I'm not sure I'm really talking about "just survival" actually.
I'm talking about living a quality life on less. Sure, if I was starving, I could figure out fire + something relatively edible = food. I'm talking about things to learn to live smaller and more independently. Learning to cook some of your favorite foods so that if you can't afford to go out to eat and eat it, you can do it at home.
I'm not talking about the collapse of the world - I'm talking about the fact that lots of us are learning to live on less, whether by job loss or by frugality itself. What can we do to maximize that?
I agree with this... my DH and I are constantaly trying to improve our way of life to be simple, self reliant, self sustainable.. we make 95% of our food from scratch, and if we go out to eat.. it's to try something new, and try to re-create it from home.. while the meal might be expensive to make at home, it's more expensive to order it from a restaurant. But we also get to spend time in the kitchen together, experimenting.. to us, the $ is worth an evening spent together, making something together, and learning, verses 2 hours in a restaurant.
We have a family community garden, and process most of our own food, even though it would be cheeper to buy a jar of pickles, we still made our own, just because we can, and they taste better too:
I also agree that sewing can be expensive if you are going to the fabric store to get all your supplies, and most everything still comes from china... (which was extremely frustrating for me.. carbon footprint..ect), but I enjoy making small projects for my children because they know that I made it expecially for them...
Oh.. about the books, check out the local thrift store or goodwill.. I picked up a book in the cookbook section "Stocking Up" by rodale press.. 2$, printed in '73, that goes through how to homestead, garden, butcher, cold celler set up, winter gardening, stockpileing, harvesting, cheesemaking, all with recipies and canning tips.. very cool.