There Was a Feeling in the Air… Hard Times Were Sure to Come

After I wrote “Acorns and Eat’em,” a how-to cookbook for gathering and preparing acorns, I wanted to share what else I had learned while living in the mountains, far from the grocery store, with a limited budget. Y2K was fast approaching and survivalists were sending me checks for my acorn book. Obviously there was a feeling in the air that hard times were sure to come. I care about people and nutrition so I continued creating unusual recipes from simple, natural, unprocessed ingredients. For example, in “Poor Jonny’s Cookbook”, my recipes teach you the art of making biscuits from scratch with minimal ingredients. Our great-grandparents knew how to survive, we need to follow their example and return to the basics. There’s a little bit of everything in this cookbook, my hope is that when you use this book, you’ll get into the flow of cooking with what you

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

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Poor Jonny's Cover


My Depression-Era Parents Glamorized Poverty… Sort of

My parents grew up during the depression. Sometimes my mother didn’t wish to talk about her childhood, like the time they had to burn the piano to keep warm. She grew up in a beautiful home her father and his brothers built. Her father built homes along the river in Atchison, Kansas and several times he didn’t get paid for his work. “Oh well,” he’d say, “at least they have a nice house to live in.” Looking at a picture of my mother when she was about nine, she said, “I remember that day. I was happy because I got a new pair of shoes. That was the last new pair of shoes I had for years because the depression hit.”

Before he was a teenager, on the streets of New Orleans, my father carried a freezer on his back and sold ice cream. He grew to be a fantastic salesman, helping his family by selling newspapers, shining shoes and selling bananas that fell off the boats. But there were a lot of hard times. Born in 1920, he remembers standing in line at Christmastime and getting oranges and a toy that the fire department gave to depression-era kids. As a young man my father hopped freight trains and headed west. He and my mother used to laugh about their hard times, like sharing an ice cream because they had only enough money for one. Or the time my mother let my father ride the trolley with a block of ice while she walked because they had only enough for one fare. And then there was the time their car was smoking and rattling as they drove it across the bridge while people laughed. “Let’em laugh,” my father is quoted as saying.

Because my father was such a good salesman and my mother a good bookkeeper, they made money over the years in furniture and antiques. But I always remembered their romantic stories about their adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the 1970’s I let go of most of my possessions and gave poverty a shot. I’m not sorry I took that path. I found the very core of my soul and like my parents; I’ve got a lot of great stories to tell.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River. Available here:

Gold River:

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Gold River Colored Cover

Attitude Is Everything? What About Food?

I met someone last Saturday who was firing questions at me regarding survival food. She knew of my book, Acorns And Eat’em and was hoping to supplement her diet with them. Two problems with that. One, it’s a bad year for acorns in her neck of the woods, they are nowhere to be found. Two, acorns are not great for eating large quantities of unless you are starving, which is what this woman and her boyfriend are worried about. “I have no money,” she said. She held a government job but retired early hoping to find a new life’s calling, then they lost their home and headed for the hills. She has a great attitude and is accomplished at networking. I told he she could eat a lot of potatoes. But I went to bed Saturday night, tossed and turned all night long with her words ringing in my head. “I get to go to the food bank once a month. I only have the nerve to take about eight little red potatoes.” I told her where to look for acorns.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

eBook through Barnes & Noble: