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The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book Paperback – May, 1994

4.8 out of 5 stars 364 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For twenty years people have relied on these hundreds of recipes, instructions, and morsels of invaluable practical advice on all aspects of growing and preparing food. This definitive classic on food, gardening, and self-sufficient living is a complete resource for living off the land with over 800 pages of collected wisdom from country maven, Carla Emery--how to cultivate a garden, buy land, bake bread, raise farm animals, make sausage, milk a goat, grow herbs, churn butter, catch a pig, make soap, work with bees and more. Encyclopedia of Country Living is so basic, so thorough, so reliable, it deserves a place in every home--whether in the country, the city, or somewhere in between.

From Publishers Weekly

The updated ninth edition of this compendium of food production information is the hefty result of over three decades of intelligence-gathering by Emery, whose initial encyclopedia project was designed to help newbies in the "back to the land" movement of the early 70s learn self-sufficiency. Tasks Emery covers run the gamut from the simple to the complex, and from the common to the strange, and include how to: bake bread, make seed milk, sew a cornhusk bed, dry flowers, prune kiwi vines, culture yogurt, plant beans, keep bees, build a fish pond, artificially inseminate a turkey and help a cow who's eaten nails. In chapters such as "Grasses, Grains & Canes," "Food Preservation" and "Goats, Cows & Home Dairying," Emery offers advice, recipes (including many that are vegan), folk wisdom and plenty of hard facts. Though it's definitely not aimed at them, urbanites will find the recipes and resources lists (of herb periodicals, nurseries, organizations dedicated to simple living, etc.) useful, the trivia interesting ("catsup" was originally a thick sauce made from any fruit or vegetable), and Emery's personal reflections ("Once upon a time, in the bad old ways when the Communists and the Western countries were poised on the brink of mutual nuclear annihilation...") compelling. Even readers with no plans to raise sheep, sell homemade cheese or plant millet will find this a fascinating cultural document.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Sasquatch Books; 9th edition (May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0912365951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0912365954
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (364 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By GENE GERUE on June 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Carla Emery was a national treasure and this book ensures her legacy. This is simply the most informative book ever written on country living, the next best thing to having a live-in grandmother who knows everything there is to getting homegrown food from dreams to dinner plates plus nearly anything else you need to know. Begun as a 12-page table of contents for a recipe book in 1969, the present ninth edition has 858 pages of far more than recipes. Veggies, vines, trees, grains, poultry, goats, cows, bees, rabbits, sheep, pigs. Planning, nurturing, harvesting, preserving, preparing. Flipping pages at random finds starting transplants, breads leavened with eggs and beating, speeding up tomato sauce-making, harvesting herbs, making cider, managing an existing stand of trees, root cellar storage, soap making, brooding chicks, secrets to safe cattle handling, cultured buttermilk, cooking on a wood stove, jams and jellies, making a wool quilt. I use my "Carla book" constantly. If your budget or bookshelf has room for only one book, this is the book to buy. Yes, even before you buy mine.
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Format: Paperback
When I purchased an 8-acre ranch in 1985 I had a six-month old baby one on the way and had never been off of concrete in my life. Now I had 8-acres, goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese, pigs, 60 fruit and nut trees and an acre garden. I had no clue how or what to do! I learned everything from reading that book. How to harvest, can and cook up your garden & orchard harvest, feed and butcher animals, all kinds of doctoring for kids and animals, crafts, and even how to cut hair. That book is so dog-eared with tape from all of my years of use. I owe my sanity to that book. It has every scenario imaginable. I recommend it to anyone living in the country or on a farm or thinking of it. What I learned from Carla Emery's book will stay with me forever! The knowledge is priceless.
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Format: Paperback
The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, A Review, by Sher June

This book is phenomenal! Besides offering general information on
gardening and variations on the usual ways to prepare and preserve
produce, Carla Emery includes thousands of other exotic and old
fashioned recipes. That alone would be remarkable, but she doesn't stop
there. She covers information on every aspect of farming and
homesteading from buying a farm to delivering your own baby---yes, if you
are all alone when you go into labor!

Here is a general idea of what she includes, as well as some of the
weirder specifics:

How to get water - dowsing, getting it to your farm, using it, pollution
Living primitively - shelter, backwoods refrigeration, campfire kitchens
Alternative energy - information and resources, using a solar cooker (We
have one, and they really do work.)
Washing clothes by hand
Candle making - paraffin and beeswax
Foraging - also poisonous plants and mushrooms
Wood - harvesting, heating, wood cook stoves
Fertilizing your soil
Raising earthworms for gardening, bait, or money making
Using draft horses and oxen
Grain (all kinds!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book appears to have a devoted following so I'm sure I'll arouse some ill will with this, but here goes.

There are several things potential readers need to know about this book. The first is that, as the other reviewers suggest, the author comes across as very friendly and sincere. Another is that it has been around in some form or another for a long time, long before many "hobby farm"-type books were available, and for that reason has many devoted fans, at least some of whom appear to be unaware of more modern reference books that have superseded this one in many respects. The next is that if you have a lot of free time, and you like nine hundred page books whose author is in no rush to get to any of its thousands of points, you'll love it.

The most important, though, is that if you would like the best, easiest to understand advice available on raising sheep, keeping chickens, growing a garden, and all the other fun but challenging aspects of hobby farming, you will be far better served by other books out there. I have a hobby farm on seven acres with fruit trees, vegetable garden, livestock, etc., and own many of the hobby farm books available. We have had the opportunity to consult them as we have learned from direct experience, and have found that there is a wide variety in usefulness.

While The Encyclopedia of Country Living contains good advice, this book has features that I believe the average modern, would-be hobby farmers will be put off by. One is its overwhelming, unnecessary, and frustrating length. It wouldn't be so bad if each paragraph was a sparkling, concise gem of practical wisdom, i.e, if it really were written like an actual encyclopedia, but core information is often clouded with anecdotes, nostalgia, sermonizing, etc.
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