If you are having trouble figuring out how to incorporate storable foods in your everyday cooking or are having trouble getting your family converted to the need for food storage, you will probably find some ideas in this book that will help you.
The focus audience for this book is primarily Latter-day Saint families living in the Intermountain West. The storage foods Crystal focuses on are those available at the LDS Church Home Storage Centers except for the powdered eggs.
Crystal presents 8 steps to obtaining and
incorporating storage foods into your everyday diet:
Step 1 – “Getting Your Family Involved” presents three Family Home Evening lessons that combine the practical with the spiritual. These lessons will work best with children who can read well and have a reasonable attention span. Lesson #1 “Come and Dine” teaches the importance of eating together as a family and asks you to make a list of everyone’s favorite meals. Lesson #2 “The Recipe for Eternal Life” teaches the importance of recipes, how to read a recipe and how to find recipes in a cookbook. Lesson #3 “The Word of Wisdom” helps your family plan balanced meals.
Step 2 – “Creating Your Three-Month Supply” gets you started on obtaining foods for your 3-month supply. There is supposed to be a direct connection between Step 1 and Step 2 but it’s not clear how to make that connection. It’s simply not addressed, only assumed, that you will make a list of ingredients to make the meals you came up with in Family Home Evening lesson #3. She does give you a list of suggested foods to store, though. The list, however, is missing canned meat, yeast, herbs and spices.
Step 3 – “Building Your One-Year Supply” gives a suggested list of foods to include in your one-year supply but they vary drastically in shelf life from 1 year to 30+ years. Then she discusses five storage foods and includes their nutrition, where to buy them, how to store them and how much to store as well as other information. The 5 foods are powdered milk, powdered eggs, wheat, dry beans, and dried fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the research isn’t thorough, not all the information is complete, some information is incorrect and the terminology isn’t always correct.
The remaining 5 steps help you learn to use the 5 foods discussed in Step 3. Storage foods are incorporated into recipes you likely already use, however, the recipes still rely heavily on fresh and frozen ingredients.
Step 4 “Using Powdered Milk” uses non-instant milk in the recipes. She forgets to tell you, though, that you can use a blender to mix this kind of milk and that it’s much easier than using a wire whip. My recommendation instead of measuring out powder and water all the time – keep some mixed and ready to use in your refrigerator.
Step 5 “Using Powdered Eggs” is more of an irritation to me than anything useful. If you feel like you just couldn’t survive without eggs in your food storage, this will help you learn to use them but she is promoting powdered eggs using false information. In step 3, she claims that there are 12-1/2 dozen large eggs in a #10 can. What she apparently hasn’t realized is that not all #10 cans are alike in weight and number of eggs. Not all egg powders mix in the same proportion with water, either. And powdered eggs end up being a lot more than the $1.60/dozen she claims because few brands actually have 12-1/2 dozen large eggs in the can. She has apparently obtained her information on shelf life from some specific commercial sites but a recent BYU study has shown the shelf life of powdered eggs to be only 1 year. It should be obvious that I am not a fan of powdered eggs so I am probably biased in this part of my review. I feel that they are an almost useless expense when there are so many eggless recipes and egg substitutes available. Leave powdered eggs to the military and the baking industry!
Step 6 “Using Whole Wheat” teaches how to use cooked whole wheat, cracked wheat and whole wheat flour. She gives the impression that you can substitute whole wheat flour for white flour cup for cup in all recipes which is not true but she does use whole wheat flour in recipes that hide it well. She also includes a dough enhancer substitute which is useful.
Step 7 “Using Dried Beans” teaches how to use dehydrated refried beans and dried beans in cooking and also how to use cooked beans as a fat substitute. You cannot, however, expect a recipe you use all the time to be exactly the same when you substitute beans for fat.
Step 8 “Using Dried Vegetables and Fruits” concentrates on those available at the LDS Church Home Storage Centers – potato flakes, dried apples, dried onions, and dried carrots. The sections on dried apples and dried carrots are quite useful since there are not a lot of recipes available from other sources. Don’t forget, though, that when containers of these foods are opened, they are more susceptible to humidity, light and spoilage than grains or beans. I personally don’t consider these foods as “basics” or foundation foods in a food storage program. They are expanded storage – good for variety and nutrition but not versatile survival foods.
There are a lot of helpful tools in this book. “Tips” are inserted wherever helpful. Comments from her website are found in a lot of the recipe sections and she has “Action Steps” throughout the book to help you set goals and practice using storage foods.
As an author and text designer, I also pay attention to layout, font and illustrations in a book. I feel like this book was put together too quickly. It was not carefully proofed. There are more errors than I find acceptable. The script font used to write the recipe comments is not easy to read. The photography could be sharper and the lighting better. The main graphic used throughout the book could be more subject appropriate and lent itself better to divider strips and picture framing.
Would I recommend this book? If you haven’t yet found a method that helps you and your family get started and keep going on your food storage, you might find something here to help. If you already have some experience in food storage, this could give you a few new things to try but doesn’t need to be an essential part of your food storage library.
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