Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Pantry Suggestions

Some favorite books in "my room"

With the ongoing and worsening drought in our area, I have been spending time in the garden watering and trying to keep the "cool weather" veggies hanging on just a little longer.

There is something about standing in just a few separate spots and holding a water hose... doing nothing but turning the dial from sprinkle to jet to mist and back... that gives one a chance to ponder.

I was thinking thing past week about a few garden related Truths... 

One, that the garden is finally looking like I want, especially with the addition of flowers and "extras" here and there, which led me to...

Two, that the garden looks good because of everything I've learned from books and blogs... inspirations like my friends... Manuela (here) and Sharon Lovejoy (here) who has a blog and books.

I was so glad to have Sharon tell me I was not alone in the next Truth, which is...

Third, that most of what I've learned about gardening came from what did not work!

So, what does any of this have to do with the pantry?  Everything!  I truly believe God places on the heart of many of us to live a Pantry Lifestyle but few of us grew up with those skills.  We can spend the rest of our lives learning something new each day and still have lots to learn!

Even with my mother having lived through the Depression, I have had to be a student of such things as cooking frugally, gardening, baking, stocking up, preserving food, preparing for emergency situations, simple repairs, kitty paws that have allergic reactions, drying herbs for winter tea parties, etc. etc. etc.

I suppose being a bookish type person, I naturally lean toward learning all I can about a subject.  Except I am also a visual learner so my favorite learning tools are books with pictures, DVDs, PBS gardening shows, and having a real life person show me the "how to's" of what they are doing.

My original such books from the early years of marriage were a few of the famous Foxfire books (brand new back then) and books from Rodale.  I liked Organic Gardening magazine because it had pictures.

These days there are so many wonderful books available for a home Pantry Lifestyle library.  I thought I'd share the different kinds of books I keep in my library right now... with promises of more suggestions to come.

Intensive How-to Books
These are books which show me how to do whatever I am trying to learn.  I have such books in gardening, cooking, sewing, living a simple life,  homesteading, "back to basics", frugal living... just to mention a few.  ;)

The example of such a book I thought I'd share is Dare to Prepare.  People ask me all the time what books on emergency preparedness I would suggest (I guess these days one would call them prepper books.)  Well, if you can buy only one book make it Dare to Prepare, now in it's 4th Edition... by Holly Deyo.

It's not an inexpensive book but it takes the place of so many, it will save you money in the long run.  It is a huge book and for visual learners like me, Holly has filled it with pictures as well as "how to" instructions... from deepening the pantry to building a hand pump!

I read on their website that they recently got in a shipment after selling out (yet, again).  It is sold directly by the Deyo's... here.

Books that teach and inspire
On the other end of the spectrum would be books that are more general in nature but I read them for inspiration as well as the occasional how-to instructions.

A great example of this type of book is MaryJane"s Ideasbook-Cookbook-Lifebook by MaryJane Butters.  I used to check this book out of the library quite often for it was out of print (the three saddest words in the English language?) and it was selling for huge prices on Amazon used.

Thankfully, it finally got out of the stratosphere and back to a reasonable used price so I was able to get my own copy with credit.  This book is the poster child of the kind of book I use for inspiration as well as teaching some basic skills.

I find it amusing that on Amazon it gets some pretty bad reviews along with the people who absolutely love it.  I believe the people who give it such a bad review just don't "get it".  For it is not a book like Dare to Prepare which is made mainly for instruction.

No, the purpose of this book is to inspire readers toward their dreams with a touch of good instruction here and there.  These are the kinds of books I absolutely need to have on hand along with all the "how to" books.  I also have her book called Mary Jane's Stitching Room, which my friend, Linda, found for me at a used book store!

I would put all of my decorating and lifestyle books in this category.  Sometimes I will keep a stack of them on my coffee table just to peruse for encouragement... truly I read to know I am not alone.  :)

Books that can be read a little at a time
I have a lot of these kind of books which I set aside and read a chapter when I get a chance.  For instance, one such book I love to just read for fun is Sharon Lovejoy's little book called Trowel and Error.

Although Sharon has written more in-depth garden books, I love this book that has hundreds of individual "tips" and the most beautiful color illustrations (she is also an artist). 

While books with pictures are my favorite, I also love books such as Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride or Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard, both are easily read a little at a time.  They don't have pictures (a few illustrations here and there) but their words paint a picture.

