Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Just Add Water

“In this day of uncertainty and unrest, it is a wise plan for a family to be prepared for any emergency by having a good supply of food on hand. Who knows when natural disasters, unemployment, or even the ravages of riots or war may strike?”

Such is the premise of the spectacularly dull book Just Add Water, by Barbara G. Salsbury (the wife of a Mormon Bishop). A big hit in the world of panic cookery, Just Add Water was reprinted 34 times between 1972 and 1980.

The recipes aren’t all that taxing, and nor was the task of writing them, as can be seen in the instructions for reconstituting meat granules. Clearly you had to follow the right recipe or a culinary disaster would occur.

If you hit upon exactly the right words, why change them?

This page of recipes reflects Salsbury’s vivacious and compelling dedication to her craft. You can see that she took to heart the need to concentrate on dryness. (TVP stands for Textured Vegetable Protein.)

These recipes are better suited for 1972

Vagueness is a distinctive feature of this book, as is the admonition to “remember” to do things while cooking so as not to ruin the meal by failing to cook long enough or not season enough or by not adding sufficient water or perhaps simply by getting in your car and driving to Mexico rather than eat another dish that has relied on “swelling” to be edible.

Be sure to follow that last sentence to the letter.
Far more interesting (and certain to produce a tastier result) is this recipe for Scripture Cake. One presumes the water added comes in the form of a baptism.

Keep your clauses in your pauses to avoid accidents.

Salsbury says "Your attitude is all important! If you involve your family and are happy at the prospect of eating dehydrated foods, you most likely will succeed. If you are doubtful and say , 'Well, I guess we'll have to eat this stuff now,' you've already lost."

Amen, sister.

At the back of the book is a helpful list of books for further reading if you live in Utah and fear the apocalypse.

Of note:

Bee Prepared with Honey (haw haw!)

Gateway to Survival (as opposed to the Gateway to Doom)

Passport to Survival (Do you need a passport for that?)

Honey, Some Ways to Use It (Honey – I shrank the Kids!)

Soybean Granule Recipes (oh Boy!)

Tasty Imitations (For when the real thing doesn’t quite measure up)

Just Add Water, Barbara G. Salsbury, 1972

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