Phoenix Bird




We tried cooking with TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) last night, and the results were delicious! PH2 likes to cook, whereas I do not. He made three-bean soup and it was fabulous.

TVP is a dry granulated substance, much like the consistency of crushed saltine crackers. To cook it you mix it one to one with water and it turns to the consistency of ground beef. From there, it is cooked like ground beef. PH2 browned it in a skillet, adding salt, pepper, garlic, and beef bullion. The pinto beans, navy beans and lentils had been soaking for several hours. After the 'meat' had browned, we put it all together in a large kettle, added several cups of water, and cooked it on medium low heat for another hour or so. We'd added more bullion to the kettle for extra flavor.

The results, as I said, were excellent - our kids loved it! Even the smallest, Chick, who isn't really picky, just stubborn, ate it with gusto and wanted more. After this, I highly recommend getting several #10 cans of TVP for your stores...we just bought two cases and will order more soon!



Original recipe from the TVP cookbook, by Dorothy Bates

1 cup water 1 TBL soy sauce
1-1/4 cup TVP 2 cups water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup flour 2 tsp. sage
1/4 cup butter or vegetable oil 1 tsp. marjoram
2 tsp. thyme 1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt 2 cups milk
Boil one cup of water; add about a tablespoon of soy sauce, then add 1- 1/4 cup of TVP granules. Stir and set aside.

In a heavy bottom saucepan, toast (don't burn - stir, stir, stir...) 1/2 cup flour. Into the toasted flour add about 1/4 cup butter or vegetable oil. Stir and cook for a minute, then add 2 cups water or vegetable stock, 2 tsp. sage,2 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. marjoram, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper. Simmer gravy, slowly add 2 cups milk & rehydrated TVP, stir till bubbly & serve on hot biscuits

Makes about a quart or enough for 12 biscuits.



Pinoli is what the Indians used to survive in the woods and on long trips. It is the old version of hardtack or MRE's. It is still being found in Guatemala from time to time (and still usable). All it is, is toasted cornmeal. I made a few changes to it though and will explain the reasons for doing so. My mixture is made of 20% Bean flour and 80% cornmeal with a little salt added. All you have to do to make it is mix the bean flour and cornmeal together and toast it. Adding the bean flour to the mixture allows you to access the protein better than you would using just the corn flour. As a matter of fact it increases the protein intake almost to the level of steak. The mixture has to be toasted to break down the Trypsin inhibitor that is in the bean flour. Trypsin inhibitor makes the protein unavailable to you. Do not put the salt in until later as burning salt gives off (I believe) Phosgene gas or something similar.
Place it in two liter soft drink bottles and purge with CO2. By placing it immediately into the bottle you have killed about anything that might want to live on your food. The old enemy oxygen is still present though, so it is a good idea to purge it anyway. There are three enemies of food: oxygen, light and heat. Purging removes the oxygen and sealing the bottle real good allows you to bury the food source deeply without fear of it being found. By doing the above you have protected your food from almost all of the enemies except for the new one. Rodents and such: when you cache it use concrete tiles or something so that nothing can get to it. Since there will be voids left in the space you are placing the food, I would suggest adding sand in between the bottles. That will reduce the likelihood of everything getting crushed by vehicles if any in the area. When the bottle is empty you now have additional water storage as well.
For those of you not familiar with purging things with CO2, here we go
Take a canning jar and put a hole in the top just big enough for a tube to fit in. Seal the area around the tube with RTV or similar. Place Dry Ice in the jar and put the lid on. Take the other end of the tube and place it in the bottom of the container you are going to place the food. Put the food in and wait until a match held at the opening is extinguished by the CO2.
Let me know if I need to clarify anything in here too. I am familiar so I may have been unclear.
I just realized that I left the reader holding a really neat long term storage bottle of Pinoli, something I'm sure they could all be proud of. I unfortunately left out what the *%^# they are supposed to do with it. Pinoli is a good on the fly type of meal. Take the pinoli and pour about two tablespoons into a canteen and keep going while it rehydrates. Drink it when you have time to.


Thermos cooking for individuals
This is something that a lot of people forget. When you are hungry your sense of smell is heightened and at the same time your value system goes out the window as well. People will want what you have and will get real nasty if it isn't going to be handed over to them quick. This is how to prevent that situation from arising. Take dehydrated food and put it in a thermos, boil some water, pour it in and seal. Set it on its side and remember to agitate it from time to time so it doesn't adhere to the bottom. (That would be the side now, in case you missed the laying down part.) The food will be ready in a few hours. I leave it overnight.

A rather obvious side note: don't forget to cut everything you dehydrate so it will fit through your thermos opening. Nothing like not being able to get your meal out quickly without smelling up the woods, causing everybody to come looking for the source. I would never confess to having been stupid enough to do anything like this before. I will say that my wife, were I to have been so stupid, would have laughed her #*% off. Wasn't there didn't do it.
Thermos cooking for larger groups
Same as above really, but you have to make the thermos yourself. First pick a pot that will hold the correct amount of food for your group. The lid must be tight fitting. Let's be realistic here too. You might want to pick something that is somewhat rugged rather than super lightweight and flimsy. The type of pot that has a lid that will form a vacuum is perfect for this purpose. Yes, that lecture is over.

