Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook Review

Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook Review by  for MD Creekmore

Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook 11th Edition. James Talmage Stevens. Get Ready! Network, LLC, 2009. Paperback, illus.

I would like to give big hugs and sloppy kisses to the folks at Directive21 for sending me a copy of the 11th edition of this classic work dedicated to survival planning and emergency food storage.

With more than 750,000 copies of previous editions sold, Making the Best of Basics (click here to check the current price of this book at, has long been the standard in-home food storage and family preparedness reference – many of you, no doubt, have considered adding this book to your library, but question how thoroughly the book covers the subject and how it differs from previous editions?

Mr. Steven’s 11th edition of Basics is a huge book with hundreds of pages of advice, charts, diagrams, and recipes (there are also newer editions of this book available). The book covers a lot of ground and is full of good advice – just don’t expect an exciting read. Basics is best used as a quick reference guide – which is what, I think the author intended.

While the book presents itself as a preparedness handbook, don’t expect to find much information on anything except food storage and preparation. This isn’t a negative to the quality of the work, most books cover only one part of the whole – basics is no exception…

There are hundreds of recipes using basic storage foods and considering the fact most people consider cooking as something to be done with microwaves, instruction in this area is needed and sufficiently covered within its pages.

Although the recipes are great, detailed and easy to understand, many may-not be practical under certain conditions, depending on the severity and depth of the collapse. For example; A number of recipes given call for specified temperatures and time requirements, which mightn’t be possible.

I think one of the most useful features found in the book are the forms, charts, conversion tables, and lists given. I’m sure most people will make copies of the worksheets, electing not to write in the book or to tear out the pages. I found the lists given in Chapter 23 “Basic Supplementation” to be very useful, to the point and easy to understand.

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