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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 it....trust 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


                                            4. We also have thought about stocking up a bit more. We always have a good stock of things in the pantry and freezer. Think about freeze-dried meats, cheezes and vegies. What would you do with wheat?? Stock things you will eat, including powdered milk, pasta, rice, etc. A really good source for storage foods is Emergency Essentials --BePrepared .com. We have ordered from them and prices and service are really good.

                                              1. Well, I've been around the block a time or two when it comes to survival food. My most intense experience was when I lived in Turkey, and on 1 April 1960, Francis Gary Powers was shot down in a U-2 spy plan while photographing secret Soviet Union military installations. The CIA and SAC REQUIRED that I (and all other military wives living in the area of Incirlik AFB) stock a survior's pantry just in case we were actually hit by an H-bomb, as Chairman Kruschev vowed he would do. We were trained in how to eat a can of tuna if it had been exposed to massive radioactive fall out. (turn the can over and only eat a cone of tuna from the center of the can, according to the "experts" training us.) We had to have water in glass containers as plastic is not impermeable.

                                                I now live in an area that is regularly threatened by tornadoes, not to mention suffering real power failures of fairly reasonable duration. As in a matter of hours as opposed to days or weeks. Soooooooooo... I have some stuff in a box in the closet, but it's probably time I go through it and check for "Use by:" dates. Even the bottles water have probably expired. And I probably need to at least turn the cans of Spam and soup over.

                                                I've also learned some things not to do. First and foremost is not to consider anything in my well stocked and crowded freezers as survival food for any emergency that includes a power failure for more than a day and a half.

                                                So as repulsive as it may sound, for me a "survivalist" food supply includes things like individual packs of applesauce, pudding, and such. A supply of butane canisters for my table top one burner "stove" that can be used for cooking a generous supply of rice and/or ramen. A few jars of Centrum vitamins to compensate for a limited diet. And for a sense of emotional well being, bags and bags of Hershey's Kisses and Oreo cookies. Oh, and don't forget a few cans of string beans to help promote a sense of gratitude for all the rest.

                                                "God, bless this food which we are about...."

                                                34 Replies
                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                  "And I probably need to at least turn the cans of Spam and soup over."

                                                  interesting, C1. why do you need to turn 'em over?

                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                    I believe she means cycle them/use them and replace those with fresh ones.

                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                      It's best to literally turn some types of canned goods over every few months or so. Probably not necessary with Spam. but for a great example of what I'm talking about, set a can of refried beans on your pantry shelf for a couple of months, then open it from the bottom. The bottom of the can will be a brick of packed beans, turn it over and remove the top and they will be somewhat soupy at that end. There are a lot of canned goods that benefit from a monthly inversion. Or even just pick them up and shake them every once in a while. I do it regularly with canned soups. Not a problem with ramen. '-)

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        *fascinating* -- i had no idea. thanks. =)

                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                          And I thought I could read your mind... I thought, if there is a necessity to turn them over it would be from chemicals or gasses pooling in one end or the other and causing the metal to be eaten through sooner. I have seen ends with that going on before.
                                                          But I said, "Nah, she means turn them by eating and replacing". Man, I need to go back to Shamen school!

                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                            LOL! Do you mean to tell me that with all of the canned refried beans you must surely have resorted to in an emergency, you have never noticed how thick they are at the bottom of the can? I love Campbell's "Soup at Hand" that you nuke and slap back on the sipper's lid, but the Chicken and Stars noodle soup is a real problem. No matter how much you shake it before heating, the noodles settle to the bottom before you're half way through and you have to get a spoon and remove the lid to finish it. Can't drink that stuff while you drive! But hey, give me a supply of the Creamy Tomato and a grilled cheese sandwiches and I'll drive to Alaska! '-)

                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              Chicken and stars always explode in my microwave - every single time!!

                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                Are you taking the seal off? (JOKE!) Seriously, the first time that happened to me would be the last time I bought it. For what it's worth, I shake the can vigorously before breaking the seal, then nuke it for exactly one minute and fifteen seconds, then stir with a spoon and cap with the sipping lid. Never had any problems. So you shake the can a lot before opening?

                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                  I have to say that my kids (aged 15 and 17) are mostly making 'Soup at Hand' - and I would bet they don't shake enough to break up the stars in the bottom of the container before microwaving. It also kind of explains why the other soups don't explode, they are less dense, more liquid.

