Review: 'Forgotten Skills' book for 21st century pioneers

By Scott Livingston

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 25 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

"THE FORGOTTEN SKILLS OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY USED BY THE MORMON PIONEERS," by Caleb Warnock, Cedar Fort, $16.99, 160 pages (nf)

There are few things that compare to the gastronomic and spiritual delight of eating fresh from one’s own garden. That seems an easily obtained pleasure in the long days of summer, but how about in the middle of February?

Utah author Caleb Warnock’s new treasure-packed tome, “The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency used by the Mormon Pioneers” (Cedar Fort, $16.99) shows how to savor delicacies like winter lettuce, spinach and carrots grown in your own garden even on the coldest winter’s day.

At just under 150 pages, Warnock’s delightful new how-to guide instead strives for quality over quantity, focusing on helping anyone, anywhere to get started on their own path to greater self-sufficiency, regardless of where they live or what level of skill, or lack thereof, they may begin with.

“Forgotten Skills” acts as a friendly bridge between the pioneer past and the much more tumultuous and hectic 21st century, providing page after page of ideas and experiences designed to help the reader believe that even they can live off the produce they grow themselves.

Among the many gems to be discovered in the “Forgotten Skills” are:

  • How to tell the difference between male and female plants and what to do to encourage them to produce pure seed
  • The vital difference between open-pollinated seeds and hybrid seeds, and how your garden and health can benefit from knowing the difference.
  • What pioneer yeast is and how to make your own.
  • How to grow a gorgeous flower garden for free.
The prevalent theme that caring for oneself and his or her families temporally is a supremely spiritual activity runs through "Forgotten Skills." which makes it stand out from other books published with a similar theme.

“The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency used by the Mormon Pioneers” seems to be an absolute must to add to a reader's library, given that now more than ever before, economic livelihood seems at ever-present risk.

As the author puts it on the back cover, “Many people dream of becoming self-reliant during these times of fluctuating prices and uncertain job security. Using truly simple techniques, you can cultivate the pioneers’ independence to provide safety against lost wages, harsh weather, economic recession, and commercial contamination and shortages. Now you can discover the lost survival skills they knew, used, and passed down for generations.”

Scott Livingston blogs about the uphill climb of becoming a writer at sleye1.blogspot.com.

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