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Something happened in the fifties and it was not good. With the advent of mainstream television, homemakers learned about ready to eat foods and convenience products designed to make their lives easier. It made no matter that many of these products, ranging from TV dinners to laundry and cleaning products, were toxic brews of preservatives and chemicals.
Although I have always been inclined to cook from scratch, make my own cleaning supplies, and embrace the proverbial do-it-yourself mentality, it wasn’t until one year ago, almost to the date, that I stopped supporting the big corporations and Madison avenue that were pushing unhealthy products my way. I became a made-from-scratch advocate and my home became a chemical-free zone.
With that introduction, I am thrilled to introduce the first book in Prepper Book Festival #13, The Made From Scratch Life by Melissa K. Norris. If her name sounds familiar, it is because she is my home canning guru as well as a homesteading blogger. She is also someone who embraces sustainability and a healthy living lifestyle while working outside the home, writing, and raising a family. As far as I am concerned, she is super-woman.
The Made From Scratch Life is chock full of goodness. In it you will learn how to grow and preserve food, save money by being frugal where it matters, and my favorite, improving your overall health and well-being with natural cooking and cleaning methods.
Today I share an interview with Melissa plus I have three copies of her book up for grabs in a giveaway. Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.
An Interview with Melissa K. Norris, Author of The Made From Scratch Life
Tell me about your book. What is it about?
It’s the story of my journey to a healthier and more unprocessed life, from the kitchen, to the garden and barnyard, and really, the story of returning to my roots, using more of the methods my grandparents and great-grandparents used, which in turn becomes a manual to living a modern homestead life.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
I didn’t do a lot of research, most of it was the telling of the things my husband and I have been doing on our homestead for over 16 years, but some of it was also passing down the things I learned from my father, who learned it from his father, a reaching back to past generations.
How long did it take to write?
It took me about a year to write, but generations worth of wisdom I feel fortunate enough to get to pass on to others.
Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?
That the simple things in life truly are the best and most precious and that we all can live a made-from-scratch life, one step at a time.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I believe in putting God first, followed by family. The relationships and memories we make with people are what will stand the test of time. I believe there’s value in hard work and a job well done, a satisfaction that’s good for the soul and meant to be shared with others. And I believe everything just looks better in a Mason jar, from the food I eat, to my skin care, and a bouquet of wild flowers from the yard.
As an author in the survival, prepping, self-sufficiency or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?
I think that’s where I differ from a lot of preparedness/survival people. Our self-sufficiency is a way of life, we raise all of our own meat and we eat from our food storage and we’ve been seed saving in my family for generations. When hours get cut at work or an unexpected bill or storm comes up, we know we’ve got food in the pantry, because winter is not just the months on a calendar. At the same time, if a friend or someone needs help, we can step up to do so. My dad lived through the Great Depression and hard financial times, when what you ate was what you’d put up, but it didn’t create stingy people. It created people who lend a hand to help out a neighbor.
While we are prepared in the sense of having skill sets, knowledge, and food storage, the most important preparedness plan or aspect we have is our faith in Jesus. The fact is, we’re all going to die, you can’t escape that, but I know where I’m going when I die, and to me, that is the most important preparedness plan anyone can have. Like I said, I’m probably not you’re normal prepper or survivalist, I believe in having those things put in place, but I’m at peace with my faith first.
What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?
My first prep—step would be getting up a small food storage stocked with basic items. Having a well stocked pantry and learning how to cook from it will serve you in so many aspects, one it’s more frugal, two it’s more healthy because if you’re cooking from basics you’re not using a bunch of processed convenience items, three even if nothing does ever happen, you’re money and time investment won’t go to waste, because you’ll be using it in your everyday life.
What movie do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?
Honestly, I don’t watch a lot of doomsday movies, instead, I much prefer to read history and non-fiction accounts of people who have gone through survival situations. I’m actually reading the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder series to my daughter and there’s a lot of surprising valuable information on survival in those pages, even though they’re meant for children.
Do you have plans for another book?
Yes, I’m actually at work on the second book right now, tentatively titled the Modern Women’s (or Guy’s) Guide to Old-Fashioned Living, which build upon a lot of the elements in the first book, from herbal medicine, to growing your own medicine cabinet, and of course, lots of old-fashioned from scratch cooking recipes!
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
That I’m incredibly grateful to share the wisdom I’ve been fortunate enough to learn and glean and to pass it on to other’s in hopes that it will help them in the ways it’s helped me and my family.
Melissa has reserved three copies of her book in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.
The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
Getting back to the fifties, did you know that it was during that period that Swanson introduced TV dinners, Cheez Whiz hit the market, and Sweet ‘n Low promised to keep us slim and trim? Guess what? On a whole,we are less healthy and fatter than ever.
Of course, the 50s was also the era of rock and roll, Elvis, the civil rights movement, and the migration to suburbia. Alas, that is a topic for another time.
I don’t know about you, but having lived through all of that, and beyond, I yearn to live a simpler life. The Made From Scratch Life book is a welcome addition to my preparedness bookshelf.
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival #13: Books to Help You Prepare.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight: Made From Scratch Life
Do you long for simpler days? Do you wish you had the time to offer your family home-grown meals? Does your heart cry for a quiet place in this fast-paced world?
Blogger and homesteader Melissa K. Norris inspires with practical and easy methods to help you cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprints in your everyday busy life. You’ll learn how to
- Plan, plant, and harvest for eating and preserving
- Troubleshoot common gardening problems with natural solutions
- Improve your family’s health with natural cooking and cleaning methods
Whether you live in the middle of the asphalt jungle or on the side of a mountain, you can experience the pioneer lifestyle and start your own homesteading journey. Because when you surround yourself with things made from the hand of God, you can’t help but see Him.
A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.