- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press; All on $40 a Week edition (May 24, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 158008558X
- ISBN-13: 978-1580085588
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 121 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 $40 a week) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 24, 2011
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The recipes are lovely, simple, and just-gourmet-enough ...such as whole strawberries in balsamic-black pepper syrup; butternut squash with honey, cherry vinegar, and chipotle ... all have a reason for being in the book. --Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Robin Mather is a Michigan native and third-generation journalist whose passion for food and its sources has taken her around the country and the world. She is a two-time James Beard Award finalist for feature writing on food, and her work has been syndicated in newspapers and magazines across North America and abroad.
Mather was the food editor of the Detroit News, a senior writer at Cooking Light magazine, and most recently, a staff reporter for the food section of the Chicago Tribune. She also started and ran a small goat dairy from 1995 to 2000 in Mississippi. Her first book, A Garden of Unearthly Delights: Bioengineering and the Future of Food, was the first to expose genetic modification of crops and livestock (and its consequences for the food supply) for a broad market. She lives in a 650-square-foot cottage on a small lake in southwest Michigan, where she is eight miles from the nearest street light. Visit her online at thefeastnearby.com.
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Other reviewers have commented that they wished she wrote more about her experience with losing a job and a marriage in the same week. I initially felt the same way, but when I thought about it further, writing about divorce and job loss would most likely have turned a delightful book into a gloomy one. Mather’s determination to focus on what she had, rather than what she lacked, was a wise decision.
But I do agree that the book felt a bit too impersonal at times. Mather would often open a chapter with something non-food related: watching a sunrise, watching a firefly outside her bedroom window, entertaining houseguests, making a trip into town. She would then segue into a discussion of a particular food or type of food: how to preserve it, ways to cook it, and all kinds of interesting facts about the food. But often, I felt the writing could have been improved if she hadn’t focused quite so much of her time on talking about the food. She has a charming narrative voice that comes out more clearly when talking about personal experiences.
Robin is re-inventing herself after loss of a marriage & loss of her job, but there is not one word of bitterness, only healing and going on with a simpler life. I think her sense of acceptance of life and lack of bitterness is what struck me most. Many adults these days spend years being single, whether before or after marriages/relationships, so most of us can relate. I also appreciated that her move to simpler living was inspired by economics and neighborliness, and that in her book she is apolitical, which is refreshing in itself these days. Most of all, when I read her book, I feel relaxed and peaceful, as well as inspired to try some of these recipes from local food, and that Robin would make a delightful person to know.
My one regret is that I bought this book for my Kindle, and I wish I had bought it hardcover instead. Kindle seems to work better for reading stories than for perusing cookbooks and recipes -- although I don't have a Kindle Fire yet, so it might be easier to read on that.
Enjoy your visit with neighbor Robin as you read this book! Robin, feel free to write another. :)