Why do we need to write and read about storing food?
Life is very different from 100 years ago, even 50 years ago. We've gotten away from providing for ourselves, and depending on grocery stores, fast food junkets, convenience stores. How many people remember their grandparents "putting up" tomatoes, corn and beans that they grew themselves? How many of our children know that hamburger actually comes from a cow that was killed, or that a tomato is actually a fruit that has the most amazing taste when homegrown?
If something was to happen right now (gas cost over $5.00 a gallon, drought, fire, ice storms, tornadoes, floods, strikes, layoffs, civil unrest, unemployment, major injury, death of family's "bread winner", etc.), would you be able to feed your family?
Here's something most people (especially family) don't know: I've been homeless twice in my life. Once I was in my young 20's, so I adapted easily and changed things around quickly. The second was when my son was just 6 years old. I became disabled, wasn't able to qualify for assistance for months, and didn't have any food stored. We lived in a Friend-1's front yard, in a pop-up tent that a kind soul gave us. The heat of the Summer blistered, with an indoor-the-tent temp of over 110 degrees F. Another friend gave us enough money for a cooler/refrigerator, and our Friend-1 let us hook up an extension cord to the electricity in her house. We existed on peanut butter and crackers, and whatever we could get at a local food bank (bread, a fresh veggie or fruit, sometimes milk). It was horrible. Even if I had a way to cook, it was too hot AND it wouldn't have been safe since most of our stuff was stacked tightly in that tent. We were there for 6 very long weeks. I vowed never again to be without food. To do whatever I could do.
And still, sometimes I get lazy. Well, most of us are lax. We think "I'm craving a cheeseburger and fries; let's go to McDonald's." Or "Not pot roast again!" (think kid whining). Now... let's start preparing your pantry of stored foods for emergencies... read on...
- Take a look in your pantry. Don't have one? Tsk tsk tsk. Make one. Have no room? MAKE ROOM! Under your beds. In a closet. In the trunk of your car. In boxes stacked in a corner, hidden by a "curtain".
- Keep a diary of what you and your family eat. Every meal, every snack, every drink, even vitamins and supplements. Write in it for a month. Keep your receipts from grocery store trips, fast food & other restaurants, convenience store trips, and every thing you buy for that month that enters your mouth.
- Compare your receipts to your diary. Make a list of what you eat and drink the most.
- Consider special diets. In our three-person family, one is lactose-intolerance, one is gluten-intolerant, one has high blood pressure and is pre-diabetic, and two are very picky eaters.
- What of those items can be bought and stored? Remember, you need to think NO-ELECTRICITY, NO-REFRIGERATION, and MINIMAL COOKING.
- Take an inventory of what you have on hand. Compare it to your list. If you were stuck inside your home for a week, would you have enough canned goods, etc. to fix 7 days of 3-meals-a-day for your entire family? Without getting bored? Serving healthy, well-balanced meals?
Keep tuned to this website. We'll dicuss making your list, planning your food storage, how to store and how to process/can/dehydrate fresh produce you might grow or buy at the farmer's market.
Part 2 of this "Why Store Food" series is coming soon.