Last week I wrote an article in the Glidden Graphic about how I would like to read more books this year. (You can read all my articles by hovering over the Glidden Graphic tab and clicking the story you want to read)
“A few months ago, I decided that 2015 would be the year that I attempt to finish reading the books I have bought over the years. Many of them have sat abandoned on my bookshelf with just a chapter or two for years. None of them are hard reads and most of them could be finished in an afternoon – I just have lost the time to read them.
Actually, that is a lie – I know exactly where my time has been going. Social Media has tarnished my love for books. When I was growing up, I would read a book every day. I spent an entire summer reading the Series of Unfortunate Events – I missed so many pool parties and sleepovers. In high school, I would accidentally stay up all night because I was so involved in Queen Elizabeth’s life that I couldn’t bear to put the book down. I would turn down invitations to go to the movies or out to dinner with my friends because I just had to find out what happened to Frodo and his cursed ring in the next chapter. When I graduated and moved out of my parents house- I donated over 100 books to the school library and I had read every page at least once. It was magical – every book held a memory for me; like it was a secret between only my book and I. But when I got to college, I traded my books in for Facebook. I stopped flipping pages and started scrolling through news feeds. So this year, I am going to read those abandoned books. I am going to step away from Facebook long enough to reconnect with some long lost friends held captive by the pages they live on. My goal is to read one book a month, after all – I still have to write a blog, news articles, clean my house, feed my husband, craft and farm. I am also going to read the bible this year – the whole thing. Granted, I already failed a little there because I had to read days 1 – 5 on Monday since I forgot about it.
I hope you’ll join me this year in stepping away from Facebook and leaping into a good book.”
This week, I am happy to report that I actually read an entire book that was on my list! It was so fulfilling to read a book so quickly. Now, staying true to my word, I am giving you my book review!
The Call of the Farm: An Unexpected Year of Getting Dirty, Home Cooking and Finding Myself by Rochelle Bilow
“A tantalizing memoir of the author’s love affair with farming, food, and a freckle-faced farmer—and her journey of self-discovery along the way
Rochelle Bilow, a classically trained cook and aspiring food writer, was nursing a broken heart and frustrated with her yet-to-take-off career when she set out to write a short profile of a small, sustainable CSA farm in central New York. At most, she expected to come away with a cute city-girl-in-the-country piece. But after just one day of moving hay bales, feeding pigs, and tapping maple sap, she was hooked: The air was fresh, her muscles felt useful, and the smells from the kitchen where the farmhands gathered at day’s end were intoxicating.
Add in a sweet but enigmatic young farmer whose soulful gaze meets her own, and The Call of the Farm is set in motion. This enticing memoir charts the unexpected year that unfolds as Rochelle immerses herself in life at the farm. She cooks her way through four seasons of fresh-from-the-earth produce (with such tantalizing results as Blistered Tomato Gratin and Crisped Potato Casserole with Shaved Chives), grapples more than once with the finer points of rendering lard, and begins to feel she has finally found her niche—all while falling hard for that handsome, blue-eyed farmer.
Honest, self-aware, and wonderfully tender, The Call of the Farm is for anyone who has daydreamed about a simpler life—or fallen too deeply in love.
With 20 seasonal recipes for farm-inspired fare”
That is what the back cover says about the book, now let me tell you what I thought of it. PS this is FULL of spoiler alerts.
When I bought The Call of the Farm, I didn’t realize it was a true story – I don’t know how I missed that part but it was a nice surprise. An even nicer surprise was that after each season (read: chapter), Rochelle gives you her recipes that she wrote about in that season and all of them feature fresh seasonal ingredients. I LOVE these recipes – I cannot wait to use the fresh vegetables right out of my garden. I also LOVE this book in a weird “I’ll never read this again but I want to plant my garden now” type of way. Rochelle loves the manual labor involved in her CSA Farm life. I hate the manual labor that my garden takes, but she has a way of writing about weeding the fields that makes me want to go weed my garden RIGHT NOW – even with 4 inches of snow covering it. Her eagerness to learn all the ins and outs of farming was really refreshing but at the same time, I felt bad for the people whom she farms for because they are teaching her all of these things and spending so much time helping her and (SPOILER ALERT) she is just going to leave them at the end of the year because she can’t handle a break up.
Speaking of the break up, I saw this coming from a mile away and she so obviously didn’t. (Please take what I am about to say as a lesson for EVERYONE.) When a guy says he is confused and he doesn’t know if he really wants to be with you but he is happy with just “ya know, being ‘friends’ and hanging out” and RUN! I don’t care if he picks you flowers all the time and sets up super romatic dinner settings, RUN. Get out of there. Don’t give him a year to make up his mind because at the end of it all if he does choose to be with you, he will probably be super resentful about it and blame you for anything bad that happens because you “forced him into this”. OR he will stick with his original gut feeling of not wanting to settle down with you and you will have wasted an entire year waiting for this guy to make up his mind. Not only will you have wasted a lot of time but you, like Rochelle, will put way more effort and emotions into the relationship because you are trying to win his heart and make him choose you. If someone loves you, they will give you their heart. You won’t have to win it. The break up literally takes the entire final season and I raced through the end of the book just to be done with it. She wrote it so well that it was as though I had her sitting in front of me sobbing, making super cringe worthy choices. And I couldn’t make her stop. I am not one to wallow; I tend to lean towards “get over it and move on” so it was a tough read there at the end.
All in all, this is good book. A very easy, light read. It gives you a nice behind the scenes look into the life at a CSA Farm. It also gives you a great look into the minds of the 20 somethings of my generation who can’t figure out what they want to do with their lives. And as a bonus, you get 20 super awesome recipes. Also, if you want to know what some of the things she talks about in the book look like, take a peak at her Instagram account. It is basically a gallery of food porn and gorgeous farming pictures. And its kind of like peaking into her life while she was living the book out. Anyways though, this book wont change your life, but if you have the time – read it!
Ps. This is how helpful my cat is when I write my blog posts.