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PALM LATITUDES

Verbatim

June 20, 1993| From "The Talking Leaves Newsletter," by Christopher Nyerges, an L.A.-based writer who teaches survival skills to city dwellers. and

In times of famine and scarcity, humankind has often resorted to most ingenious solutions. For those without the foresight or the ability to store up for the future, or those who lack garden space, the following advice may come in handy. First, collect beechwood, or other woods lacking in turpentine (such as pines, firs, spruce and other conifers). Chop the wood into chips, or better yet, shavings. Boil the shavings three or four times, stirring regularly. Next, dry the wood and reduce it to powder. Then bake the wood in your oven three or four times, and grind (into flour) as you would grind corn or wheat.

Wood prepared like this acquires the aroma and flavor of corn, according to the "Emigrant's Handbook" of 1854. Leaven prepared for corn bread is best to use with this wood flour. A spongy bread results that is described as "by no means unpalatable."

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