Monday, March 16, 2015

The Dirty Life

This month we read The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball, the story of a NYC writer who falls in love with a single minded farmer determined to live off the land and create a single source CSA. We had a wonderful turnout of thirteen people and just barely fit in Mad's craft room.

Overall, we found lots to love here. There was some concern that this would be just another city "girl goes to the country" book, with the usual disastrous results.  But we were all impressed how she didn't just show up, but really put her heart into embracing the hard work of farming. It felt much more authentic than the Pioneer Woman book we previously read. When you read about tiny Kristin struggling with the huge horses, with big clumps of earth flying everywhere, you knew she was devoted and not taking the easy way out. 

Some of the things we enjoyed most about this book, were the surprises along the way. The contrast of her helping kill a hog in an Agnes B. blouse, could have been the path to disaster, but instead really symbolized how she was the rare New Yorker who could give up her big city ways and sink her roots into the farm earth. Adored the story of her seeking out mean cats to deal with rats. Also great, was how she embraced the local community, and learned their ways.  We especially loved the non-conversational visitors who would literally just hang out.  Best of all, we felt like we learned a lot reading this book (of course we all already knew that bacon is the gateway meat away from vegetarianism).

Her relationship with her sweetie was fascinating to us.  The way he put her off completely the first time they met, only to decide he would marry her once they actually spent a little time together. We loved how his (sexy) unwavering vision helped her to let go and embrace the experience fully.  And his magic circle was pretty amazing...particularly with the baby bull whose botched castration paid big time.

Our only frustrations were there were not enough pictures, and not enough recipes.  There were some places more elaboration would have been nice but over there was great details.

Much of the book was drool-worthy, but the scene that really stood out was when they took over Thanksgiving dinner at her parent's house.  Mmmm.

Someone mentioned a good source of local meat pies:

Our menu for the night was marvelous:

 Dawn – scrapple

Barbara – pasta chicken salad and wine

Deanna - Organic roasted chicken with roasted root vegetables

Heather McN – apple pie

Jazmin - cheese and landjäger

Julie B. – stuffed peppers

Julie D. -- chicken pot pie

Katie S. – sauteed kale and butternut squash

Katie W. – Potato Leek soup

Laura – pickles and veggies

Madeline - cherries

Sonja – homebaked bread + butter + hard cider

Sunny S. – fruit tray

Such bounty!

Next month we will be meeting again at our usual location, and discussing Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites by Kate Christensen.  All Sno-Isle copies are checked out so if you have a KCLS, SPL, or EPL card you will probably have better luck with them.

Looking forward to seeing you in April!

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