more inspired to find a way for us to support local farmers. Robin also gives great tips on canning and preserving food, which she has to do out of necessity. I'm pretty good about freezing lots of things but one of these days I'm going to dive right into canning and give it a try!

I'd heard this particular book was life changing and I couldn't agree more! Animal, Vegetable, Miracle : A Year of Food Life is just that, a family's year long journey to grow and produce as much of their own food as possible on their Virginia farm. What they couldn't produce themselves, they purchased from nearby farmers or else they learned to live without it. How intriguing! I'll warn you the book is a little longer than most, but I really took my time reading this and truly thinking about each passage. You'll find a little bit of everything in here; you'll giggle when Kingsolver talks about turkey sex and how she literally "set up" her male and female turkeys in order to reproduce. Kingsolver's daughter also includes her own opinions and stories as well as some wonderful looking recipes and menu plans for each season. What's most interesting about their story is how little they actually were able to feed their family for. When the year was over with, she figured they were able to feed their family on about $1 per person for each meal. That's amazing! Now I know we all can't make that possible. It's a lot of work to be able to grow much of your own food, raise chickens and turkeys, etc. But the whole process makes you really think.

The Paleo diet seems to be getting more popular each and every day. There's also been a lot of buzz around the Whole30 program. What does it mean to eat Paleo you might wonder? Well they believe in eating meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats like nuts. Grains, legumes, dairy and sugar are not included in their typical meal plans. I've also been really interested in this and have talked my husband into trying it out for at least one full week, usually when doing the whole30 you would eat a strict paleo diet for thirty days but I'd like to read the book before I would commit to a full month of it. Our library didn't have the particular book on hand that I was looking for but I did find Everyday Paleo. It's part cookbook but Sarah Fragoso does a wonderful job of outlining what the paleo diet is all about and how to go about implementing it in your household. I'm trying to get a very detailed menu plan lined up for next week when we give this a try and I'll be blogging about our experience. There's still a lot more about this particular diet I'm hoping to learn before I would ever commit my family to eating this way for good, Sarah did a wonderful job helping me understand what it means to eat paleo, some benefits as well as some really good looking recipes!

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