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Review of The Feast Nearby

August 18, 2011

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)

Robin Mather has written a lovely book from what could have been a calamitous story.  When middle-aged Mather suddenly finds herself both out of a job and a marriage, she doesn’t despair – too much.  Instead, she heads for the Michigan woods and begins anew learning how to live the good life in a cottage with her dog, parrot and newly acquired kitten.  Along the way, she figures out how to feed herself on forty dollars a week and lessen her carbon footprint by buying locally and preserving fruits and vegetables.  The book is full of helpful hints for readers who want to know how to slow things down and start living more simply while eating better and enjoying the gifts of friendship and downtime.  Included is basic info on loads of topics ranging from canning, roasting coffee beans and to chickens.  She also includes great recipes using the fruits of the seasons.  Mather touches on the politics of food but this is not a heavy-handed treatise on why everyone needs to go local or buy organic.  It’s more like a gentle nudge.   The Feast Nearby is a very pleasurable read that I highly recommend.

This book is for you if you liked Dominique Browning’s Slow Love:  How I lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found happiness.

Ten Speed Press, 2011

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