                                                              2. re: Caroline1

                                                                Yes, I do buy them on occasion, but I usually try to have a stock of dried black and pinto beans on hand at all times. When I open a can of beans I shake it a lot then open it from the bottom.
                                                                I used to drink 'n drive... Carnation Instant Breakfasts with a raw egg in 'em (for breakfast). I can't believe you are eating canned soups! I thought you cooked 24/7...

                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                  Carnation, Instant Breakfast, with a raw egg and a little Black Label, I bet; no wonder you're shakin' and breaking up the stars!
                                                                  Flying home htis morning to more snow. After Death Valley yesterday, I don't want to.

                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                    LOL! I DO cook! Just that sometimes, when I'm working, I don't have time to cook. Well, maybe I do have time, but I forget until I'm well passed hungry.

                                                                    Besides, don't be grouchy. Yesterday my HUGE spice rack crashed to the floor around me. I just barely touched it in passing, and POW! dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of herbs, spices, vinegars, oils came tumbling down all over me and the floor. Thank heaven no liquid containers broke. The only things that did break are the pestle to my smallest spice mortar and the glass canister full of French lavender for cooking. You should smell my trash can! Who knew a molly bolt would break free??? <sigh> And now I CAN"T cook until I clear the counters of spices! I need a sheet rock repairman. grrrrrrrrrrrrrr....

                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                      When do tou want me to be there?

                                                                      Passadumkeg the Handyman!

                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                        Bless your heart! Think you can make it in about twenty minutes? '-)

                                                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                                                        Have them re-attach it to studs, and I'm not talkin' me or Marco Gordito!

                                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                                          Well, that's part of the problem. The stupid builder didn't put the studs where I want the spice rack! Meanwhile I'm looking at it as an opportunity to find a better solution. Altogether, that particular spice rack only has about 20 running feet of space and I do need more than that. It's an interesting challenge.

                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                            We have more spices than we had space for. We were given a magnetic spice "rack" and then bought another and attached them to the side of the shelves where we have the other spices. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...

                                                                            1. re: lgss

                                                                              Thanks! Very attractive. I think Alton Brown uses them (or something similar) in his TV kitchen. For me the problem is I don't keep just spices in my spice rack. I keep things like bottles of fish sauce, vinegars, oils, odd sized canisters, larger containers, stuff like that, so open shelves that accept a variety of shapes and sized containers in close proximity to the cook top works best for me. But I DO like that idea!

                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                              And you're willing to be the anchor for my spice shelves? :-)

                                                                                1. re: JRCann

                                                                                  Molly bolt = toggle bolt. But it's only as strong as the drywall it's attached to, so attaching to a stud is always a safer bet. My only problem is that somebody else has to mark them for me; the electronic stud finder just beeps incessantly when I'm in the room.

                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                    Sorry, my wife is the original stud finder and she married him. Just tunk on the wall and listen for the stud.

                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                      Yeah, I'd like a refund for all of the stud finders I've bought that didn't work! Knocking on the wall is a lot more reliable. When that fails, then a really long skinny finishing nail and wall piercing is the only way to fly. If the walls are white, toothpaste makes a great caulk! '-)

                                                                                    2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                      Well, molly bolts and toggle bolts aren't exactly interchangeable. Toggle bolts are great for hanging something from a ceiling, but for a vertical surface molly bolts are a better choice. With a toggle bolt the hole it passes through has to be larger to get the toggle through, so on a vertical surface it has room to slide around. This comes from a lot of years experience as an interior designer. For the record, it's easier to patch after a toggle bolt than it is with a molly bolt, but hey, if you have to have a secure attachment, you'll have to do a little drywall patching when you take it out.

                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                        Drill the damn thing THROUGH the wall and anchor on exterior sheathing!

                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                          Great idea if it was an outside wall.... In my dining room?

                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                            YES! And then put up a big shelf in the diningroom so they can sandwich the damn wall and help hold up the house! F--- sheetrock bolts!

                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                caroline, use construction-grade adhesive, in addition to molly or toggle bolts (they're not *quite* the same) to affix your spice rack. http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/in...

