Friday, June 10, 2022

Book Review: The Lost Superfoods

While wandering a bunch of prepper sites I saw an ad for a book called The Lost Superfoods. The ad mentioned that it had a recipe for the emergency ration crackers used by the US government in the 1960s when they stocked the fallout shelters around the country. Since I have an interest in most things from the Cold War era, having served in the military back then, I spent the $27.00 and had a copy delivered.

This is a review, so don't expect me to copy the entire book; I'll give an overview and my opinions on the quality and quantity of information in it.

The first chapter covers the emergency rations that were stockpiled to feed people in fallout shelters in the event of a nuclear war with the USSR. This was a short-lived program, but thousands of shelters were stocked and ready. The rations were a thick cracker, sort of a hardtack crossed with a graham cracker, with hard candies to provide extra calories. Less than 1000 calories per person, per day, for two weeks was enough to keep people alive in a shelter where there was little chance of strenuous activity. All of the original rations were recalled in the 1970s, but I've seen a few examples that were not sent back and they were inedible by the 1990s; 30 years was just too long for a cracker to survive. The recipe and baking is pretty simple, because most survival foods are simple. If I get the time this fall I may test this one and see if my limited kitchen skills can pull it off.

Other chapters cover various ways to store meat and fish for long periods. Going back to the recipes used by sailors and explorers hundreds of years ago, long before refrigeration was available, the authors present each in a chapter with clear instructions and plenty of color pictures to help you get it right. (Spoiler: preserving meats uses a lot of salt.) Some of the items are a bit odd, but that makes them fit into the category of "forgotten" foods. Jerky, pemmican, biltong, home-made Spam, bully beef, potted meat, and bacalao (salted cod) are covered in sufficient detail to get you started on storing animal protein.

Canning several different things is covered fairly well, and I liked the chapter on canning butter. It's been a long time since I last used a pressure cooker, but I know several families that put up a lot of food in them every year. Fruits and vegetables are staples when canning food, and this book covers the basics. There are plenty of recipe books for canning fruits and vegetables and the information doesn't get old, so look in used book stores and garage sales for grandma's old cookbooks.

About a third of the book is general prepper knowledge, things like how to grow your own yeast, what to do with the food in your freezer if the power goes out, and how to use Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers to store food.  Good general information, but only lightly related to "lost superfoods".

In my opinion, this is a good book to have on the shelf. The price isn't horrible for the amount of information presented, and the color photos and clear descriptions are rare in prepper books. You can buy the book at Amazon for $27.00 (shipping is extra). 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! I've been bombarded with targeted adds for this on social media, so I wondered what exactly "superfoods" were, whether it was simply calories or nutrition oriented. Sounds like it's a better reference for new preppers who are just getting into food storage than for people who've been canning for decades. I don't have a smokehouse (yet), but there are other ways to dry/store meat.


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