Now find another pot that has a tight fitting lid that the other pot will fit into, leaving an inch or two of space all around the outsides. Refer to above lecture again. Next go find cork insulating panels. You can usually find those as accents for walls in a tile about one foot by one foot and in varying thicknesses.

Now trim the panels to fit the bottom of the larger pot and put an inch or two of insulation on the bottom, depending on how much space you have in there. Remember you have to insulate the top as well. After the bottom is insulated you begin trimming the cork panels and wrapping the inner pot until it barely fits into the larger pot. Now glue that insulation into place inside the larger pot and let it dry on the side. While it is sitting there drying, you can now ponder why you didn't think about being able to get the pot out. That's right, you need to trim out a little around the handles so you can get the pot out. Do not over-trim when you make the space to get under the handles. You want to avoid any air circulation in this thing.

Having corrected the problem I tricked you into creating, you remove the pot. Make sure that the fit isn't too tight. Use sandpaper to enlarge the space a bit for the following reasons. Right now the pot is cold. When you put it in full of boiling food, you don't want to get into a fight with it. The pot is going to expand a bit and if the fit is tight enough you will only spill the boiling food all over yourself. Also there will be a bit of moisture in there so the cork might do a bit of expanding as well. That will stop you from getting the food out, or at least not without a fight.

Now do the same thing with the outer lid as you did with the outer pot. Once again you want good tight fits particularly on the lid. Heat rises and that will allow the food to cool down. This idea works well in many ways. You don't have to stand there and cook. You can even pile rocks on top so animals can't get to it and go for a walk.

Now that I have discussed pinoli, thermos cooking etc., let's get on to some of the tastier things one can do for both of those items. Pinoli makes a good thickener for soups by the way. Here are some ideas relative to soup that are somewhat time consuming up front but quick on the fly when using. I have added a few tips below all of this that I have picked up over the years and a humorous incident as well.
Turkey Breasts
I take a turkey breast - preferably on sale if possible - and cook it with as little water as possible. When I am done I remove the skin and take all of the meat from the breast. Set the breast and bones to the side for later. Cut up the breast meat into little cubes that are small enough to fit through the opening of your thermos and marinate them in whatever you want.

Freeze/dehydrate them after they have been marinated to your taste. That's right - you can dehydrate turkey, chicken and ham. They have to be cooked however, and you need to remove all of the fat so there is no oxidation.

After you have all of that going you take the breast and skin and cover them with water and slow cook them to extract all of the gelatin from them as well as the flavor. When it has cooked down to somewhat thick soup filter all of the bones and skin from the pot and place in a cold spot. It should gel and all of the remaining fat should float to the top. Skim the fat off of the surface once it is nice and cold. You will find that it comes off in a nice big chunk most of the time.

Once everything is nice and dry in the dehydrator get ready to make my special soup biscuits. These are made once again to your own taste and I will only give general guidelines here. Write down everything you do as well as what did and didn't work so you can put up a bunch.

Determine how much meat, vegetables and grain you want to go into one serving. Then determine how much you want to make. I usually stretch out an eight-lb. turkey breast for 32 meals. So I will take all of the meat and put it back into the broth along with what was at once eight pounds of vegetables but are now dry. Quickly add all of this to the now re-heated broth along with the required seasonings and then thicken with potato flakes. Put all of this into a dish that has been lightly oiled and bake on low heat in an oven.