                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  Good idea, but.... If I ever want to move the spice rack, or should I sell the house (no immediate plans for that!), the construction grade adhesive pretty much guarantees I'll have to replace a lot of drywall! /-)

                                                                                      2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                        "the electronic stud finder just beeps incessantly when I'm in the room."
                                                                                        alan barnes, you are very funny! ;-).

                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                          Maybe he's had TKRs (total knee replacements)? That'll do it every time! '-)

                                                                    2. The freezer won't help if the power goes out. Mine did for a few days and it turned into a giant box of putrid nastiness.

                                                                      If you really want to stockpile, pick dried/canned goods.

                                                                      And while a bounty of wine/liquor is suggested (and with which I concur), you'll want 5 times that amount in H20 just to rehydrate (let alone shower, clean with, etc).

                                                                      Otherwise, I've not yet seen a reply mentioning self sufficiency. If you've got a bit of soil, plant some things. If you've got a bit more space, have some chickens. With a bit more room, you can add a goat, pigs, a cow, etc. That's pretty much what people did 100 years ago or 500 years ago.

                                                                      My grandpa's town in Europe was destroyed 5 times over in WWII but they always had a great little garden out back and never went hungry.

                                                                      1. Get an emergency radio that is NOT dependent on batteries. You crank them to give them power and they keep going. Mine has AM/FM/short wave, etc. It also has an emergency siren, high intensity beam spotlight, and (get this) a charging station for my Blackberry. Now what are YOU going to do when your cellphone runs out of juice and there ain't no electricity to recharge?
                                                                        In the aftermath of Katrina, nobody could get through to a 504 (New Orleans) area code cell phone for weeks. Texting worked intermittently. There's a way around that using PIN communication if your carrier has it. Find out.
                                                                        If there is a prolonged power outage, cell towers go dark. Have a PLAN for how you will communicate with family members.

                                                                        Never let your gas tank go below half full. Gas stations may run out and can't be resupplied.
                                                                        Have a backup tank for your gas grill.
                                                                        Keep cash, lots of it, in a secure place in your home. ATMs run out of money and can't be resupplied. They run by electricity with backup generators that also quit eventually.
                                                                        This happened in NOLA after Katrina.
                                                                        Credit card authorizations are done by phone lines so that may not be an option.
                                                                        Repeat: CASH.

                                                                        If there is a threat, fill anything and everything with fresh water. Bathtubs, buckets, pots, whatever.
                                                                        Fresh water WILL be the hardest thing to get of anything.
                                                                        Keep food that you can eat without cooking. Peanut butter, tuna, etc.
                                                                        Dried beans, rice, etc. are great but they use a lot of precious resources.

                                                                        When the shit hits the fan, you will quickly lower your expectations.
                                                                        Vintage wines and elegant meals will be the least of your worries and way down on the list of your priorities.
                                                                        Frankly, after you go through one or two of these? You may look at it as an obligation to acquire a firearm.

                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                          And no one has mentioned stockpiling prescription drugs. For some, that can be an incredibly expensive proposition, but for some having their prescriptions cut off is not only life threatening but could literally be lethal.

                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                            When we used to travel in some waaaayyy off the beaten track places because of business obligations, we carried medical kits that included basic antibiotics and especially single use syringes. The doctor said NEVER trust autoclaves in the "outback." Better a dull needle needle that was yours.
                                                                            You do have to be careful about expiration dates to make sure that drugs are current.

                                                                            I know that you have lived in hurricane areas and other disaster prone regions, Caroline. Many people never think of these things.
                                                                            It's a good idea to photocopy the latest prescription of something if you take a drug a on regular basis just in case you have to evacuate or if your home is destroyed.
                                                                            After Katrina and other hurricanes, doctors' offices and pharmacies were wiped out and all the records were lost.

                                                                            To bring this back to food, people also lost recipes and cookbooks. Family recipes that there were only ONE copy of. Secrets that had never been shared.
                                                                            Even some restaurants lost their house recipes. What a problem for them.
                                                                            We found the old hand-written cookbook that had been underwater for weeks and spent another few weeks drying it out and slowly separating the pages, managing to save most of it. Thank God we had shared most of the recipes or they would have been lost forever. Many people were not so lucky.
                                                                            The newspaper in New Orleans has a permanent column now devoted to people hunting for recipes lost in Katrina.

                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                              I never thought about how sad it would be to lose family recipes. That is very touching about the "lost recipe" newspaper column in New Orleans.


