Food Security for the Faint of Heart: Keeping Your Larder Full in Lean Times.


192 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 978-0-86571-624-7
DDC 641.4




Reviewed by Shannon Gordon


It would be easy for a book on this topic to be unappealing to mainstream readers; however, Robin Wheeler’s insight, humour, and advice make it a very practical 166 pages. Food Security for the Faint of Heart is about being aware of your potential for culinary self-sufficiency in emergency situations—whether in the context of a freak snowstorm, earthquake, or hurricane. Advice is offered on stockpiling basics, smart water collecting, various food preparation and storage techniques, and gardening as a way to maintain a renewable food supply. Wheeler presents an interesting commentary on North American culinary tendencies, such as the habit of living on processed foods, which makes this an especially resourceful read for any urban dweller. Observed is that fact that “we have been trained that if it is right in front of our face (e.g., free, accessible) it is somehow inferior, and that the only really good stuff is at the store.” The importance of free food options during tough economic times and natural disasters is critical. At the international level, Wheeler admits that “true food security gets harder to access as the global economy becomes more powerful and unbalanced”. This is reflected in Wheeler’s respect for, and praise of, the local, organic farmer. There are many reasons, both for health and economics, that food preparedness is important. In her own words, Wheeler suggests that “if you approach food security just as you would prepare for a natural disaster, then you won’t feel totally blindsided by the slightly smaller stuff like power outages or losing your job with a house full of hungry kids”. The purpose of this book is to think about how well you would do in a natural disaster: would you be prepared? Wheeler offers recipes for brining, beef jerky, mayonnaise, stock, bouillon, canning, and even squash-blossom frittata. Most chapters conclude with an assortment of suggested readings including books and websites. Robin Wheeler is also the author of Gardening for the Faint of Heart.


Wheeler, Robin., “Food Security for the Faint of Heart: Keeping Your Larder Full in Lean Times.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,