Within a single week in 2009, food journalist Robin Mather found herself on the threshold of a divorce and laid off from her job at the Chicago Tribune. Forced into a radical life change, she returned to her native rural Michigan.
There she learned to live on a limited budget while remaining true to her culinary principles of eating well and as locally as possible. In The Feast Nearby, Mather chronicles her year-long project: preparing and consuming three home-cooked, totally seasonal, and local meals a day -- all on $40 a week.
With insight and humor, Mather explores the confusion and needful compromises in eating locally. She examines why local often trumps organic, and wonders why the USDA recommends white bread, powdered milk and instant orange drinks as part of its “low-cost” food budget program.
Through local eating, Mather forges connections with the farmers, vendors and growers who provide her with sustenance. She becomes more closely attuned to the nuances of each season, inhabiting her little corner of the world more fully, and building a life richer than she imagined it could be.
The Feast Nearby celebrates small pleasures: home-roasted coffee, a pantry stocked with home-canned green beans and homemade preserves, and the contented clucking of laying hens in the backyard. Mather also draws on her rich culinary knowledge to present nearly 100 seasonal recipes that are inspiring, enticing and economical -- cooking goals that don’t always overlap -- such as Pickled Asparagus with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic; Cider-Braised Pork Loin with Apples and Onions; and Cardamom-Coffee Toffee Bars.
Mather’s poignant, reflective narrative shares encouraging advice for aspiring locavores everywhere, and combines the virtues of kitchen thrift with the pleasures of cooking -- and eating -- well.
Robin is the senior associate editor of Mother Earth News.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books and products to readers. For more than 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America's "Original Guide to Living Wisely," creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Author: Robin Mather
In the face of political impotence, looming resource depletion, and catastrophic climate change, many of us have become reconciled to an uncertain future. However, popular perception of how this future might actually unfold varies wildly from "a severe and prolonged recession," to James Howard Kunstler's "Long Emergency," to the complete breakdown of civilization. In The Five Stages of Collapse, Dmitry Orlov posits a taxonomy of collapse, offering a surprisingly optimistic perspective on surviving the sweeping changes of the day with health and sanity intact.
Arguing that it is during periods of disruption and extreme uncertainty that broad cultural change becomes possible, Orlov steers the reader through the challenges of financial, commercial, and political collapse. He suggests that if the first three stages are met with the appropriate responses, further breakdown may be arrested before the extremes of social and cultural collapse are reached.
Drawing on a detailed examination of post-collapse societies, including the Somali people of Africa, the Pashtuns of Afghanistan, the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe, and even the Russian Mafia, The Five Stages of Collapse describes successful adaptations in areas such as finance, self-governance, social organization, and culture. These fascinating case studies provide a unique perspective on the characteristics that determine highly resilient communities. Shot through with Orlov's trademark dark humor, this is an invaluable toolkit for creating workable post-collapse solutions.
Author: Dmitry Orlov
The domestic cut flower business has experienced a renaissance in the past decade, thanks in large part to the first edition of The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers, which helped thousands of small growers start successful businesses.
Author: Lynn Byczynski
Small steps can create big changes in your community’s food quality and food security, helping to get more healthy food to more people and support a better food system. Ali Berlow shows you dozens of things that anyone can do, from creating a neighborhood kitchen for preserving fresh food to mapping farmland, connecting food pantries with food producers, starting a school garden, and organizing a community composting initiative. Every action you take can help keep farmers on the land and family farms intact, keep money in the local economy, reduce the carbon footprint associated with food transportation, and preserve local landscapes. If you’ve had enough of E. coli scares, disappearing farmland, pesticide problems and hunger in your community, this inspiring book will show you exactly how one person can make a difference.
Author: Ali Berlow
The book remains one of the most frequently cited and talked about works on food politics. It was one of the first to expose the dangers inherent in our factory farming system, to advocate a complete plant-based diet, and to discuss the negative health effects of eating genetically modified foods and animal products of all kinds.
