flightbehavior

Set in rural Appalachia, Flight Behavior introduces readers to fiery haired Dellaboria Turnbow, a 28-year-old mother of two and wife of sweet, but dull Cub. After getting pregnant at 17, she traded college for rural poverty — helping her in-laws on their sheep farm.  We meet Dellaboria as she makes her way toward an adulterous rendezvous, which she skips after seeing what “looked like the inside of joy” that she interprets as a sign from God.  Her vision turns out to be a sea of Monarch butterflies that arrive in rural Tennessee after changing weather patterns disturb their flight behavior.  The butterflies bring in a cast of characters — from environmental activists to scientists to tourists to journalists — that push Dellaboria to challenge her expectations of herself and those around her.

This book reads as deeply personal, with Kingsolver’s fondness for these characters only matched by the urgency in her description of possible near-future effects of climate change.  Kingsolver lives in rural Appalachia (and has a background in ecology and biology), and you can tell that she looks on her home with a mix of affection and frustration.  She writes Dellaboria and her family and friends with enough respect to make them complicated, thoughtful, intelligent, and flawed.  Readers that enjoyed Kingsolver’s other forays into family and politics in  The Poisonwood Bible and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle will enjoy this beautifully written novel.  

 

 

cooking-greenWe’ve all become very aware of our environment, it’s perilous condition and how we impact it every day. Many of us have taken steps to reduce this “carbon footprint” by recycling, using less energy, cutting back where we can. But have you considered your “cookprint”?

In Cooking Green Kate Heyhoe explains that your cookprint is the environmental impact produced by your kitchen, then clearly advises you on how to reduce yours. A lot of her ideas are common sense – buying Energy Star appliances for instance – but some are techniques you may not be familiar with. For instance, she advocates passive cooking which takes advantage of residual heat – start your lasagna in a cold oven, then turn it off 15 minutes early leaving the oven door closed till finished. You’re still cooking the foods you want, just doing it smarter.

Heyhoe looks at each zone in the kitchen (cooking, cleaning, refrigerating) and discusses the best green alternatives. She also talks about the food itself – buy local as much as possible, consider the impact of production and transportation of other foods, eat more plants than animals. She explores the higher environmental costs of meat and seafood, but offers smart, simple ways to reduce their negative impact.

Of course, who would go green in the kitchen if there wasn’t anything good to eat? Heyhoe addresses that too, including 50 delicious recipes, from main course to vegetables to desert, with tips and ideas on the best way to prepare them. Each recipe has a “green meter” which tells you exactly what you’re saving (in energy, time and money) The dishes are simple and practical and would be a great way to help you take advantage of seasonal foods from the farmer’s markets.

This fun and fascinating book will entertain and educate the cook and non-cook alike.