                                                                            2. re: Caroline1

                                                                              Don't forget your pets. Keep a large bag of dog/cat food on hand, also.

                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                Yes, but many insurance carriers in many states will only pay for a certain amount of a prescription and many pharmacists will only dispense that amount, even if you're willing to pay cash. So then what?

                                                                                1. re: Whosyerkitty

                                                                                  Then you talk to your doctor about writing a prescription for more than you actually take and stockpile if it's a life supporting drug. I do not endorse the idea of cheating in any way, but when a system forces people to do that in order to sustain life, whose at fault? We need some very serious revisions in our health care system in this country. VERY serious!

                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                    Well, you ain't kiddin'. Let's hope that will change soon, and while we should not necessarily model our system on European ones, their pharm policies are definitely something to look at.

                                                                                  2. re: Whosyerkitty

                                                                                    As a daily Thyroid addict, I've found that over time I (years) I develop a backllog of prescription. I order on time but miss a couple of doses a month. After years, I have a few months stockpile.
                                                                                    If my insurance ends, I have some flexibility, and if the world ends, I have a few months before I say adios.

                                                                                    1. re: Phood

                                                                                      But there is a dark side too. Right now I have $8,000.00 dollars worth of prescription I suddenly turned allergic to and I'm having a hell of a time trying to find a method of giving it away so it won't go to total waste! Extremely frustrating.

                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                        I'm very glad to report that this morning I found a clinic that accepted the med and will distribute it to those who need it. It's an injectable and has an expiration date, so I was really worried.

                                                                                        The thing to think about is that a major national or international disaster can really be a major complication in such things. Disaster preparedness goes beyond laying in a food and water supply. Many medications and over the counter drugs have a short shelf life, just as many foods do.

                                                                                        I really don't understand some of our national policies. We have a pretty effective and important programs to help ensure that people have nutritious food. In these economic times, food stamps and food banks are absolutely critical. Even soup kitchens! But we turn our back on so many with critical health care needs. Many say notional health care is socialism. My problem is that I don't care what you call it, when you leave millions of people without reasonable or cost free health care in this day and age of instant travel, what you are really doing is creating a massive pool of human beings to serve as a breeding ground for all sorts of contagious diseases. 'Why do we insist so many have their "last supper" so many years earlier than necessary?

                                                                                        Anyway, I'm really jazzed about $8,000.00 worth of medication not going to the dump! YAY!!!!

                                                                                      2. re: Phood

                                                                                        Phood, Ya know, if you read my earlier post bout all the survival junque, we've got. It ain't worth a plugged nickel w/out my wife's thyroid med. Couldn't live w/out her.
                                                                                        How to get more? I'll have to show your post to my wife. Thanks, amigo(a).

                                                                                  3. re: MakingSense

                                                                                    Good points. We use charcoal grills and have a forest behind the house for fuel, garden and root cellar, 2 1000 gal propane tanks to run the generator, cash and a fire proof safe. A hand pump in the cellar connected to the well and 2 old wells out back. A cache of 5 gal cans of gasoline and kerosene (for lamps), covered in an old cellar hole out back. Game to hunt and the ocean 150 yds, away for food. Our lake side isolated cabin is stocked as well and is only 1/2 hr. drive away. Hope it never comes to that.

                                                                                  4. Keep track of your supplies and rotate them before they explode. When my father died in 2003 we found the Y2K stash in the hall closet with cans ready to blow.

                                                                                    1. We have a propane fueled grill which can be used for emergency cooking. We have Coleman lanterns and a Coleman camping stove. We now intend to purchase a portable generator since (just yesterday), we had a long power outage, where frozen food almost started thawing; it got up to 27F. This has happened once or more a year and once things did thaw. You cannot rely on frozen food without a generator and plenty of gasoline on hand. Same for the other items. They do you little good if you soon run out of the fuel.
                                                                                      I stored food and water last winter because we were snowed in at one point. We are only semi-rural, yet we have to go up a long, steep driveway to drive on a (possibly) plowed, steep road. I picked up the plastic, two gallon, water jug this morning to discover it empty. It had deteriorated and was full of holes! NO water! And we rely on a well and pump (and electricity), to have water.
                                                                                      I agree with most of what has been suggested, but it is hard to get anything out of a garden, frozen solid. Also, if you are not thinking survival (well in advance), you may not have anything in your garden at the moment that you need it. That's where the freezer comes in, but you must have backup power for it... If you can't travel it is almost irrelevant whether you have cash or not, or whether the ATM works. A rifle for hunting is a major component for me because, like Passadumkeg, I have wildlife in the area.