Author: John Robbins
The Forgotten Pollinators explores the vital but little-appreciated relationship between plants and the animals they depend on for reproduction: bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, bats and countless other animals -- some widely recognized and other almost unknown.
Author: Gary Nabhan
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Fresh-from-the-chicken eggs are increasingly available everywhere, offering great nutrition and unbeatable flavor. Whether you’re collecting your eggs from a backyard coop or buying them at farmers’ markets and local farms, Jennifer Trainer Thompson has 101 delicious recipes to help you make the most of them. She includes a wealth of breakfast favorites with new twists, from the perfect soft-boiled egg to French toast, omelets, eggs Florentine, and huevos rancheros. Fresh eggs shine in classic dishes such as Caesar salad, spaghetti carbonara, eggnog, deviled eggs, and homemade mayonnaise. And you’ll love Thompson’s creative recipes for every meal of the day, from smoothies and appetizers to casseroles and stews.
Author: Jennifer Trainer Thompson
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The lost art of thrift is rediscovered in this cookbook through a wealth of fantastic recipes, from budget breakfasts — Spring Vegetable Frittata or French Toast with Polish Cherries — to easy midweek suppers, such as Thai Beef Salad or Linguine with Stilton and Onion. In a time when about a third of all the food purchased is thrown out, this book is ideal for anyone who is eager to cut out waste and make the most of everything bought.
With a full glossary of ingredients and ideas for how to use them, as well as a myriad of thrifty tips that promise to transform even the sorriest leftover into an inventive and tasty meal, this is a kitchen manual that no home can afford to be without.
Author: Fiona Beckett
Christophe Pourny learned the art of furniture restoration in his father’s atelier in the south of France. In this, his first book, he teaches readers everything they need to know about the provenance and history of furniture, as well as how to restore, update and care for it—from antiques to midcentury pieces, family heirlooms and funky flea-market finds. The heart of the book is an overview of Pourny’s favorite techniques—ceruse, vernis anglais and water gilding, among many others—with full-color step-by-step photographs to ensure that readers can easily replicate each refinishing technique at home. Pourny brings these techniques to life with a chapter devoted to real-world refinishing projects, from a veneered table to an ebonized desk, a gilt frame to a painted northern European hutch. Rounding out this comprehensive guide is care and maintenance information, including how to properly clean leather, polish hardware, fix a broken leg and replace felt pads, as well as recipes to make your own wax, shellac, varnish, stain, and more.
Author: Christope Pourny
All gardeners are at the whim of Mother Nature, and most are obsessed with weather. When is the last frost? What is the chance for rain? Will late-spring hail affect my flower beds? The answers to questions like these play a significant role in a gardener’s success.
The Gardener’s Guide to Weather and Climate gives home gardeners an accessible yet comprehensive overview of how the weather works, and offers tips on how to use the information to create better gardens. The book begins with a primer on climate and moves on to cover climate change, weather, microclimates, and how plants are affected by the climate and their environment. Throughout, the reader will find hundreds of helpful color photographs and illustrations that bring the concepts to life.
Though climate change is a serious threat, this useful book remains positive and upbeat in its approach. It shows that instead of gardening at the mercy of the weather, knowledgeable gardeners can make the weather work for them.
Author: Michael Allaby
Most of the processed foods on supermarket shelves (75%!) contain genetically engineered ingredients. These foods range from soda to soup, crackers to condiments, and their long-term effects on human health and ecology are still unknown. Public concern has been steadily intensifying. The GMO Deception, the new book from the Council for Responsible Genetics, gathers the best, most thought-provoking essays by the leading scientists, science writers and public health advocates on this subject. They address such questions as:
This definitive book encourages us to think about the social, environmental and moral ramifications of where this particular branch of biotechnology is taking us, and what we should do about it.
