Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Review: Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton

I’ve never been dissatisfied with living in the Midwest until I started getting into prepping. Materials for prepping are so much more easily available in the West. I’ve heard that regular ol’ Wal-Mart carries #10 cans of dehydrated foods and big buckets of wheat in certain areas! I’m sure many libraries in the West also carry a variety of food storage and preparedness books. I’ve not had much luck finding any at our local libraries.

I did, however, stumble upon a copy of Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton at a big city library. I was so excited I did the moonwalk down the aisle. The reason I embarrassed my darling children with my dance moves is that Peggy Layton is one of the big names in food storage literature. She has written about eight different food storage cookbooks that are highly recommended.

The subtitle of this book is “Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisis”. I tend to disagree with that since this book really doesn’t touch many of the key survivalist topics in detail. It does, however, cover food storage extensively as well as 72-hour kits and water storage to a lesser extent.

The chapters of the book are entitled:

Preparing for Short-Term Emergencies
Storing Water for Emergency Use
The Economics of Long-Term Emergency Storage
The Logistics of Long-Term Emergency Storage
Building Your Stockpile of Food and Other Necessities
Obtaining Food for Storage
Implementing Your Food Storage Plan
Recipes Using Stored Foods

One of the strengths of this book is the many checklists Layton includes. Want to know what should be in your car kit or canning equipment? She’s got a checklist for that. She also includes many pages of inventory planning charts that you could photocopy and use for your own family.

There are many different types of recipes included in this book. They use commonly stored items like beans, dried eggs, powdered milk, etc. I have only tried one of them - Cracked Whole Wheat Cereal - and it turned out to be a failure. That may be more my fault than the recipe's fault, though, and I'll discuss that next week. The recipes do seem a little basic, but they would be a good starting place to design a meal that caters to your family’s taste. I’m kind of scared to try the “pinto bean punch”, though. I don’t think beans combined with 7-Up would ever agree with my family’s palate!

This book was obviously written with a wide audience in mind. She has taken this notion as far as not even bringing up the LDS food storage guidelines (ie. 150 lb of wheat per adult per year, etc.). These guidelines are accepted by preppers far and wide, so I’m not entirely sure why she omitted them in her book.

In fact Layton never gives you an idea of how much of anything you should be storing. She suggests listing some recipes and then figuring out how much it would take to make three months of those meals. Multiply by 2, 3, or 4 and you will know how much to purchase for 6, 9 or 12 months of meals. That’s all well and good, but I think it’s important to give food storage newbies an idea of just how much this will be. This is not to overwhelm anyone, but it is important to be realistic. The 202 lb of wheat I just ordered sounds huge, but because I have an idea of the amounts you are supposed to store I know that is only about 3 months worth of wheat for my family.

I’m being nitpicky. Overall, this is a great book that you can learn a lot from. I do not feel compelled to buy my own copy of the book because I a) have a lot of this information from other sources, namely Food Storage Made Easy and b) I’m going to photocopy the relevant pages to add to my food storage recipe or preparedness binders.

You can buy Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook at or

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with your review of this book! I got a copy from my library, too ... and although I didn't moonwalk down the aisle I was quite excited. After previewing the book for 2 weeks, however, I removed it from my Amazon wish list. The fact that there were so many blank pages made me feel as if I wasn't getting the most bang for my buck. If I had found this book at the beginning of my food storage adventure (even before the Web sites you mentioned), I would have found it more helpful.