                                                                                      Interesting subject, especially given how the newer generations don't seem to know much about self-sufficiency, let alone putting the spare on their car. How many of you can make a fire without matches or kill, skin, clean and cook game in primitive conditions? I was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout... You could call me "MacGyver".

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                                                        Get a generator w/ honkin' big 1k tanks. Use it for your main stove too. A fire pit w/ grill in the yard. Dig a root cellar into your hill side and and grow cabbages, carrots, onions and Russian kale. Lasts me 'til March. Don't forget the twin 50's on a swivel mount on the deck.

                                                                                      2. My mom always said if things ever get bad enough and cash doesn't work, she can use her year supply of flour and sugar and canned goods for things her family might need.

                                                                                        1. A discussion among friends about this very issue had me thinking the other day. Their rational for preparedness had more to do with earthquakes than the economy, and frankly that made more sense. I realized that I have a very large pantry with a fair amount of non-perishable food, and I have a gas stove as well as propane camp stoves. What I'm missing is water...of course that's the most important thing. Being that we live in a desert I really should have a few gallons...of course there is always the toilet tank water.

                                                                                          1. What, exactly, is the doom scenario you're eluding to?
                                                                                            It depends on what you're talking about. Are you talking about going without power for a couple of weeks?

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                              I refuse to succumb to that mentality. While I admit I stock up on things in the winter so I have to make less trips and dig out my car less, especially pet products (you can always throw something together for yourself; when very poor I prided myself on being able to make fabulous meals from nothing--so I thought), I absolutely REFUSE to stockpile in case of disaster. Seems like it's troubling trouble. And I live in weather hell.

                                                                                              1. re: Whosyerkitty

                                                                                                "I refuse to succumb to that mentality."

                                                                                                I'm still confused about what this thread is about. I've gone without power for weeks and was uncomfortable but never thought my life was in jeopardy.
                                                                                                If this thread is about the economy then is the OP eluding to mass hysteria and competition for food for survival?
                                                                                                Having lived through the Cold War as a child and the bomb shelter mentality of that era I refuse to become an alarmist when it comes to the hysteria surrounding doomsday scenarios. Water certainly is necessary but beyond that....??

                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                  I refuse to believe the sky is falling, and if you do, it will. Kind of an LOA thing, I guess.

                                                                                                  And I feel fine, don't you?

                                                                                                  I have been stuck on an uninhabited island in Alaska, and in the Castro district of SF (which was scarier, believe me), in a plane emergency, had my appendix burst, and have had to make soup from a piece of cardboard, while also growing up believing that if I put my head between my legs I'd survive a NUKE-U-LAR attack. Which there would have been absolutely no chance of. Just like you. I survived, it didn't happen and no amount of bottled water in the basement is going to prevent a meteor from crashing into earth. Or whatever.

                                                                                            2. there is undoubtedly a lot of 'hyping hysteria' from these people selling disaster supplies. Following a link to a right-wing political site to read their take on a situation, I saw a link button to a "Crisis Garden!" Not victory garden or recession garden, but Crisis Garden.

                                                                                              Now, being in the nursery business (seeds) I followed the link, and found a company selling "an acre's" worth of garden seed, packed in foil sachets, packed in a tube made of heavy duty 4" irrigation pipe, with end caps, and taped shut. "Can last for 20 years in your survival bunker" etc. They touted seed shortages to come (yes, veggie seed sales are up 40% over last year already.) But then, it is garden planning time,and lots of folks are going to grow some of their own veggies this year just because they are trying to save grocery $.

                                                                                              All it takes are fear-mongers to cause a run on an item. (stock up on Spam now!) Farmers are already adding acreage to this year's seed crops to meet orders for next year, and the year after that.

                                                                                              As to the op's survival stash question, the Red Cross should have lists for disaster preparedness which would be helpful for your particular area. If it's something you're worried about, maybe you could get our neighbors or community together and have a speaker come to talk to you. Cooperation among neighbors is always better than everyone-for-themselves.

