February 11, 2011

Nonrequired Reading: 017: The Dirty Life



This is the memoir about a single, vegetarian, urban woman who lives in New York City and two years later finds herself married, eating animals and living on a farm in upstate New York. Partly a story about finding love and partly a story about food, what moved me the most was her ability to capture the essence of being a farmer. Reading about the early morning milking and planting seeds and buying equipment and surviving weather and slaughtering animals was intoxicating. And somehow she achieved this without being overly sentimental or cliche.

In preparation for my first garden last year, and in light of the food overhaul that has changed my eating habits, I have been reading books and blogs on food, farming and gardening over the past eighteen months. After reading a piece on NPR about this book, I wondered if it would be a nice companion read to everything else. It ended up being so much more. It captured, in simple terms and forthright language, the story of the farmer behind our food. It's vulnerable and honest and has provoked me to continue to think long and hard about my daily food choices. It also provoked me to think about farming myself one day. For now, though, I'll stick to the vegetable garden in my front yard. :)

"The other day, rummaging for something in the depths of my desk, I found an eight-year-old to-do list scribbled on the back of a receipt: “Reheel black shoes. Pick up dry cleaning. Call super re: sink. Meet P for drinks.” For a minute, I sat there remembering what it was like to be a single woman in Manhattan. Now my to-do list starts with milking eight cows at dawn and ends with closing the laying hens in their coop at dusk. The dry-cleanables wore out a long time ago, and I wear heels so infrequently I’ve forgotten how to walk in them."

-- Kristin Kimball, The Dirty Life

3 comments:

Sarah said...

sounds interesting. adding it to the list.

Josh said...

It was REALLY good Sarah! If you read it, you'll have to follow up with me. :) What are you reading lately? Anything worth mentioning? I have a small line up of books and then I'll need some more suggestions.

Gwen said...

Ahh, life on the farm :).

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