Blog, Preparedness / Self-Reliance

The Doctor Is IN! Still focusing on food?

Keith wrote:

I’d like to know a bit more about the book to give me a better idea of how to position it at our site (it’s a big and varied site).

I checked the amazon.com information on the book, but it’s about the previous (10th) edition. However, what the reviews mostly say is that the main focus is on food. Does that still apply to the new edition with the new material you’ve added?

Two of the reviews:

  1. This book is almost completely about in-home food storage and preparation. There is little discussion outside that (except for basic water issues). Many chapters discuss food in significant detail, to include things like grains, recipes, preparing sourdough breads/biscuits, dairy products, honey, sprouting, drying of fruits/vegetables. At the end of this book is a huge compendium of preparedness resources, telling where things can be purchased in every US state.
  2. This book is helpful in many ways, but DO NOT use his numbers for the amount of food to store per person, unless you are feeding a professional football player in training. He mixed up the USDA recommmended amounts for the average family of 2.3 people, and used that figure for one person.. WE actually figured it out, and you would have to eat something like 10,000 calories per day to eat those amounts. Look at it carefully. How many people use 10 gallons of oil per person per year?

Thanks! Keith

Doctor Prepper responds:

For 36 years Making the Best of Basics has been the #1 best-seller in the preparedness industry. It has sold more than 760,000 copies, and has won awards for its content.

Is it perfect–I think not. Being a handbook is a risky business, and Amazon.com, great though it is, used to allow anyone to comment on any book without moderation of the site. On top of that, when negative comments were made, the author was not allowed to respond.

I don’t know if that is the case today, but I don’t see Amazon other than a forum. Anyone can express an opinion. It always hurts when someone with prejudice attacks a work–even if there are occasional mistakes or misstatements. Last I heard, authors were human, too. Authors don’t get the free passes that athletes and movie stars are allowed!

That being said, Basics… is all about the long-term: living the lifestyle of preparedness; actually being self-reliant.

Basics… is not about the fear of disasters–emergencies and disasters are events. Basics… is about preparing the family for such events so that when they occur, they can be handled by foreknowledge andby having resources on hand to deal with the events, making them less threatening and serious; more of an inconvenience than a catastrophe.

Disasters are events. Preparedness is a process!

Now, about the wag who said they had actually figured it out–they apparently didn’t understand the charts in the chapter on food selection and quantity. The charts list most of the items people would utilize in their diet, with blank lines for additional choices. The quantities were based on normal utilization in a family: we had 6 children, and kept pretty good records, and relied on a nutrition expert and dietary specialist to review the numbers. The numbers are aggressive, in some cases, because we rounded up and occasionally fed friends, neighbors, and groups in social gatherings, and in my self-employed business venues.

It is one thing to declare an error in another’s lifestyle and experience without any knowledge of the circumstances, especially without a framework of your experiences–and critics abound. It used to make me sick to my stomach when I read such comments. I was equally bothered when Basics… would drop out of #1 best-seller status in the Amazon.com non-fiction category! I would check the Amazon listings several times each day, and agonize when any book knocked Basics…out of the catbird seat.

Finally, my wife had heard enough of my groaning and whining, and stated ever so simply, “You really need to get a life!” Too true! I also came to accept that pundits and critics neither produce nor create anything original–except venting and venom.

As for the person who wondered how many people use 10 gallons of oil per year: I have no idea how they live, or where! However, if this person lived the lifestyle we were living making salad dressings, marinades, mayonnaise, breads, frying, deep-fat frying, and cooking southern-style (I’m a farm boy from North Carolina) for eight people and a lot of neighborhood kids, then 10 gallons per year would make perfect sense!

All that said, it takes long and serious work–a great deal of effort and resources go into any lifestyle. The matrix of information I created in Basics… should always be used with consideration of your individual needs, wants, and the reality of what you are trying to achieve. Nobody knows it all; nobody has it all; and nobody will ever have it all!

One of the reasons the longest chapter in Basics… is a list of preparedness resources is that there are so many different considerations for becoming prepared and/or being prepared that no single volume can possibly contain it all–nor can one author know or write it all! Every family has its differences from the suggested norm. Every family is unique. Every preparedness plan thus is unique.

The purpose of Making the Best of Basics is to encourage, teach, and exhort families to become prepared for the uncertain future in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Everybody eats! Whoever controls the food control who eats! Food is power! If you have gold, and I have food, I will eventually have your gold–and I’ll still have food because I can produce, store, and prepare food from my preparedness skills and labor!

Keith, after researching your website, a book such as Basics… is probably not what not what you need for the trip you plan to make. You probably need a selection of freeze-dried foods and some water.

I wish you the best on your long journey! I’d like to make that trip!

Doctor Prepper