Author: Sheldon Krimsky, Jeremy Gruber
A pioneering urban farmer and MacArthur "Genius Award" winner points the way to building a new food system that can feed-and heal-broken communities.
The son of a sharecropper, Will Allen had no intention of ever becoming a farmer himself. But after years in professional basketball and as an executive for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Procter & Gamble, Allen cashed in his retirement fund for a two-acre plot a half mile away from Milwaukee's largest public housing project. The area was a food desert with only convenience stores and fast-food restaurants to serve the needs of local residents.
In the face of financial challenges and daunting odds, Allen built the country's preeminent urban farm-a food and educational center that now produces enough vegetables and fish year-round to feed thousands of people. Employing young people from the neighboring housing project and community, Growing Power has sought to prove that local food systems can help troubled youths, dismantle racism, create jobs, bring urban and rural communities closer together, and improve public health. Today, Allen's organization helps develop community food systems across the country.
An eco-classic in the making, The Good Food Revolution is the story of Will's personal journey, the lives he has touched, and a grassroots movement that is changing the way our nation eats.
Author: Will Allen
The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat demystifies the process of getting meat to the table, and its wide scope will be welcome to those who not only wish to learn the rudiments of butchery, but also want to understand how meat animals are raised, slaughtered and marketed in a holistic system that honors both animals and consumers.
Author: Cole Ward, Karen Coshof
Greek yogurt is being touted as "the next superfood" and for good reason: It's delicious, low in fat, and has about 18 grams of protein per serving! Typically, it's a morning staple for those who swear by it, but The Greek Yogurt Cookbook expands the food beyond the quick breakfast or snack with 125 delicious Greek yogurt recipes for any time of day. From tantalizing marinades, sauces and dressings to hearty entrees bursting with flavor, delight in the rich taste, creamy texture and endless health benefits that Greek yogurt brings to every dish. Featuring creative and delicious swaps and substitutions, you will be treated to step-by-step instructions for creating a variety of Greek yogurt recipes like:
With additional information on making your own yogurt at home, The Greek Yogurt Cookbook is the all-in-one cooking guide for anyone looking to get the superfood into their diet!
Author: Lauren Kelly
It’s said that the greenest building is the one that’s already built, because so much energy is embodied in the existing structure.
With greater public awareness of the need for energy independence, the issue of how we can make our existing homes more resource-efficient is becoming ever more critical. Residential buildings make up a large fraction of our energy needs, largely due to heating and air-conditioning. So it’s no longer enough to simply do the small stuff, like switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, or turning down the thermostat at night.
In The Greened House Effect, author Jeff Wilson brings his twenty-five years of construction experience and hands-on knowledge of home building to bear on making our current houses cleaner, greener, more comfortable, and healthier. Think of a deep energy retrofit (DER) as a “whole home makeover”—one that represents a significant investment, but that saves money from the get-go by capturing the energy you “drop on the ground” every month, every year, through inefficiency, poor design, or simply living in a typical older home. This isn’t a book about freezing in the dark, but a solution that allows us to live more comfortably while making a positive impact in the world.
“We can’t buy our way out of the current and impending crises with the latest and greatest high-tech. We can’t buy our way out of it by simply replacing our old stuff with newer, “greener” stuff. That approach only assures that we will continue to experience the vicious circle of energy waste and dependence. I would argue, though, that we can save our way out of these problems,” writes Wilson.
Using his own family’s retrofit of their 1942 home as a prime example, Wilson weaves a readable narrative at a practical, hammer-and-nail level. He presents the solutions to our building and energy problems, making them seem possible for average homeowners and small contractors by offering the right balance of information, skills, financing strategies, and materials.
Technical information is presented in sidebars and graphs, and numerous color photos illustrate the process, including:
Wilson’s building experience, along with his lifelong passion for energy issues, all come together to form an inspirational, can-do approach to making our community, our nation, and our world a better place—one home at a time.
