Carla Emery: Author of the Old Fashioned Recipe Book

A Plowboy Interview with Carla Emery who raised a family, farmed and wrote about it all in her now named book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living.


| May/June 1975



033-006-01

Carla Emery, author of the Old Fashioned Recipe Book


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

It may not be everyone's dream . . . but it's probably safe to say that a large number of MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share more or less the same fantasy of what an idealized version of the Good Life is all about. Something like: Living way out somewhere in what's left of the really big and unpolluted back country. Using your own hands to raise and produce most of what you eat and otherwise consume. Exchanging down-home ideas and information with knowledgeable, salt-of-the-earth neighbors. Maybe making your mark in the world by compiling that information into a relevant, useful form that you could sell by mail... thereby spreading a worthwhile back-to-the-land philosophy to the cities where it's needed while earning enough folding money to tide you over the rough years when the dogs get into the chickens and the pastures all wilt from lack of rain. And then, perhaps, taking that little mail-order business and using it to build something even bigger . . . something that could somehow do even more good for the planet and the people who live on it.  

Well, that's exactly the life that a mountain farm girl from Montana — Carla Emery — now leads. And, since no single living soul can tell her story as well as Carla can, this introduction will be mercifully short. Suffice it to say that Ms. Emery passed through North Carolina (in a Dodge Minihome loaded with children and copies of her Old Fashioned Recipe Book) last February and stopped in MOTHER's offices only long enough to grant the following interview to Julie Needham and Wayne Martin.  

And that's all the warning you're going to get before you meet Ms. Emery for yourself. Except for two things: [1] Carla is certifiably one of the craziest, warmest, (sometimes unintentionally) funniest, wisest, most lovable, and idealistic zanies now walking the face of the earth and [2] we think this old world would be a lot better off if we had a few more people like her.  

Carla, during the past few months you've taken the United States by storm. Every day or so, it seems, you — or your book or something about your School of Country Living — pops up in a magazine or a newspaper or on the radio or TV. You've become an overnight legend . . . an almost mythical Doer of Great Deeds! 

Your fame has spread so far and so fast, in fact, that I still don't know much about you as a person. So please, before we go any further, tell me something about the real Carla Emery. 

I was born in 1939, which makes me 36. I find that quite interesting, by the way, because I'm very close to exactly the same age as John Shuttleworth, publisher of THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS ® . . . and Jerry Belanger, who runs Countryside magazine. We're all three late Depression babies and we're all involved in this effort to bring about more environmentally sound lifestyles by finding ways for people to be more self-sufficient. Maybe that means something . . . maybe there's a reason that what we're doing isn't done by people in their mid-20's or their mid-50's. Once in a while I speculate about that.





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