Best Homesteader Crash Courses (2013)

Institute of Domestic Technology

Self-reliance is a virtue. Learning to make your own cheese or roast your own coffee would make you awfully virtuous — as well as prepared for the apocalypse. The Institute of Domestic Technology is here to help. Its classes offer instruction in useful skills such as pickling, canning, making cheese, even curing bacon! Head to the Mariposa Creamery, on the grounds of the historic Zane Grey Estate in Altadena, for a three-part series on making cheeses, ranging from ricotta and mozzarella to Gouda; it's taught by Steve Rudicel and Gloria Putnam, whose mold-ripened goat cheese won a gold medal at the L.A. County Fair in 2010. Or maybe you'd rather learn to make your own bitters and liqueurs, in the speakeasy (next to the bowling alley) of the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. After all, if it's the end of the world as we know it, craft cocktails will help to ease the pain. Institute of Domestic Technology, instituteofdomestictechnology.com. —Lisa Horowitz