I love cookbooks!  I read them the way some people read novels!

These past few years, my favorite cookbooks are those which offer great recipes but also inspire me toward a more wholesome lifestyle and way of eating.  The River Cottage books are from "across the pond" but they are delicious to read as well as eat the results.

I especially like to read such books when they are written for the entire family to use such as The River Cottage Family Cookbook.  Maybe it's because these days I like simple? Anyway, this book is great because it personifies the Pantry Lifestyle by teaching how to do a lot of things "from scratch".

Did you know you can learn a lot about living the Pantry Lifestyle by reading fiction?

The first book which came to my mind for this subject was Laura Ingalls Wilder's book from the Little House series called The Long Winter.  I have fond memories of this book, reading it aloud to Christopher one winter while he played with his Lego's... sigh... but I digress.

I love the way The Long Winter shows us how preparing the harvest to last through the winter was not only a good thing for people in past generations... it was necessary for their survival!

Titles which defy being typecast
Some books are in-depth while being easy to pick up and read while offering illustrations while being written in such a way you think it is fiction... but it is not.

The late Carla Emery's book is such a title, The Encyclopedia of Country Living.  I have read that the earliest copies of this book were more conversational and she talked more about her Christian living... but the newer copies are easier to read.


I know there are dozens and dozens more titles of books that are my own favorites but I'd have to turn this into a 100% book and pantry blog to share all of them.  I hope these give you some ideas.

Please feel free to share your favorites!


Anonymous said...

Brenda, The Long Winter is one of my favorite books and Laura's description of the pantry in the surveyor's house was the inspiration for my hubby and I to close in an unneeded porch when we remodeled our first home and turn it into a walk in pantry. We were so use to a large pantry that a walk in pantry was on our must have list when we started looking for a smaller retirement home and we were so thrilled to find the perfect house with a large walk in pantry. I can't imagine living with out a pantry of some kind, it makes running a home so much easier, and saves money in the long run.
One book I really like is Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. It covers homemaking from a to z and lots of how to's on fixing and making just about everything in the home. I have several other of the books you mentioned and will be checking the library soon for the others. Thank you for the tips!
Hugs! Marsha

Morning's Minion said...

Although I grew up in the country my parents weren't gardeners--my grandfather next door supplied us with produce.
I learned to garden, to put up food and do a lot of healthy cooking from scratch from my frugal mother-in-law.
Our very small retirement home doesn't have a pantry space, something I really miss, but we installed new kitchen cabinetry with an eye to as much storage as possible and there is room in the basement for home-canned goods, two freezers and the excess of any staples bought in bulk.
I remember reading 'The Long Winter' to my two children during a particularly harsh winter in Vermont when my husband was driving a fuel truck at night to supplement our inadequate farm income.
I've had to prune my collection of books--again due to the smaller house--but there are those books on gardening, decorating, crafting, that seem timeless. When I'm too tired to actually be DOING its restful to take out a book of that sort and dream.

Vee said...

I think that I need to supplement my Sharon Lovejoy books with Trowel and Error. So many things that are NOT working right now that I'm in a bit of shock. =D If I were a total wimp, I'd quit. Wait, maybe I am a total wimp in the gardening department.

Is "The Long Winter" considered fiction? I've always read it as biography, but that doesn't make it so. Perhaps embellished biography. I love "Farmer Boy" for the beautiful descriptions of homemaking and farming.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

You know The Long Winter is my favorite! I read it at least once a year and I was just telling my daughter yesterday how they lived on bread for a while (freshly ground each day of course) since she baked her first loaf yesterday (and we ate about 3/4 of it!).

I also have the River Cottage book. Actually I'm obsessed with River Cottage HQ and Hugh :) They had episodes of his early RC show's on Amazon which I bought a few years ago and still watch. I hear his bread book is really good too. I always cook up a storm after watching him - he's so inspiring!

I'm glad you've got the garden the way you want it - it does look lovely!
You're lucky you have well water. I have to decide whether or not it's worth spending the money on water or if it's just cheaper to buy organic of certain veggies. But either way it's just good to know how to grow food. I find that is true of many things. Even if you choose not to do them it's comforting to know that you can should you need to.

Thanks for the book recommendations! I'll into the two I don't have.

Front Porch Grace said...

A stocked "pantry" of books is most important to a bibliophile. =o)

I was encouraged to know that I am not the only one who reads some books a bit at a time. Such as those that teach & inspire.