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Feb 12, 2009 02:26 PM

The End of the World as We Know it

In these darkening economic times, I have been thinking about setting up an "emergency preparedness pantry. I have read the Mormon's thoughts on food storage (they believe you should have a year's worth of provisions on hand at all times) and some of the Canadian government website info which suggests its important to stock up on things you will actually want to eat in extremely stressful times. I have also perused many websites selling keg of nitrogen packed wheat kernels etc. Anyone want to make suggestion of what to stock up on for an emergency, for someone who has no intention of having a rifle as one of the major components!

My freezer is well stocked at the best of times, and I have a standby battery pack good for a few hours, plus an old Armoire in the basement for storage. I also have two butane stoves and four 4 gallon plastic water containers.

What else should I consider?

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  1. A year's worth of provisions? Are Mormons known for their abundance of storage space?

    5 Replies
    1. re: tatamagouche

      Can't say for the freezer or water, but I have seen a house previously owned by Mormons that did have a space capable of storing a years worth of canned/dry goods-think long enormous pantry.

      1. re: elkgrovestella

        I was thinking "think Big Love" on HBO--three houses in one. They've gotta have ample storage space just with three houses combined. ;) But I literally laughed out loud when I read your comment last night, tatamagouche.

      2. re: tatamagouche

        Yes, big families, big houses and some of them have bomb shelters. At least that's what I recall from my travels in Utah.

        1. re: tatamagouche

          I lived in Salt Lake City for a couple of years as a kid. All of my friends had shelving in their basements or garages full of canned goods. I don't really know if it was a years worth or not. I do know that the mormon ladies often go to the cannery and can their own fruit. My mom went with one of her friends once and jarred peaches. It was also a way for the church to subsidize the cost of food for the large families.

          1. Have you seen the cookbook "Apocalyse Chow"?

            1. If you are really serious, I can assure you as a hurricane survivor, that the weak link is not food but water. You need a longer and more stable supply than 16 gallons which will last a very short time.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Sinicle

                Actually, you need a good filter, not gallons of stored water.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Unless you have no source of any water. A pump from a well runs on electricity.
                  Sooner or later, even a generator runs out of power.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    Unless you're in the desert, there's always a source of water. A high-volume hand-operated field-serviceable water purifier with a good pre-filter is an amazing thing. Creeks, swimming pools, puddles - they're all sources of potable water if you have the means of getting out the nasties.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      Technically you're right. As long as you have the mean to "get out the nasties" but few of us have that knowledge or equipment lying around the house.
                      People in hurricane county reflexively fill bathtubs and other vessels, but with other disasters that doesn't work.
                      Water is the first thing you run out of.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Go to any good camping supply store, and they can fix you up with what you need.

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          All you really need is bleach.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            um. not if it's salt water which is all we had after Isabelle hit the Chesapeake. Wells didn't work without electricity until we could get gasoline for the generators again.
                            Or the foul water after Katrina. That water which had stood for weeks in some cases ate through stainless steel. We had to have the blades on sterling silver knives replaced - the sterling survived, the stainless had holes in it. We wouldn't have drunk that water even with all the bleach in the world.
                            God! I feel like a hurricane magnet!

                            1. re: Davwud

                              Exactly. A gallon of bleach = 3,800 of gallons of water.

                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    I'm with you, passa. Let's go out happy!!!

                      1. re: taos

                        I with you guys, the h*ll with water, go for the beer and wine, cheetos and chips, crackers and cheese whiz :)

                        Seriously I won't have room in my tiny apt for 1 more box of crackers at time no less anything else. I guess I'm too optimistic and just hopeful.

                        I saw an email of what people (a family of 4) ate in a months time. They compared 20 countries. It was mind boggling and eye opening. What they ate in 1 month was close to what my friends ate in less than one week, and most of theirs was vegetables and grains, my friends, bags of chips, snacks, soda, it was amazing the comparisons.

                        1. re: taos

                          Seriously. my MIL was a survivalist. We will out last the Mormons and have tools to barter!

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              Tools, Spam and Dom Perignon.....