Author: Jeff Wilson
Passive is the new green. Passive Houses, well-insulated and virtually airtight buildings, can decrease home heating consumption by an astounding 90 percent, making them not only an attractive choice for current and prospective homeowners, but also the right choice for a sustainable future. The Greenest Home showcases 18 of the world's most attractive Passive Houses by forward-thinking architects such as Bernheimer Architecture, Olson Kundig Architects and Onion Flats, among many others. Each case study consists of a detailed project description, plans and photographs. Including a mix of new construction and retrofit projects built in a variety of site conditions, The Greenest Home is an inspiring sourcebook for architects and prospective homeowners, as well as a useful tool for students and builders alike.
Author: Julie Torres Moskovitz
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On May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado destroyed the town of Greensburg in south central Kansas. In the desperate days immediately after the catastrophe, town leaders-including the ex-cop mayor, the city manager, and an environmentalist from Colorado - launched a program to rebuild Greensburg green. Just like the name of the town. Before the tornado, Greensburg was slowly dying, a village about to be buried in the Great Plains. Now it is a mecca for eco-tourists. Author Robert Fraga taught math for 20 years in Egypt, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. Later he taught at Ripon College in Wisconsin and Baker University in Kansas. His two books on mathematics are entitled Calculus Problems for a New Century and War Stories from Applied Math. He and his wife Jean Grant, parents of two grown children, live in Lawrence, Kan., and the Dordogne region of France.
Author: Robert Fraga
As the movement to eat what is grown locally gains momentum, there is an increasing awareness of how best to incorporate this philosophy into our everyday lives. We can grow our own food and buy food grown locally at food cooperatives and markets, but what happens when we eat out? There are a number of chefs around the country dedicated to using only the freshest, locally grown ingredients in all the dishes they prepare and serve. This book takes the reader on a private tour of outstanding chefs of the Long Island area and their gardens. Each profile reflects the chef's personal style, cultural background, desire for healthy, just-picked ingredients, and gardening philosophy. Recipes, plant lists, garden layouts, and color photos are included.
Author: Leeann Lavin
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In The Healthy Home, a father and son -- Dr. Myron Wentz, well-known microbiologist and founder of the USANA Corporation, and Dave Wentz, CEO of the USANA Corporation -- take readers on a tour of a specific home for a look at the surprising health risks posed by the everyday products and behaviors of a modern family. Beginning in the bedroom and ending in the garage and backyard, readers learn about the degenerative effects of toxins in the home and receive simple solutions to help minimize exposure without forgoing convenience. The Healthy Home is not a comprehensive tome on modern health hazards, nor is it a treatise on eco-conscious living. Instead, the book focuses on the most important environment -- the home -- and the problems that can most easily be lessened or eliminated. Busy parents who suspect that they should be doing more to protect their family but don't know where to start will learn about practical changes they can make in the next 15 minutes, 15 days or 15 months to create a haven for healthier living.
Author: Dr. Myron Wentz, Dave Wentz
Tired of genetically modified food? Every day, Americans are moving more toward eating natural, locally grown food that is free of pesticides and preservatives ... and there is no better way to ensure this than to grow it yourself. Anyone can start a garden, whether in a backyard or on a city rooftop; but what they need to truly succeed is The Heirloom Life Gardener, a comprehensive guide to cultivating heirloom vegetables.
In this invaluable resource, Jere and Emilee Gettle, co-founders of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, offer a wealth of knowledge to every kind of gardener ... experienced pros and novices alike. In his friendly voice, complemented by gorgeous photographs, Jere gives planting, growing, harvesting and seed saving tips. In addition, an extensive A to Z Growing Guide includes amazing heirloom varieties that many people have never even seen. From seed collecting to the history of seed varieties and name origins, Jere takes you far beyond the heirloom tomato. This is the first book of its kind that is not only a guide to growing beautiful and delicious vegetables, but also a way to join the movement of people who long for real food and a truer way of living.
Author: Jere Gettle & Emilee Gettle