Here are the discussion questions for the latest installment of the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book club!
Chapter 7. Gratitude - I love the idea of giving out tomato plants as gifts on Mother's Day. If you grow your own from seed and put them in a container, it's relatively inexpensive and even those recipients without a lot of yard can benefit from the bounty. Have you ever given food-bearing plants as a gift? Would you consider doing so now?
Chapter 8. Growing Trust - "Grocery money is an odd sticking point for U.S. citizens, who on average spend a lower proportion of our income on food than people in any other country, or any heretofore in history." I always find it amazing that for such a rich country we spend such a pittance for our food. Now, I'm sure a lot of that has to do with farm subsidies and the taxpayer money paid to produce all those High Fructose Corn Syrup based products that are so dirt cheap. But, even for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and the rest, it seems a crime that we don't pay for what it's worth. Again, I'm sure the prices are reflected by the huge economies of scale that you see in conventional farming and CAFO's. But all of this is at a cost. What's the thing that bothers you the most about cheap food and how it came to you? Unfair labor wages? Costs to the environment?
Chapter 9. Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast - One of the points Kingsolver makes early in this chapter is the idea of actually sitting down to enjoy your food instead of rushing through it. Many people spend little time eating their meals (as they are usually on the run) or don't spend mealtimes with their family. I'm sure you've heard about the Slow Food movement (she covers it in Chapter 11), or the concept of bringing back mealtime as a way of enjoying family, friends and food. How often do you have dinner together with your family? How often do you partake in fast food, take-out or eating on the run?
A while back I bought the book she describes in Chapter 9 regarding cheese making as I was interested in making my own mozzarella, among other things, but I never got around to ordering the required additives. Have any of you made your own cheese? What did you think about it?
The process of making your own food, whether that be from growing your own vegetables and grains, to milking your own animals to making something from scratch like bread and cheese, elicits not only a sense of accomplishment and pride in what you've done. For me, it also creates an almost a zen-like calm. I don't mind the extra labor because I get so much satisfaction out of doing it. How does it make you feel?
As usual, add your comments to this post and feel free to add your own questions for the chapters covered since I only touch on a few points in each chapter.