                                                                                              1. I have about 100 bottles of decent wine in my cellar right now... how long would a couple kegs of beer last? That should tide me over.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: JRCann

                                                                                                  I find it interesting that some are prepared to be prepared for some disasters, but couldn't be bothered for other traumas. Its not like you get to chose which shit hits which fan, but when it does, wouldn't it be smart to have a few extra things put aside in case you can't do you daily/weekly grocery store run? As I mentioned din my original post, I was inquiring about setting up a see bank for the next millennium, or a stash that required a rifle to protect it, but why not stock up in an orderly manner when doing regular shopping, take advantage of low loss leader prices and put a few extras in a closet, especially things you are going to consume in regular life any way. I buy 98 cans of stewed tomatoes in August when they are 49 cents a can and use them when others arepaying 1.50 a can. Not only is it saving, but I can always entertain with pasta, and can exist on my stash in the long run.

                                                                                                  Maybe I shouldn't mention that I purchased an extra roll of duct tape to put by.

                                                                                                  1. re: JRCann

                                                                                                    I have beer making supplies in the cellar too.

                                                                                                  2. Folks, interesting thread.
                                                                                                    Finding out who has a different take on Tet, and who has spent time in the backcountry (developed nation or third world making no difference) makes the posters more human and individual.
                                                                                                    People were not so reliant on the infrastructure in the past, and in some locations still aren’t. Blind reliance on the supply chain isn’t wise. Everyone everywhere has something that can go wrong; earthquakes, floods, levee breaks, storms, power outages.
                                                                                                    Having lived in Utah, I have seen that having significant food supplies mean you have more flexibility when income diminishes; storing foods you eat, using them and replenishing them means less interruption in throughput. Do not consider them special just-in-case foods. In disasters or in day-to-day existence, continually consuming and replenishing a store of food makes sense. Just as living paycheck to paycheck can be fraught with peril, so can eating store visit to store visit. Maintain a surplus, and cycle through it.
                                                                                                    The safest place will still be Passadumkeg’s deck.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Phood

                                                                                                      Not sure whether we are talking about disaster that is economic or meteorologic, or social, but in an urban high-rise when we had a 22-hour power outage (no elevator, no water pumped upward, no lights, no heat) we found that what we missed most was something hot to drink---everything at room temp got tiresome in a hurry. After that I bought a small sterno stove to make instant coffee, tea, soup, anything. Also, don't have just an electric can opener---keep a manual one. And a battery-powered radio for sure, and candles where you actually know where they are, in the dark.

                                                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                        There are sure the trade-offs of living in an urban environment and one that is rural. I don't think I could do the city. Here, I make my own repairs and if I lose water, it is my responsibility (or my own fault).
                                                                                                        With our recent eight hour power outage, I kept saying to myself: "If I just knew where the flashlight was I could find the candles and the other flashlights!" The basement, where all the survival gear is, can get pretty dark...
                                                                                                        Even here, where we are only semi-rural, the power company said that had the police helped more with traffic control, they could have had us back on line sooner. We sure are reliant on each other, no matter what.

                                                                                                    2. I've started stockpiling supplies for a different kind of emergency: being laid off. I'm not all that concerned about a long term loss of services like water/power where I live, but the possibility of losing one's job is very real in the current economy. I'd rather spend an extra $10 a week on food shopping to stock the larder so I can eat cheap if I don't have any income.

                                                                                                      My problem is what to buy? After stocking up on pasta + canned tomatoes, I'm kind of at a loss. What would you recommend?

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: rosslord

                                                                                                        Dried legumes and rice. 100 pounds of each have an indefinite shelf life and will feed you for a very long time.

                                                                                                        1. re: rosslord

                                                                                                          Whatever you normally eat, but a month's supply of it. Instead of shopping day to day, try to get as far ahead of yourself as you can reasonably afford. Don't wait until you use the last can of corn or box of pasta to replace it - keep four on the shelf at all times. Food security is something that we all (well, most of us) take for granted... but a good supply of nonperishable foods can stave it off. Shopping ahead also gives you the advantage when it comes to buying things on sale - you don't HAVE to buy it today if you still have plenty, you can wait until those canned goods are on sale for 50c instead of paying $1.50.

