Betsy’s Book Review: The Prepper’s Cookbook by Tess Pennington

Publisher:  Ulysses Press, Berkeley, California. Copyright: 2013
ISBN:  978-1-61243-129-1
223 pages
Available on Amazon or eBay for between $10 and $15

I received The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals as a copy for review. Tess Pennington made the assumption that the reader of her cookbook is new to prepping.  She goes step by step and explains why to prep, why to be proactive, and how to afford food preps. Also covered are economic prepping, the just-in-time grocery store concept, how to begin to stockpile, and rotating supplies. Additionally, she explains “essential tools” for the prepared kitchen, such as a food dehydrator, wheat grinder, solar oven, sprouter, grill, and water purification system.

No cookbook can be all inclusive, but Pennington covers or at least mentions most of the topics that serious food preppers are familiar with. The beauty of this cookbook is that basic prep information is contained in one easy-to-read, well-organized book for the person who is already serious about prepping or just getting started with their food supplies.

The author touches on dehydrating and fermenting foods, but doesn’t go into great depth. She does, however, give readers a lengthy chapter on preserving by water bath and by pressure canning, including charts and recipes.

The author addresses one of my favorite topics — how to use spices to combat appetite fatigue. She gives the cook 10 recipes for combining herbs and spices to create mixes in convenient amounts to fit spice jars. Some are for sweet recipes, the majority are for savory dishes. I find this to be a very useful part of the cookbook.

Other topics include keeping foods cool, sanitation, making meals stretch, oxygen absorbers, healthy substitutes, and staples to store. Interestingly, Pennington knows to instruct readers about the importance of clean water. Topics covered are how to treat, store, and find water. This water discussion is fairly unusual in a cookbook.

Pennington is a prepper and knows the prepper buzz words, such as FIFO.  She teaches readers by explaining how to get organized, how to plan, and how to start.

I’m encouraged by a short section entitled “Canning Off The Grid.” Peterson mentions canning using a fireplace, a fire pit, and a Mexican horno.

One question I have concerns a recipe for “Dehydrated Noodles” using a bag of dry egg noodles. The directions call for undercooking the noodles, then dehydrating, and storing in an airtight container which will keep for 6 months. I’m stumped. A bag of dry noodles will keep for 6 months, probably much longer if you use a Food Saver. Boiling water is still required for rehydration, as it is for noodles out of the bag. What’s the point?

The heart of the cookbook, the recipes, is logically organized into chapters: Breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Beans and Rice, Kid-Approved Snacks, Side Dishes, Grains, Breads and Pastas, Desserts, Beverages, and Alternative Ingredients.

A couple of recipes that caught my eyes were “Poor Man’s Village Bread” which can be baked, fried, or grilled and uses 2 cups of sauerkraut and “20 ways to eat beans and rice” which combines various types of these two ingredients to build complete proteins.

Many readers have canned ham and canned chicken in their pantries. I quickly found five recipes using canned chicken and 2 recipes using canned ham. Its always helpful to find tasty recipes for canned meat. I intend to try “Cola Canned Ham” outdoors on the grill and in the solar oven. Just wish I had known about this fast and easy recipe that we could have cooked over a wood fire when I was leading my Girl Scout troops. Essentially, use a church key opener to punch holes in the ham can. Replace the gelatin with Coca-Cola and heat for an hour. Sounds delicious, and I can’t wait to try it.

In conclusion, I enjoyed perusing this cookbook and would add it to my prepping bookshelf. Best feature of Ms. Pennington’s book is how gloriously well-organized, how full of life-saving information, and how eminently readable it is.

Editor’s Disclaimer: Although Ulysses Press is one of my publishers (they publish my novel “Patriots“), I have no financial interest in this book, other than that some copies of it might be ordered from the SurvivalBlog Amazon Store. (Just like hundreds of other books that have been mentioned in SurvivalBlog, over the years.) Ulysses Press sent the review copy of this book to the reviewer directly without first contacting me, and they did not solicit me to run the review.