Bill Kaysing’s Books To Live By
Image by Earthworm
The 99 cents A Meal Cookbook is one I’ve cooked from for last 15 years or so. From it comes the much loved Spanish Rice Pot, lentil nut loaf, the handy for potlucks Chinese Rice Pilaf and the solar oven ready Lima Bean Casserole. Since I’m not inspired by food per se, all my cookbooks have non-food concepts such as cooking for backwoods camping, cooking with only a jack knife or meals that don’t need to be cooked to be eaten, but is prepared ahead of time. This book is for penny pinchers and foragers. It emphasizes the use of raw inexpensive ingredients, dried grains and fresh in season fruits and vegetables. It is categorized by the main ingredient. It is mostly vegetarian and is informative about nutrition and overlooked grains that are good for you like millet which is mostly sold as a birdseed.
When I realized that the same author wrote an article for Mother Jones about micro housing, that I refer to a lot, I decided to find out more about him and ordered a used copy of his Freedom Encyclopedia. This is the book I would write if I were going to write a practical guide to living. It was written in the late ’80s, but carries a philosophy that reminds me of the books I read in the ’70s about how to live self-sufficiently on very little. Bill Kaysing lived such a life, partly nomadic, full of odd jobs, interesting travel for work, while making some money writing. He is famous for being the man who came up with the conspiracy theory about the moon landing being a hoax. But I don’t think he’s attached to that theory. He wrote it more to prompt people to think for themselves and not trust everything the government tells you.
This book covers life skills that will make it easier to divest yourself of 9 to 5 slavery. He writes about staying healthy, eating for cheap (recipes included) and finding a place to live for cheap which includes lots of scenarios and anecdotes from his travels to consider. And a bit more about building micro housing and the California Mello Act which allows you to build a dwelling on an existing lot without permits. Called a Granny House it must be no bigger than 640 square feet and be occupied by at least one person over 60. Apparently the only organization that has tried to put this into practice are members of Holy Terra Church. There is also a lot about living on a boat which he did at one time in the Bay Area.
Illustrated with photographs and diagrams it is also a vehicle for his life philosophy which shows him to be a compassionate, thoughtful man.