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From the Library

July 29, 2019

Grandpappy’s Recipes for Hard Times by Robert Wayne Atkins

One of the realities I knew as a kid, eating some pretty bizarre mountain dishes, that was really made to hit home to me during various survival exercises as an adult, is that as much as we might like to think we’ve prepared for everything, in real survival situations, whether we’re simply lost in the boonies, evading hostile forces, or in a post-grid scenario, is we may often find ourselves eating things considerably far outside of our comfort zone.

This may range from foraged wild edibles to small furbearers to rodents and insects (while I know technically squirrels are rodents, anybody from the rural South, of a certain age, can tell you they are also a delicacy. I’ve eaten rats and I’ve eaten mice, and neither is anything like eating squirrel, I can assure you!).

Additionally, one of the concepts inherent to Permaculture, or at least my understanding of it, is the willingness and ability to utilize all available renewable resources to increase the resilience of your designs and work. When we approach Permaculture for Preparedness, of course, that becomes even more of an issue, since we can’t expect, post-grid, to just run down to the meat counter at the local grocer.

We raise rabbits, chickens, and hogs, and will be adding at least a few cattle within the next year or so (I’m hoping to be able to procure a couple of bred Highland cows next spring, as well as a steer or two to raise for beef the first year). Nevertheless, we also harvest deer off the farm, and while I haven’t convinced the wife to eat raccoon or possum yet, I have every intention of sneaking at least the raccoon into a pot of chili or stew this winter.

For those with less experience using foraged foods, in addition to a plethora of typical storage food recipes, this handy little book includes a number of ways to incorporate not just unusual protein sources, but also a number of common, widespread wild edible plants found in the US. In the past, my use of wild edible plants has been limited to either eating them as I found them, or mixing them together like a salad. This book offers a variety of other methods, ranging from cooking them like turnip greens to incorporating them into stews.

Our home library has probably 50-60 cookbooks on the shelves. These range from the typical ones you would expect to see on your mother or grandmother’s counter (my wife also has my late grandmother’s cardbox of recipes as well. She was horribly disappointed to discover how many of my grandmother’s recipes relied on processed, boxed bases….), to ethnic food cookbooks, Paleo specific cookbooks, and a pretty diverse collection of antique cookbooks I had collected before my wife and I met, that range from reprints of cookbooks from the 1700s to originals published and printed in the early and mid-1800s. I am very satisfied with the addition of this one to the collection.


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  1. Matt D permalink

    Most have never truly been hungry enough to know, I’ll eat anything. A family pet. Things that most people would not feed to a pet. Survival will come to those fit to live.

  2. Grey Crawford permalink

    At ,8 o got a .22 supplimemt our protein. We ate squirrels and groundhog and turtles but we were ,” too proud,”to read oppsum. We cut ‘creasy” greens from the creek on the other side of the hollar. Free range blackberries and raspberries, wild onions been had and apple orchard, pigs chickens and we pastured horses
    Apples were every where and the sweetest water came right out of the earth. I’m proud to be a hillbilly

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