My husband keeps getting this dream that we are self-sustainable. I listen, but always end up telling him, “I don’t need anymore work.” He returns a look that’s dazed and confused. For him, growing up in the Bay Area of California, I can see how this could be something he wants to try. Me, I lived in rural North Carolina and I remember the work of mending fences, catching the animals (usually the horses) the escaped and leading them back to our property. I remember counting chickens at night, trying to gather them all back to their coop. I’m just too tired to do it all again.
Then comes Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafziger. They are more like my husband, both California city dwellers with day jobs. They are kinda like me, old fashioned in their taste, in favor of saving those precious skills that people never thing of doing anymore–I darn socks!
Albala and Nafziger are taking us back from 2012 to the 1890s in their book, The Lost Arts of Hearth & Home: The Happy Luddite’s Guide to Domestic Self-Sufficiency, (Perigee Hardcover; $23.00 October 2, 2012). It’s a recondite treasury of arcane secrets.
Two summers ago, I followed my Zac down the path of organic and that lead to us on this adventure to make Kombucha. Neither one of us knew anything about it, but we tried. We concocted some nasty stuff…although Zac drank his and put on his “thumbs up” face just to convince me his recipe was perfect (if only in comparison to mine). It was wild. I could have used The Lost Arts of Hearth & Home that summer.
This book explains the mysteries of the kitchen and cupboard in laymen terms, helping anyone who wants in on this journey the ability. They offer material and spiritual profit through self-suffiiency to anyone willing to step back to unplugged labor, diligent application of economic principles derived from our esteemed forebears in matters both esculent and domestic.
Recipes and Instructions include:
Rings for Weddings or Amusement
Pickled Pig’s Feet
Fish Head Stew
Thousand Year Old Eggs
Apple Cider Doughnuts
The Simple Broom
A Fornax Oven
Anyone looking for simpler times and wanting to find self-sufficience will enjoy this book. It’s practical and offers some great information.
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