Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

I'm in the process of reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" by Barbara Kingsolver, in which she, along with her husband, Steve Hopp, and daughter Camille describe their experience of eating (nearly) exclusively local food for an entire year.

The book is organized by topics but follows pretty much the chronology of their excursion into the food supplies found in their gardens, their neighbors gardens, and the various places where they travel (including Canada, Ohio, Pennsylvania).

Her style of writing is uplifting and celebratory, with a bit of sarcasm and a pinch of cynicism. It is a great companion to Bill McKibben's "Deep Economy."

Camille includes recipes at the end of most chapters, and I've learned to make Mozzarella Cheese from her! I now make my own very local mozzarella using Meadowbrook milk (just southwest of Albany), citric acid (OK, not so local), and vegetarian rennet. It takes about an hour (less if you use a microwave), and can be eaten directly thereafter or chilled for later. I had it on my tomatoes, and topped it with my basil, drizzled with olive oil (OK, OK!! Not local!), and pepper (I know: not local). I figure it costs me about $2.75 in materials (half-gallon of milk and traces of the citric acid and rennet). This compares to the $4.50 for the same amount of cheese made from non-organic (and probably rBGH-infused) milk from some huge dairy conglomerate and wrapped in plastic. Next, I want to try cream cheese (or Neufchatel), creme fraiche, and some aged hard cheese (like cheddar). Then on to blues.

I don't eat much dairy now, but I'm intrigued by the process of preserving food and cheese foots the bill there.

Anyone else reading the book or have cheese-making experiences to share?

Shelby Tay's picture

Forum discussions

Hey Jim!
Thanks for posting this.
FYI I added a forum topic for the book in the book reviews section of the site-wide forum (


Relocalization Network Coordinator