Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Book Review - The Feast Nearby

The second book that I read this year was The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on forty dollars a week).

The author, Robin Mather, detailed her everyday life through a year. Laid out by season, the book moves from spring to summer, and then into fall and winter. In each chapter, she shares experiences she had at home, with neighbors, and in the community.

At the conclusion of each chapter, she has several seasonal recipes that use produce that is typically available at that time of the year.

I was inspired reading how Mather thoughtfully built her pantry, freezer, and shelves with canned goods, dehydrated produce, and a wide variety of vegetables. She determined how much food of each type that she would need during the upcoming year and preserved it in a variety of ways.

Essentially what she was doing was creating a bank account from which she could draw against for the upcoming year. Her goal was to deplete it by the time the produce would be available again.

By having such a well-stocked pantry, she only had to purchase essentials at the grocery store - like milk and butter.

She also recommended doing a couple of hours of canning or preserving each week rather than buying huge quantities of produce and preserving it at one time. Canning a few quarts of tomatoes is a lot easier than preparing and canning a bushel of tomatoes.

Mather also wrote about how she preserved some produce in the basement which was about 38 degrees. She tied onions in pantyhose; and would put carrots and other root vegetables in slightly-wet sand.

These are some of the same things that my parents did when I was growing up. When my mom sent me to the basement to get an onion, I went into the storage room and cut off one section of the pantyhose and brought her an onion to use for the dinner.

I'd like to be more focused on food preservation during 2017, and have a more diverse pantry than I have had in the past. The Feast Nearby shows the value in doing this - and how much money can be saved in the long-term.


Rita said...

Some of the old ways are still the best ways. :)

Garner Goings On said...

Thanks for reviewing this book. I just added it to my reading list! :)