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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage by Crystal Godfrey

Here’s a fun new food storage recipe book. Wait! Wait! Before you flip to another blog let me explain why. See, I know a few of those happy homemaker women whose wheat grinder has a place of honor in their kitchen and everything they make is totally healthy and just a little bit . . . weird.

Admit it. You know a few of them, too. They’re the ladies who actually have their year, two year, whatever supply of food, bake their own bread every day and know how to can anything that doesn’t walk and talk. They make the rest of us (who have never made a cake without the little cardboard box- I mean really, why should you?) feel just a little bit bad. Plus, we know for sure our children would never stand for wheat berry skillet dinner in place of their hamburger helper. It just ain’t going to happen. Food storage just gets a bad rap, commandment or not.

So, why would I be excited about I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage by Crystal Godfrey? Because the very first recipe that caught my eye was for Blender Wheat Pancakes. See, Crystal’s recipe called for simply dump all the ingredients (including the whole wheat grain) into a blender, mix and go. Yep. This was a girl who knew how to speak my language.

I don’t own a wheat grinder. I’d never take the time to use it I did, plus I’d never clean up the mess after using it. So, I dutifully buy sacks of whole grain flour at the store and ignore the cans of wheat in my basement. But, here was someone telling me it didn’t matter. I could still use that darn wheat without giving myself nightmares. I liked her all ready. J Yes, they are still whole wheat pancakes and if your family can’t stomach a completely whole wheat breakfast this isn’t the place to start getting them used to it. But hey, just having the option alone made me feel a world better about all those #10 cans taking up space in my basement.

Her no-stress approach to figuring out what really makes sense to store and how to use it every day really does earn Crystal her nickname as the “Rock Star of Food Storage”. I spent several weeks testing about half the recipes in I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage. (My family looked at me funny the whole time. They’re not used to seeing mom in the kitchen that much.) I had a great time reading through all the helpful, normal hints that Crystal gives as well as trying out the recipes and getting to taste-test what I’d created.

Yes, I even broke out a can of whole egg powder my mother-in-law gave me yyyeeeaaaars ago for the occasion. Guess what? They worked! Admittedly, the recipe the can gave to equal one egg was different than what Crystal gave. She gave a formula for medium, large and extra-large eggs and I just used whatever amount she told me to in the recipe. I think I’d probably have to do some more experimenting with my own favorite recipes to make sure I’d get it right. But, then again, given the weird way I cook all ready it might not make any difference.

So, here’s my overall assessment: Not bad.

There are a lot of recipes that you really won’t be able to tell you’ve used food storage in and very few that have a cringe factor. Yes, the timeless pinto bean fudge is in there. Still haven’t gotten up the nerve to try it yet. But, that’s actually the rarity. You’ll find recipes for awesome versions of hamburger helper, bean dip, hot fudge sauce, German chocolate brownies, super easy white sauce, you name it. There wasn’t anything that I shook my head at and said, “Nope, sorry too complicated, too much work.” My current favorite comfort food has become her recipe for chocolate pudding—love it warm with whipped cream.

If you read my review of the “Sneaky” cookbooks, Crystal does favor some of these methods to make your recipes cheaper and healthier, but they really aren’t bad. Well, except maybe that fudge thing. My family ate things with beans hidden in them that I’d never dared try before. She also converted me to the ways of powdered milk use. No, I haven’t had the nerve to try her recipe for a drinkable version, but she has made it totally easy for me to use it in my cooking and never know the difference. That by itself has been a huge pocketbook saver.

I did notice a smattering of typos that could effect your cooking if you’re not paying attention, but nothing really horrific. It’s still a place I’d recommend going if you want someone down-to-earth to help you ease into the scary world of food storage. Pick up a copy. Thus saith the Alison. :)

In fact, if you enter this contest: http://jdp-news.blogspot.com/2009/05/welcome-to-our-summer-treasure-hunt-dig.html you could win a copy of I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage for yourself. A little bird told me that Crystal will be doing other giveaways on her website as well. I highly recommend checking her site often, anyway. There is a ton of very useful stuff to glean right there and it will give you a pretty good idea if I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage would work for you as well.

Crystal was also recently featured in the Provo Daily Herald http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/306512/149/. She’s is very willing to do classes and presentations if you live in her area. You can contact her at everydayfoodstorage@gmail.com to arrange those. She is also available for blog tours and to be a guest blogger. Crystal also teaches food storage cooking classes at the Lehi Macey’s grocery store.

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