Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: 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)
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on October 23, 2011
Fantastic book! Well written and, on my part, well read! Ms. Mather doesn't glass over the difficulty involved in living as she does, with intention in every step. She does start out with a great knowledge and love of good food as well as how to obtain it. Thankfully, she also shares with us the way to find that good food and why. We also learn along with her. And we get a lot of usable information on how take the first steps.
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on May 19, 2013
Love it, love it, love it!!!!!!!! I could not put it down! I could relate to her financial story, (just different circumstances), I too grew up in a household where my mother cooked using whole and local foods, and we all got involved in the canning and freezing process each fall. My dad made wine and I made grape jelly after we went to the farmers market for grapes. I cook with whole food today as well, and eat very little processed food. I really liked her background; this added so much to her knowledge base, and now mine. I have my own index using post it notes where I will need quick reference to try some of her ideas and recipes in my own kitchen. And, I will be looking to purchase her 1st book. I too am outraged at where large corporations have taken food in this country; OUTRAGED!
Wonderful story. Sorry about her beloved dog; I too lost 2 dogs around that same time. I wish the best for Robin and all her future endevors.
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on September 12, 2011
I got this book from the library and read it BEFORE ordering it from amazon. As always shipping was timely. The story line is a little choppy because it is a series of essays, more like snapshots really. They give a good overview of her year and each chapter has recipes. The recipes were really why I bought the boo glad that I did. Have made several. My family loves the Morrocan roasted beet salad.
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on December 15, 2011
I checked this book out from a local library. I am a foodie and always gravitate towards these types of books. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Mather's narrative. While one review claimed she didn't write enough about her inner turmoil over having lost a job and a husband and having her life change to a totally different lifestyle (which is true), it was still exceptionally good. What I particularly appreciated was her comments about eating locally as much as she could, but she wasn't a purist about it. If a local company used ingredients from other states or countries to make their own products, she still purchased them as these companies put local people to work. Her statement that "people who make a lot of noise about strictly buying local, it is more about their political agenda" struck home. Honestly, does anyone wants to eat bad food, breathe dirty air, or drink contaminated water? Of course not! But we all do the best we can. Eat locally as much as possible. Support businesses in your community. Ms. Mather claims to do this, embracing her new lifestyle, and surviving quite well with less. Lovely and practical recipes are numerous. We could all learn something from this book.
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on April 15, 2016
Not at all what you would expect from the title. I was hoping to hear more about her trials and successes coping with her circumstances and small budget but it was overly informative in ways you wouldn't expect or require (ex. The trials of being a small scale butcher).

I also wasn't fond of the authors tone; it felt almost completely emotionless. So much so that I want to look up an interview just to see if she really speaks that way.

I really wanted to love it but it felt like watching a slow documentary that never picked up steam.
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on June 23, 2013
This is a nice peaceful book, which, considering how it opens, is amazing. Losing her husband, job and way of life is a tough opening act. But she prevails. I wonder if it wasn't her enforced frugality that helped in her healing. Had she unlimited funds would she still have found her neighbors and community and the bounty to be reaped by being a small member thereof? I don't know. What I do know is that having gotten this book from the library I am now wanting my own copy because this is a keeper.
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on September 25, 2012
After finishing "The Dirty Life," I started this wonderful memoir about a fellow food journalist who god divorced, downsized and began an incredibly fascinating life in her family's Michigan cottage. As a native Michiganian and nascent locovore, I was intrigued. I couldn't put the book down!

While foraging is not something I have access to, it has always intrigued me. I like the idea of bartering for food, too.

The author shares just enough personal information to keep the book interesting, but she doesn't overdo it. The recipes are the kind of hearty, healthy food I enjoy.

All in all, a good read. And it's very well written.
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on August 18, 2013
It was encouraging to read about someone who didn't let bad things take over their life. Even though she had every 'reason' to. For those trying to live a simpler life, who haven't had as many bad things happen in a week, it gave no
excuses.
Thank you for writing this.
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on July 22, 2011
When I saw the subtitle, I suspected I was going to love this book of "essays and recipes." And I did, the essays most of all.

Piquant, wry, self-deprecating, thoughtful, and deeply interesting for those of us who really consider the sustainability of our actions and choices, Robin's voice --- the way she combines big issues and small experiences, personal and global --- is unique and vibrant. Chapter 5, about her delighted adventures and observations as she raised some Golden Comet chicks, given to her by a kind neighbor, into adult chickenhood, is especially fine. Somehow, and I still don't know quite how she did it so gracefully, she transitioned into a discussion of one uber-non-local and much -loved product, coffee. Her discussion of terms like "farm gate" "fair trade" and "organic" are well-informed and thoughtful, her linking of her morning cup with her own travels and observations years back in Chiapas brilliant and poignant, her choices as a discriminating coffee drinker (to roast her own beans; to use only arabica) will delight any cook.

An optimistic read, celebrating resilience, self-reliance, friends, neighbors, the passage of time and cycles in nature, and the power of a really good cookie to help you get by.
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on May 31, 2011
Robin Mather's writings on food have been a source of pleasure for her fans going back more years than we'll count. She's a former colleague and longtime friend (I'm thanked in the acknowledgements), so this clearly is a biased review. The biggest take-away: Paying attention to how and what we eat is one of the ways in which we engage our community. And Robin's essays display exactly how rewarding that can be. This isn't a work of locavore polemics. It is a look at life through a very personal lens, and a lesson on the redemptive powers of taking time to contemplate what most take for granted -- how we nourish ourselves.
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