Say the words food and culture in the same sentence, and many people think of foods they’ve never eaten, with names they can’t pronounce: foie gras, crème fraîche, pancetta. Now that vegan is chic, mesclun is modish, and organics have their own grocery chain, even more people are convinced that food culture belongs to the wealthy and well traveled.

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver offers a proposal for recovering an authentic—and nonelitist—food culture: eat food that comes from the place you live. “At its heart,” she writes, “a genuine food culture is an affinity between people and the land that feeds them.” Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is Kingsolver’s account of her family’s yearlong attempt to eat only vegetables and animals that they grew or raised themselves or that came from their local area.


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