Carla Emery and The Old Fashioned Cookbook

Carla Emery
Carla Emery | Source

Carla Emery holds a special place in my heart. When I was just a young mother learning how to garden and cook her book “The Old Fashioned Recipe Book” was more than just a wealth of information. She shared her personal life in the book and I felt like I was reading letters from a friend. Her book will give you all the information you need to be successful at country living.

She started it as a way to help those in the early 1970’s that were into the "back to the land movement". Young people were disillusioned by the economy at the time and the Viet Nam war and were searching for a sense of security. Self-sufficiency in producing one’s own clothing and food was of great importance. As these young people came to Carla with all of their questions she saw a need for a book like this.

Although it was called a recipe book it was much more. She shared her personal life living on the farm, gardening information, preserving your own food and of course her recipes and much, much more. She edited her book for 36 years until she came up with her final edition of “The Encyclopedia of Country Living, An Old Fashioned Recipe Book”. The final edition contains all the charm of the original and includes many hints and tips readers shared with her.

The book isn’t just for those that want to live the country life. There is so much cooking knowledge shared that anyone would benefit. Because the book was rewritten so many times, you will bounce around her life a bit. It starts with her life with babies and toddlers and included here and there are her stories when she was older and a grandmother. She herself says that she felt like she was writing letters to a friend.

The very first edition of the book was made on mimeograph paper and was offered in a regular school type binder. This was the copy that I first read and I had taken out of the library. These first editions were sold by her personally at county fairs. Later as she became well-known the book was printed in a large paperback edition. She also appeared at many speaking engagements and on many popular TV shows.


Carla traveled the entire US selling her books at a great cost to her not only financially, but also physically, but it was of great importance to her that people learned how to live an independent environmentally friendly life. Her children traveled with her and she had seven in all. In the mid 1970’s she traveled for four years going from one guest appearance to another. In 1979, she and her husband divorced and she decided to stay home at the farm and raise her children.

She also wrote “Secret, Don’t Tell: “The Encyclopedia of Hypnotism, an expose“. I’ve never read this book, but have heard that it contains information that would surprise us about the government.

Sadly, Carla passed away on October 11, 2005 from complications of low blood pressure. She died in Odessa, Texas after a speaking tour there. Her fans have greatly missed her.

After all these years, I found her last edition at a library book sale. Now, I’ll be back to sharing moments with Carla.

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Comments 7 comments

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Thank you very much for revitalizing Carla Emery's works, I am interested in this topic of sustainability. Timely and wonderful Hub. Thanks


chspublish profile image

chspublish 5 years ago from Ireland

Very interesting to read about Carla Emery. Have tried the homestead living and wish I'd had her book, though I live in Ireland.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

LillyGrillzit and chspublish, Thanks for reading the hub. I think with the current economy it might help all of us to get back into homesteading. The best I've done so far is making a garden, but I need to do more.


Nancyathome 5 years ago

I read most of Carla's first book ages ago. In fact I opened it up today to find a made-from-scratch recipe for cream tomato soup.I found it! I've often wondered about her & family. I am sorry to learn of her passing. What an inspiration she remains to many of us. RIP, Carla. Well done.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

Nancyathome, Thanks for commenting. I still have her book too. The book is a great resource. I was sorry to hear she had passed too.


GiftsByDiana profile image

GiftsByDiana 2 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

Someday, I'll add this book to my collection.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA Author

GiftsbyDiana, It is an enjoyable book, because she shares so much of her own life and dreams. If someone wants to homestead, this is like the bible for that. Thanks for commenting.

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