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                A shit load of # 10 cans of dehydrated foods and 5 gal. buckets of legumes, brown rice & wheat. MREs, candles, lanterns, chemical & radioactive decontamination suits and the coup de gras, de dah.....Israeli gas masks w/ German filters. BUT NO SPAM!

                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  sigh, we must find a way to convert you to the way of spam

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    Nope, long history w/ bad karma, 41 years ago. Happy Tet!

                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                      i agree. spam prepared right (ie the local hawaiian way) is awesome.

                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                Must agree!!! We always have 15 - 20 cases of wine on hand. Must have wine with whatever storage food is being served.

                              3. The sky is falling ! The sky is falling !

                                With all respect this times are quite rough in terms of the economy but why some people are going nuts is hard to understand. A large percentage of people around the world would see the current "poor" standard of living in the western world as something they will never be able to achieve and still they don't sound this desperate as too many people in the western world. A lot of people seem to forget that our current standard of living even in this rough times is still extremely good compared to most other people outside of the western world.

                                18 Replies
                                1. re: honkman

                                  I didn't really expect to get into politics, and I am not interested in playing if it comes to radiation suits. For that option I will go the Dom route. Yes I know lots of peoples eat a hell of a lot less than we do, but they are used to it. I spent the last five winters in Costa Rica, where the people are happy to buy a big bag of rice and a big bag of beans once a year, and just pick bananas and pineapples etc, to augment the rice.

                                  My question is what to store that is culturally appropriate for ME! And besides as a diabetic, rice just doesn't cut it.

                                  I am sorry if you don't have th espace for storage, but I bet you could find a knook or cranny if it meant your survival for a few days.

                                  Several weeks ago, our neighborhood had an electrical blackout for sixteen hours, no big deal if your prepared. many of my neighbours weren't. You would think having lived threw the BIG BLACKOUT (3 weeks, luckily in summertime)several years folks would put a little bit by for a stopgap. I have seen emergency shelters in school gymnasiums with a thousand people sleeping on the floor. I prefer a more prepared option. SPAM is for the second week.

                                  1. re: Danybear

                                    What I don't get is the question what are your trying to survive. It really sounds that you expect that the sky is falling and for me it sounds that your are in a state of panic which is completely unnecessary.

                                  2. re: honkman

                                    This is all true, but the fact remains that our standard of living is precariously based on a national industrial food supply that is in turn based on fossil fuel. For people who have no idea of where to obtain food other than a grocery store, this is (and should be) terrifying.

                                    I lived in Santa Cruz during the Loma Prieta quake. Traffic (and grocery deliveries to stores) was extremely curtailed for weeks while the roads were repaired. Most Americans have probably never experienced shopping in stores with mostly empty shelves, and no other source of food. I have.

                                    I didn't starve (obviously). I did, however, come away with a realization of how dependent we are on the meat packers, vegetable harvesters, and above all trucks and trains for our food supply. Yes, we live very well. But if there were a true crisis, those who live on locally-grown beans and rice in third-world countries will be able to cope with it much better than the average American will.

                                    1. re: avgolemona

                                      But that's reality. We rely on the industrialized food supply because for some of us it's the only one we've got. I live in downtown Chicago. If my supermarket disappears, I starve, short of figuring out how to trap the pigeons and squirrels in the park . In any case, economic downturn and even Depression will not mean a disappearance of food. I remember the Great Depression very well. Grandma's stove usually had a big pot of navy beans boiled with potatoes and served as an entree with chopped onion. You mashed up the potato on your plate, spooned over the beans and bean gravy, and sprinkled on some onion. This was delicious and to this day there is nothing I would rather eat. She also did a lot of fried cornmeal mush and a lot of rice pudding. I also served considerable time in honorable academic poverty for the years my husband was in school. Stretch 1/2 lb meat cut up small to make a gigantic pasta casserole that you can eat for days. Ditto a pot of hearty soup.---thicken it with pasta. Ditto tuna-noodle casserole. If you roast a chicken, make broth from the bones and there you have another pot of soup. If you fry meat, use the drippings in the pan to make a milk gravy. Eggs can be dinner. Use everything; stale bread becomes bread crumbs, stuffing, or pudding, or lunch in the form of toasted sandwiches. Ratty fruit goes into a box of jello. Don't waste money on prepared foods. Do your own baking. Make your own babyfood. Read the paper to see what's on sale and buy loss leaders.