                                                                                                          1. re: rosslord

                                                                                                            Baked beans, soups (can or powder), instant noodles, tinned meats, canned vegetables. As others have suggested, I stock up when an item is on sale (beans were $0.49 two weeks ago, and I bought all I could carry; instant noodles were $1.99 for a box of 12, so I bought four boxes, etc.).And a well stocked freezer will keep foods cold for quite a long time, so long as you're not opening the door 12 times a day.

                                                                                                            1. re: rosslord

                                                                                                              Get a Magic Marker and some tape (for things you can't mark directly on) and date everything.
                                                                                                              Use the oldest items first so that you rotate what your have. FIFO. First In, First Out.
                                                                                                              It is really surprising that many things you think will last forever lose quality more quickly than you think.
                                                                                                              Even stuff like Ramen Noodles get a funny off taste and the packets of flavoring dry up after awhile and get icky. Pasta continues to dry and doesn't cook to as nice a texture when it's old. Elderly beans never get tender. Canned fruit packed in sugar syrup last longer than those packed in their own juices.
                                                                                                              Repack things like beans, rice, flour, etc. into GLASS jars to prevent them from getting bugs and to keep them from attracting rodents.

                                                                                                              Never buy anything you don't really, really like just because it's a bargain. Things that you don't eat are wasted money.
                                                                                                              And don't buy it if it's not on sale.

                                                                                                            2. Rice, dry pinto beans, peanut butter, vegetable oil, non acidic canned goods etc.
                                                                                                              Big first aid kit in an airtight container, Army "Emergency field dentistry" kit. Water filtration system. The books "Mel Tappen on survival" & "When theres no doctor around". A .223 rifle, a Ruger 10/22 rifle, a 12GA shotgun and a good 'ol 1911 .45 pistol. 1000 rds. of ammo for each. And a host of other things. And alot of prayer.

                                                                                                              1. I've never really worried about stockpiling for an emergency because of the way I
                                                                                                                grew up.Most staples were purchased in bulk when they were on sale and stored for
                                                                                                                use later because of the savings.I still do this today.
                                                                                                                You might consider vinegar for your collection.I can't eat canned meats or beans
                                                                                                                because of the salt content but if I loose power for more than two days I'll pickle
                                                                                                                the meat from the freezer with vinegar and Prague powder.Most recipies call for salt
                                                                                                                and refridgeration.If you have access to a cold room or cellar this should keep for
                                                                                                                a week or two.
                                                                                                                More info can be had by googling pickled pork.I found out about this researching
                                                                                                                red beans and rice.
                                                                                                                I haven't worried about water because of sale build up I maintain a large inventory
                                                                                                                of juice,club soda(4 to 15 cases) and low sodium V8.After reading a thread on uses
                                                                                                                for pickle juice I remembered people I Knew who drank it.This thread reminded me of
                                                                                                                that thread.I just tried a glass of 1/4 pickle juice,1/4 pickled pepper juice and
                                                                                                                1/2 v8.Not a favourite but It would extend drinking supplies.Because of the salt
                                                                                                                problem I keep a large inventory of low sodium pickles,pickled peppers on hand.
                                                                                                                Consider splitting some of your supplies into two or three different areas.If the
                                                                                                                roof comes down some supplies may be buried,if the cellar floods supplies may be
                                                                                                                temporarily inacessile,damaged or destroyed.
                                                                                                                If you have a gas or oil furnace does it need electricity to run(electronic valves
                                                                                                                or ignition,fans).A generator would help if you have a way hook the generator into
                                                                                                                the house board.Most furnaces don't have plug in cords.
                                                                                                                Does any one know if there is a diuretic from the sugar in juice.I drink a glass
                                                                                                                daily(8 ozs)but would there be any problems drinking 3 liters a day without drinking
                                                                                                                anything else.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: rdch

                                                                                                                  If you did manage to down 3 litres of juice a day for more than a couple of days, you would have to give up consuming most other souces of calories as that would pretty much do your digestive system in. And soda water seems an odd choice of liquid for someone so very concerned about sodium. Can you not simply put regular water in large containers?

                                                                                                                  1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the heads up about the juice.Maybe I will add a case of bottled
                                                                                                                    water to my inventory.I am not overly worried about the sodium in the club soda
                                                                                                                    as the brand I drink has only 20 mgs of sodium per can.