It's doubtful whether most ""suburban"" families will have the intimate rapport with nature which the Firths seem to have achieved -- curing, smoking and salting their own meats: lusty bacons and delightfully individualized harm (""some have been salty slims, some nutty good-guys, and others jolly fat boys""), an impressive array of sausages (garlic, Italian pork, bratwurst, salami, knackwurst). But then Firth grew up in the country tradition with Missouri grandparents and even lived for a time in Alaska where she learned to preserve such exotica as moose, caribou and black bear -- ""delicious."" Not that this tireless, cheerful woman stops with meats; there are also chapters on home brews, everything from spruce and ginger beer to a highly potent Cherry Bounce. Also on pickling, not only kraut but carrots and cucumbers; on potted home-made cheeses from cheddar to limburger; on canning everything from asparagus to strawberries; and, inevitably, on those herbal tea infusions some of which she candidly admits are ""evil-tasting"" if not downright ""nauseating."" Nonetheless the Firths don't come on like faddy organic freaks -- you know they've been into this eating style for a long time and for the sheer joy of it. And she's marvelously specific on such matters as the correct proportions for pickling brine, temperature control for aging those hams and sausages, selecting a reliable slaughter house, adding just the right spices, and avoiding bacterial contamination. It can't be as effortless as she makes it all sound but for those determined to get away from ""plastic-wrapped patterns of living"" -- this is the book to start you off.