                                      1. re: Querencia

                                        Well said and GREAT advice! Oh, and for "depression food" don't forget home made apple dumplings with sweet warm nutmeg milk for Sunday breakfast! '-)

                                        1. re: Querencia

                                          It's ironic I'm participating in this thread.
                                          It's interesting to read the perspective of people and their opinions.
                                          What's ironic is there are very few people who do what I do...
                                          Figuring out how to survive is just one component of how I've figured out what the body/mind is capable of.
                                          I know my reality and hope, if the doomsday scenarios ever do happen, people know how to kick that basic, fundamental instinct in....
                                          Not everybody has me.

                                          1. re: latindancer

                                            I'll bite. I have curiosity. What you mean by "people know how to kick that basic, fundamental instinct in....".
                                            And then there's what you do, that very few people do...

                                            1. re: Scargod

                                              I've found stockpiling food is really not the issue when it comes to survival and coping mechanisms.

                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                Ah! My first wife believed in stockpiling everything. It made her feel better but was very, very hard on our finances. She also ate, as a coping mechanism.
                                                Perhaps you are suggesting that it is a learned mental and physical skill to survive because you cannot hoard goods and have every imaginable device in order to be prepared for every kind of disaster or challenge that might confront you.
                                                I'm still gonna keep my snake-bite kit and duct tape handy!

                                            2. re: latindancer

                                              I think maybe latindancer is referring to cannibalism.

                                            3. re: Querencia

                                              I pretty much do all these things already.

                                              I was recently laid off. It was totally unexpected; I just got a major raise two months ago, plus the assurance of my boss that my job was safe.

                                              One of the things I'm pleased about is that my pantry and freezer are well-stocked. I've already bought my vegetable seeds for the garden, which I had the foresight to increase by 1/3 last fall. I'm trying to make a game out of seeing how long I can get by without buying anything other than dairy.

                                              1. re: avgolemona

                                                Let us know how that works out, av! best of luck finding a new job!

                                                1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                  Well, so far it's been a week and a half, and the only thing I've bought is half and half for my coffee. I'm making it last by drinking more tea. I have enough tea stocked to last me for months.

                                                  I'm doing Bittman's "vegetarian until 6" eating plan, extending it to "vegetarian cooked at home until the weekend (unless someone else is buying)." It's actually not that hard - I have plenty of time to find recipes and to cook. I'm trying to use up everything I have stored before I buy more. So far, that means a lot of quinoa, beans, bulgur, oats, rice, canned and dried tomatoes, and pasta. I've made the large bunch of fresh spinach I bought the day before the layoff last long enough for three big salads, and the rest of it is getting creamed tonight. I've still got most of a big bag of Brussels sprouts likewise bought before the axe fell, plus squash stored from last summer's garden. They key is to buy and grow things that keep well.

                                                  Now if spring will just hurry up a little, I'll have fresh greens (spinach, lettuce) from the garden.

                                                  1. re: avgolemona

                                                    Interesting - if you are able to keep it going, you should start a separate thread, and detail what you are doing. What substitutions you are making, what you found to be cheap, etc.

                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                      Yes, please keep us informed with your new lifestyle! I love to use up things that others would throw away. I'm frugal (ok, cheap) and I love hearing stories of the way others survive without constant shopping. Maybe a blog, if you have time? Anyway, best of luck with this! And I do hope you can find another job that suits you in the near future.

                                                    2. re: avgolemona

                                                      If you have outdoor garden space that faces South, build a "cold frame" preferably up against your house for extra warmth. You can sow lettuce, spinach, etc. in there NOW, if you know what you're doing.
                                                      Make the cold frame with a salvaged storm door or some salvaged window sashes.
                                                      Google "cold frame gardening." If you do it correctly and tend it faithfully, you can harvest pretty much year round.
                                                      Cool to have your own fresh mesclun in January.

                                                  2. re: avgolemona

                                                    In case you can use a laugh, I saw this here a few years ago and got such a kick out of it