Remember to cut it up into 32 separate pieces before it gets too dry. If you don't, you may find you need an abrasive cut off wheel to cut it. The gelatin makes it real solid. Don't forget to cut it up into pieces that will fit into your thermos.
Determining Seasoning Quantity
I have found the easiest way to determine the appropriate seasoning quantity for my soups is as follows. If I have a thermos that holds one quart, I will fill it with hot water and put the seasoning into the water allowing it to steep for a good while. I will then taste it and determine if there is too much salt or pepper etc. and then make adjustments as required. You want to make these determinations in advance though. You will live what you have prepared. Get it right up front.
Freezing Before Dehydration Has Advantages
I found that using frozen vegetables has a certain advantage and now freeze everything before I use put it in the dehydrator. When something is frozen the freezing water expands and breaks down the cell walls. It is much easier to re-hydrate that way. Have you ever noticed that some things take forever to re-hydrate? This does speed that up quite a bit. (There goes my idea of getting myself frozen at the point of death so I can be healed at a later date. I laugh to myself every time I do this, for that reason. Oh well.)
Why Do You Want All Of That Sticky Stuff In There?
The gelatin acts as a binder and also adds something to your diet that you need. The gelatin is what your tendons, fingernails, hair etc. require. Let's all try to look pretty while we are surviving.
When you package these if you are putting them in a plastic bag wrap them in something that will protect the plastic. Many sharp plastic tearing edges are going to be present. Even the M.R.E. 's that use the freeze-dried hash browns have a layer of cardboard around the hash browns.
Packaging And Noise
When you are working on your packaging, you need to consider one very important thing. Noise! You don't want to package things like beans or the above items in plastic jugs or bottles. If you aren't careful about the packaging, you just might end up sounding like a 'Mariachi' band as you run through the woods - not a good thing.
Other Things That Can Be Prepared Using The Above Technique
You can use the above techniques to fix ham and beans as well. You can cook your ham and prepare it just like I described with the turkey. You can cook your beans in advance and then dehydrate them and grind them if you want and gum it all together into Rick's fabulous soups biscuits. Rice and many other things can be prepared this way as well.
My First Time (I had to add this after the Rick's fabulous soup biscuits comment above)
When I first started trying this, my wife and another friend had really reached the point where they were probably plotting my death. I kept going on about the soup biscuit. I really enjoyed getting a glazed look to my eyes when I talked about it too. I had worked for quite some time at coming up with something like this that people could do for themselves rather than have to pay some ridiculous price. They used to do things like this a long time ago. The very first soup biscuits were hand-formed and loaded with pepper and soy sauce; they didn't look very appetizing.

Anyway, my wife had been after me to clean the cat box (A major point of contention around here. I hate cats. Forgive me please.) Anyway, I had finally come up with a recipe that worked and had finished the first batch. It was time for the test. My wife walked in as I was shoving a few of these dark elongated pointed on either end things into my thermos while the water came to a boil on the stove. Her pretty little jaw dropped when she saw this. Before she could say a thing I glanced up and said "Honey I cleaned that cat box for you."

Yes I had cleaned the cat box. Heck, it was worth it!
~ Rick

Pork With Collard Greens -n-Black-Eyed Peas


Heyah it 'tis fo' awl yawl po' ole Yank... I mean Nawthun folk:
Bring salted water to a boil. Add fatback or bacon grease. Add collard greens (preferred, some use mustard greens, turnip, or a mixture). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes--do not overcook!

Soak and wash black-eyed peas in cold water (can use hot water if late sleeping from a hangover). Rinse, cover with cold water, salt to taste. Add fatback or bacon grease. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.

To this meal add your choice of meat. Tradition is ham or pork chops along with generous helpings of hot, buttered corn bread. Yall enjoy now, ya heah?

Note from Fast5: On those greens, hold the stem and "strip" the leaf off. Throw out most of the stem, as it will make that great pot of greens bitter. Also, sometimes a little sugar added helps with that bitter taste. Then you will have some real good pot liqueur. And of course, you must use buttermilk for that baked cornbread and real butter.


Old Mom
1 cup wheat flour (we grind ours from the berry) 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup of margarine (or equivalent
of your powdered margarine)
1-1/2 cups of finely shredded cheddar cheese (or, equivalent of your powdered)
1/4 cups dried onion flakes Red pepper if you like stuff hot
Combine the flour and salt. Cut in margarine, cheese, and onion flakes (personally, I like very sharp cheddar, but you could probably use about any kind of cheese). Shape the dough into a log, and put in the fridge overnight.

Next day, slice in it fairly thin (about 1/4 in), and spread them out on the dehydrator trays. You should get about 3 dozen crackers...depending on how you slice it. Dry about 8-9 hours at 145 °F. If you don't have a temperature setting on your dehydrator, you might need to go longer, or rotate your trays.



A local tavern here makes these every Thursday night and they sell hundreds of them at 3 for a buck.
2 pounds ground beef 2 cans Spam
Grated cheddar cheese Pizza sauce
Italian seasonings Pepper and hot sauce (optional)
Brown the ground beef, grate or grind the Spam, and add it to the skillet with the beef. After cooking for about 5 minutes add the cheddar cheese and seasonings. When cheese melts, add the pizza sauce. Cook for about 15 minutes on medium stirring constantly. Preheat your oven to 350*. Split hamburger buns and spread the meat/Spam mixture on the bun halves. Leave them open face. Place on cookie sheets and bake until they start to brown on the edges or to taste.

I usually use the hot sauce after they are done and served instead of mixing ahead of time - some people can't stand the heat.

You might want to vary the Spam-to-meat ratio to suit your taste. These really are very good. Just a way to use up your Spam.



The veggies are chopped and dried (got 'em on sale last fall)
Half-pound bag of lentils 3 small-medium potatoes
Two carrots One large onion
3 bratwurst sausages Garlic and pepper to taste
10-12 beef bouillon cubes or equivalent stock  
Soak veggies until they're swelled back up. Chop and fry sausage and onions. Rinse and start beans cooking. Add beef bouillon. Add carrots & potatoes. When meat & onions are about done, add garlic and pepper. When meat & onions are done, add to veggies. Low boil/high simmer until you're starving from the smell. Eat with fresh, hot bread