menus, recipes and inspiration !

My book-reading time on this trip has been minimal, but has gotten me through three chapters of a [really good] book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. She's the author of an all-time favorite novel - The Poisonwood Bible. Oh how I loved that book the first time I read it. Then when I went back to college, what a delight I had when I opened the syllabus in a lit. class and it was on the reading list. I studied it with a wonderful teacher for part of a semester.

This new Kingsolver book is not fiction - it's a fascinating non-fiction book about her (and her two daughters') move from Tuscon, Arizona to Southern Appalachia - after her joyful marriage to a man who is a college professor, farmer and gardener. (Starting with the first three pages, the story is happy.) The book focuses on convincing the reader to eat fresh and locally-produced food.

Here's what the book review said: "Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, this book (released May 2007) tells the story of how our family was changed by one year of deliberately eating food produced in the place where we live. Barbara wrote the central narrative; Steven's sidebars dig deeper into various aspects of food-production science and industry; Camille's brief essays offer a nineteen-year-old's perspective on the local-food project, plus nutritional information, meal plans and recipes."

OK, if you know me you know that my diet isn't exactly very nutritious. I have a hard time getting myself to eat five fruits and five vegetables a week, let alone a day. I can't believe I'm admitting this.

This book is making me want to revamp my shopping and cooking - just in the first 100 pages. Wow, it's convincing. I love the format - facts and family story intertwined into a very fascinating read. I love the menus and recipes. Yes, sprinkled through the book are good-sounding weekly menus and recipes to go with them. Like I just read the section on spring greens and here is the menu:

Greens Season Meal Plan
Sunday - Roasted Chicken and potatoes, chard-leaf dolmades with bechamel sauce
Monday - Eggs in a Nest (swiss chard)
Tuesday - Chicken salad (from Sunday's leftover chicken) on a bed of baby greens
Wednesday - Pasta tossed with salmon, sauteed fresh chard, and dried tomatoes
Thursday - Dinner salad with boiled eggs (from the hens in the yard), broccoli, nuts, and feta; fresh bread
Friday - Pizza with chopped sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and cheese
Saturday - Spinach lasagne (recipe in book)

This doesn't sound like my cooking at all, but a girl can change??? When does the Gardeners Market open!