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Customer Review

282 of 323 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Please don't hate me for this review..., March 31, 2011
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This review is from: The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 10th Edition (Paperback)
Ok... I know most of the people just love this book. I know folks that suggest you own multiple copies. So, what's my beef with it? My wife and I found it to be GREAT content that is very poorly presented.

First off, this is not a book you "sit down and read". You'll give yourself a headache. Second, the layout and flow of the material is sub par. For example, in at least 3 sections so far the book talks about the need to "catch yeast from the air" as a primary step to completing a task (i.e. bread making, etc) but I have yet to find where it tells you HOW to actually catch the yeast. This type of organizational oversight happens at several key places.

Third, while much of the content, as I said earlier, is very good - some of it is simply over the top. Look, there is no one that sits down and looks forward to bulgar wheat sorghum yak milk goulash or varieties thereof. Let's keep the discussion in the land of the "reasonably possible".

Finally, and this is likely a personal quirk, it kind of annoyed me that there was so much discussion of things like "lacto-ovo-vegetarianism" and how to accommodate it. Look, when "living in the country" from my experiences, if pa shoots a deer & ma cooks the deer the you eat the freakin' deer. I don't care what your personal dietary preferences are. Am I right?

So, the final verdict, we're keeping it on the shelf as a great reference book but I'd rather have seen a better organized, more clearly written, 66% smaller sized book that I could stick in my bug out bag.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 21, 2011 1:22:47 PM PDT
E. Galt says:
I love your review. Have you found a similar book that you liked more?

Posted on May 22, 2011 3:31:31 PM PDT
Nykole says:
I agree with this post. There is a ton of info in the book, however, it is poorly written. It would give you a headache. I am a real "do-it-yourselfer" but many of the concepts where unclear and scrambled. It was hard to make out the true process. A book that I just love is Homesteading a back yard guide by Abigail R. Gehring. This book covers all the basics in a simple to the point manner.

Posted on Jun 22, 2011 9:22:37 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 22, 2011 9:22:56 AM PDT
Garnet says:
To catch wild yeast from the air...you put the starter outside and hope some yeast flies into it. You'll know when it begins to ferment, etc, as though you had added packaged yeast to it. Once you have the active starter, its best to feed it and keep it and use only some of it to start your bread, while keeping the original starter. There are instructions on-line for using a sourdough starter and you can follow those once you have a viable starter. You can keep a starter for YEARS once its going.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2011 9:32:10 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 21, 2011 7:40:53 AM PST]

Posted on Sep 13, 2011 11:05:22 AM PDT
SarahR says:
If you don't care what ones personal dietary preferences are, why are you complaining? I think it is great they cover vegetarianism, shows how well this book can cover a broad audience wishing to live a more self sustainable, rural life. As far as wishing they went so far into detail for such things as 'how to catch yeast', that's what a specific subject matter book is for; this is an Encyclopedia.

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 7:40:35 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2011 7:42:37 AM PST
sunnymilo says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Dec 25, 2011 4:32:53 PM PST
A. Nelson says:
I have Carla's original "Old Fashioned Recipe Book" and have used it since the 70's. This is not a book that is intended to be "readable" though I myself do enjoy doing just that. This is an encyclopedia, as the title states. When you need to know how to do something you go to the table of contents or the index and look that thing up, then read how to accomplish what it is you wish to accomplish. I found this book invaluable when we moved onto our land and wished to be more self sufficient. But this book is awesome for those who wish to just learn how to make sour dough starter, grow and preserve veggies etc. Do a search for Carla Emery and read how she started this book. I guarantee you'll be amazed!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2011 12:23:26 PM PST
MonkezUncle says:
In answer to your question... I dislike paying for or lugging around extraneous content. Since Lacto-Vegan-Ovo-Veggie nuttiness applies to about .01% of the population, it probably needs to be it's own book for those who care. That's the same logic by which topics like "creating your own 16ga pheasant load" (a topic which is in fact applicable to country living) are not included in this encyclopedia. Because it is applicable to only a small subset. Cheers!

Posted on Feb 8, 2012 12:45:45 AM PST
Ghost Writer says:
As an addendum to what Garnet said:

I have a friend who told me years ago that the way he creates sourdough starter is by simply mixing a couple of cups of flour with some water in a bowl and leaving it above his refrigerator for a few days. He swears by this method and has done it in numberous locations (as he moved and had to start again) over the course of his lifetime. While the sourdough yeast you "catch" will vary from location to location, the process remains the same.

Posted on Feb 25, 2012 8:57:37 AM PST
eleven says:
As a newbie homesteader I need a book that will include the basics, not assume you know them already. I don't think it's a far stretch to expect that kind of information from an "encyclopedia." Since I would like to invest properly in my property, I don't have a lot of extra cash to be spending on books that necessitate buying more books. Thank you for your honest review.
And please say "howdy" to pa and ma. Keep that freakin deer a'comin! God Bless!
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