↠´ Read ¶ Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally by Alisa Smith ¶ I suppose it s always easy to compare like minded books to one another Many of the reviews here are tasking Plenty with not being quite in the same league as Barbara Kingsolver s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle And it s not This book is of a memoir than Kingsolver s, although there are plenty of similarities But Alisa and James are not farmers, but foragers of a kind, scouring an area of 100 miles in any direction for local food This book is as much about their mental exercises, and the doubts and small joys, as about the food challenge itself.
The two authors alternate chapters, although, to be fair, they both write a lot alike It wouldn t be easy to tell who wrote what, if it weren t for use of first person singular Nevertheless, we are given some insight into the broader issues of climate change, sustainability, and perhaps most importantly, that ofmemoryin the collective struggle for retaining the old foodways Never preachy, but definitely thought provoking.
So, I d recommend this book as a companion to AVM, not a competitor Enjoy it on its own merits.
One man, one woman and a raucous year of eating locally is the tagline for this book I m not sure if I d describe it as raucous tumultuous maybe, but raucous, no.
The book follows Alisa James as they try to eat within 100 miles of their home in Vancouver, Canada Their endeavour sees them eat wheat complete with mouse droppings, stink their house out in an effort to make sauerkrat and nearly come to blows over canning of tomatoes.
I enjoyed the book a lot and thought it gave a very realistic interpretation of life trying to eat sustainability a picnic it is not We have an emotional connection to our food and often this is reflected back into our daily lives Despite the trials and tribulations of the adventure I think this is far healthy than the emotional free existence we seem to strive for in modern society Its hard to get upset, angry or passionate about a happy meal.
I only gave the book 4 stars because I am becoming and dubious about these boundary setting regimes At one point in the book a fellow local eater tells Alisa that they ve set their limit to 250 miles to allow them to access certain favourite foods I now am seeing these things as a money making exploit by journalists, eager to tap into our inner concerns and exploit our hope for utopia by living out our dreams Mostly they turn out to be unrealistic, unachievable and just a exercise in navel gazing At one point James spends hours at the kitchen table seperating wheat from mouse poo I mean seriously, who does that Nevertheless when they were talking about the food they were passionate and it invoked some, recently familiar, emotions of my own in relation to seasonal food The book also contained some crazy recipes which was a nice touch and a few interesting facts and insights For example seasonal eating allows us to vary our diets without really trying we ve all heard the stastic that we just rotate 10 meals which means we dont get the diversity and depth of nutrition our bodies require at one point we learn that the average north american gets 50% of their vegetable intake from iceberg lettuce, canned tomatoes and potatoes nutricious A good read, just not quite as good as some of the other foodie books I ve tackled lately.
This was similar in many ways to Kingsolver s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle , in that it is a year long experiment in eating only local foods Kingsolver is a much better writer and I enjoyed reading her book Plenty did, however, supply what I thought was lacking in the other book realism Plenty documents the difficulties in trying to eat locally struggling to live without wheat flour, trying to store potatoes in an urban apartment, staying within a budget their first dinner cost over 100 , and the strain that foraging preserving canning placed on their relationship On the plus side, their hundred mile radius overlaps on mine, so should I choose to undertake this experiment, I ve got some great resources to help me I think both books make the point that local eating is not very practical I mean, the authors really have to go out of their way and work for it, you know They both feel strongly that it is worth the time and effort and they make sacrifices accordingly Both books speak of being connected to the environment, to the community, to one s own body and its needs, and even better connections to their families I loved the salty ending, and how they found solutions to all of the major challenges they faced.
Oh my, the dreaded one star review I must say, I went into this book with high hopes and ended up quite disappointed It seems like a book I would love a couple around my age living in Vancouver and trying to spend one year living on only food that was grown or raised within 100 miles of their home In our society these days, this is no easy task They have predictable adventures trying to find difficult to locate foods flour, salt, anything but potatoes in the winter, etc but in the end the stories were mild and unamusing The couple takes turns writing one chapter after the other and although it is occasionally interesting to hear their differing takes on the same subjects, neither of them possess the skill to keep the reader enthused, and splitting the workload did nothing to solve that deficiency The book was crafted from a blog that the couple kept while practicing the 100 mile diet, and it reeks of blog at every turn In fact, the most interesting sections were ones that were not in their blog, such as a sojourn for a month avail from friends, computers and telephones in a cabin in the northern wilds of British Columbia There are recipes in the book as well Most of them would be impossible for me to create with ingredients from less than 100 miles away Go figure For a much better book on the same subject, try Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.
Similar to other titles in that it follows the authors as they challenge themselves to eat locally for a year, this book sets itself apart by going deeper into the history of their area in regard to the foods that once sustained locals and the changes that have occurred to go from local food sources to our now reliance on global food sources Definitely worth a read
goalsThe amount of effort to live this way be able to experiment life this way does not blind the reader into thinking this is an easy way to eat to live in the modern world However, how I wish to try Written together from each perspective, the act of eating so mindfully for a year probably changed in the lives of Smith MacKinnon than any of us know I would love to have known their biomarkers before after this year They lost weight, yes, but I imagine their health, overall, vastly improved Again, goals This book was good, but not as good as Barbara Kingsolver s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle A Year of Food Life, which unfortunately for Smith I had read first.
