Reviewed by: Sondra Wollbrinck,
In my humble opinion, Passport to Survival by Esther Dickey is one of the cornerstone books for your “survival” library. We purchased it in 1999 (and unless you were living under a rock, you know why we did that). I know it will be the book we keep on hand as our times change. It is divided into four well-organized parts and 18 easy to read chapters.
Part 1: Foods for Healthy Survival
With a little background from the author and some references to George Orwell’s 1984, Mrs. Dickey accurately portrays the times we see in front of us now. The four survival foods, wheat, milk, honey and salt were chosen based on their usability and storability.
- Wheat; beef protein may be superior to wheat protein but in the storability category, there is no contest, wheat will last many years and is also more versatile.
- Powdered Milk; now I now just the thought of powdered milk makes many cringe but times of crisis call for some intestinal fortitude (sometimes we have to put on our grown-up pants and just do what we have to do, most of us won’t have a cow or dairy goat at hand).
- Honey; it is a universal sweetener and really do I need to say more? YUMMY! And if you can find local honey it is useful for treating allergies.
- Salt; in reality it is a mineral, it is involved in almost all cellular processes.
These 4 foods are time proven; wheat is referred to in history as “the staff of life”, then you have the land “flowing in milk and honey” and salt with good “flavor” was a dream of the ancients.
Forty more: she suggests 40 more foods to put in your long term storage and explains why you need them. “An Emergency Diet in Action” is a chapter than will help you use you stored foods effectively. You will not want to wait for the crisis to try them; she suggests a 10-day trial run using the basic four. What about the little ones in your family? Esther even touches on that and, with a few suggestions from a doctor, she’s put together a basic diet for them too using wheat, milk and honey.
Part 2: Recipes and Menus
I do want to preface this part with saying this is not convenient or easy. It does take preparation and care, but she states that “anyone using this book will not rate convenience on the same level as nutritional value and preparation for emergency.” This section gives 110 recipes for your stored food, helpful suggestions and measurement charts. There is also a 7-day menu plan. I found this most helpful since I don’t usually cook with these ingredients. I’m inspired by her creativity.
Part 3: Other Survival Techniques
This part lists five ways to preserve and the appliances/equipment you will need. I found this section to be very well done and easy to understand. The food storage section is very important to read and follow. She thought out each scenario and gives great advice. Water will be a one of the most important resources you will need to know about so DO NOT forget to research this! Esther gives several detailed lists for: keeping clean, first aid, home nursing, comfort and health, waste disposal, clothing, bedding, sewing supplies, fuel, lights, seeds and more. She does touch on outdoor survival, and how to use what you have on hand to cook and store food. There is also a nice list of edible nature items. (I would suggest that you get a field guide from your local extension service or conservation area so you don’t confuse plants, which could be hazardous). The last section of Part 3 speaks to how the body works and how to care for it physically and emotionally. Caring for your body is an important aspect not to be ignored, and as the mother of five teenagers, I’m suggesting this be a priority!
Part 4: A Future of Hope
This section references a time when community was key, where a town worked together, but includes a little bit of a futuristic twist. Life in a community like this would be idealistic. Mrs. Dickey gives ideas on how to live to be 100, diet, exercise, keeping your insides clean, peace of mind and emotional control.
A brighter day will prevail. Esther says “I am one who believes that that day will come, but there may first be worse times for this world that we have yet seen. While the advice given in this book is good for other circumstances too, it is written principally with this premise in mind and with the idea of encouraging preparation for survival in the event of such trying times”.
“Health and happiness require an optimistic, positive view of life. How can one maintain this attitude in the discouraging modern context”? She gives good reasons for optimism. “We must take our opportunities seriously and make our contributions meaningful. It is God who gives meaning to life. It is His Spirit which helps me and many others to face each new day with courage and optimism.” Faith in God is the key – need I really say more?
Passport to Survival was written in 1969, which was a time of unrest in many parts of the world. Does this sound familiar in 2011? God calls us to prepare and care for our families. We cannot depend on the government. We cannot depend on others to take our needs into consideration. Esther Dickey has done a wonderful job putting all of this together. This can certainly be a cornerstone book for your survival library. Happy preparation!