The book fails due to a compromise of two opposing styles the epistolary style of the blog that precedes the book, and the cohesive narrative needed for a full length book Smith does not do a great job at this merger, and it s further hurt by the changing in perspective between her and her partner Instead of a narrative, the book reads like a series of vignettes about their clumsy experiments in local food The approach that they took also appeared to be haphazard rather than organized, but they don t dwell on the challenges, which could have made the book much interesting We are left with a smattering of the two authors personal philosophies of food, a smattering of stories about their attempts to find local food, about their relationship issues, a tiny bit about the monotony that they encountered in the winter months, and no sense of wonder at their experiment at all The word raucous in the title is particularly misleading, as the two authors are singularly serious and stodgy This book should have been a lot fun.
Given that they grew very little food themselves, and instead purchased it, I was expecting that they would spend time delving in to the history of supermarkets and how we got to where we are today, or possibly something comprehensive about local food systems around North America, or even of a profile of the local sources they did find The story was too internally focused They could have used their journalism experience to give us something a little complex Instead, a few of the chapters are basically shopping expeditions.
I think I may have gotten as much if I had just read a single essay, rather than the whole book, as the insight was relatively shallow.
What I liked about this book I feel like both of the authors, but particularly Alisa, were able to capture the sense of wonder that I have felt about discovering where food comes from and feeling so much closer to it when you know the source I was never particularly interested in food or where it came from until my husband became a farmer, but now that I regularly and for some meals exclusively eat food came from a farm 20 miles away and was picked that very afternoon by Kurt s own hands, eating is a whole new experience I loved that this book was able to put into words those feelings that I have had since we have been fortunate enough to start eating mostly locally.
What I didn t like about this book first of all, there was nothing raucous about it That part of the subtitle is totally misleading Parts of the book alternated between dry history lessons and scolding sessions about how we are wasting the earth s resources Also, I don t think that the authors quite realize that for a lot of people, eating locally just isn t in the budget or they don t have access to it It would certainly be nice if everyone could eat locally grown vegetables every day, but that just isn t an option for a lot of people It made me curious how they two writers could afford to eat so well on their incomes.
The Remarkable, Amusing And Inspiring Adventures Of A Canadian Couple Who Make A Year Long Attempt To Eat Foods Grown And Produced Within A Mile Radius Of Their ApartmentWhen Alisa Smith And James MacKinnon Learned That The Average Ingredient In A North American Meal Travels , Miles From Farm To Plate, They Decided To Launch A Simple Experiment To Reconnect With The People And Places That Produced What They Ate For One Year, They Would Only Consume Food That Came From Within A Mile Radius Of Their Vancouver Apartment The Mile Diet Was BornThe Couple S Discoveries Sometimes Shook Their Resolve It Would Be A Year Without Sugar, Cheerios, Olive Oil, Rice, Pizza Pops, Beer, And Much, Much Yet Local Eating Has Turned Out To Be A Life Lesson In Pleasures That Are Always Close At Hand They Met The Revolutionary Farmers And Modern Day Hunter Gatherers Who Are Changing The Way We Think About Food They Got Personal With Issues Ranging From Global Economics To Biodiversity They Called On The Wisdom Of Grandmothers, And Immersed Themselves In The Seasons They Discovered A Host Of New Flavours, From Gooseberry Wine To Sunchokes To Turnip Sandwiches, Foods That They Never Would Have Guessed Were On Their DoorstepThe Mile Diet Struck A Deeper Chord Than Anyone Could Have Predicted, Attracting Media And Grassroots Interest That Spanned The Globe The Mile Diet A Year Of Local Eating Tells The Full Story, From The Insights To The Kitchen Disasters, As The Authors Transform From Megamart Shoppers To Self Sufficient Urban Pioneers The Mile Diet Is A Pathway Home For Anybody, Anywhere Call Me Naive, But I Never Knew That Flour Would Be Struck From Our Mile Diet Wheat Products Are Just So Ubiquitous, The Staff Of Life, That I Had Hazily Imagined The Stuff Must Be Grown Everywhere But Of Course I Had Never Seen A Field Of Wheat Anywhere Close To Vancouver, And My Mental Images Of Late Afternoon Light Falling On Golden Fields Of Grain Were All From My Childhood On The Canadian Prairies What I Was Able To Find Was Anita S Organic Grain Flour Mill, About Miles Up The Fraser River Valley I Called, And Learned That Anita S Nearest Grain Suppliers Were At Least Miles Away By Road She Sounded Sorry For Me Would It Be A Year Until I Tasted A PieFrom The Mile Diet From The Hardcover Edition