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Desperate Times Call for...

My friend admitted recently that when he ran out of groceries, he actually put a can of mandarin oranges on top of pasta. The next day, he made pasta with Nutella. (This same person complained that the food at a 4.5 star resort in Cuba was inedible.)

What have you eaten when the pantry was bare and grocery stores were closed?

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    1. re: Agent Orange

      Used to love them sliced and cooked as home fries with paprika--talk about comfort food. :)

      1. re: kattyeyes

        So you mean they *are* edible? I never thought about frying them up. A bunch of oil will make anything taste good. It's not likely the canned potatoes will ever find their way into my pantry again, but you never know.

        1. re: Agent Orange

          Maybe it's that whole childhood comfort food thing, but yeah, I love them that way, but in butter, not oil. I haven't had them in about 10 years, but I would be glad to crack a can open for breakfast if we had one on hand.

          1. re: Agent Orange

            Ya I never had canned potatoes in my life until I married my ex. He used to make an amazing breakfast using thoses suckers! he'd fry'em with onions till they were super crispy and tastey..and then make some awesome eggtastic dish to go with them. I tried using reg potatoes boiled potatoes and they just don't work as well!

            1. re: Agent Orange

              They are great for hot oil fondues!

        2. Beef-flavored Rice-a-Roni.

          1. my cousin used to mix grated pecorino w/ breadcrumbs...i wonder if he still does that!

              1. re: wolfmonk

                That's actually the name of my degree. What are you referring to?

                1. re: Food Tourist

                  Meals Ready to Eat. For the military. And anyone else who wants to stockpile a lot of food.


                1. re: Jimbosox04

                  thats heresy... fried spam is for daily consumption, not desperate times.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    Raw Spam is desperate, fried is a daily delicacy...

                2. Oh wait, I think as a default that was why I always kept a few Ramen Noodles packs around, for days that I just dont have anything around.

                  1. I was making Chex Mix for a party one time.

                    Didn't have enough Chex cereal, and not enough pretzels or salted nuts.

                    So I crumbled up some instant ramen noodle packets and mixed those in with the other ingredients (Chex cereal, pretzels, nuts), and even tossed in the dry seasoning for good measure.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      If you bake that ramen mix at 350 for 10 minutes, it's actually pretty good. I stop an "Oriental" chicken salad with it mixed with pine nuts.

                    2. The Emergency Canned Goods in the hurricane box. Canned soup, instant mashed potatoes, and ready-to-microwave meals. If times are REALLY desperate, I'll resort to the canned chicken, spam, and canned mixed vegetables. But they've never been that desperate...

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Kajikit

                        You've got to be kidding!!! They include things that require boiling water and/or a microwave? Have they never heard of power failures??? Our (former) government at work. Sheesh-Louise.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          FYI, I rely on my grill when the power out. Always the stand by ... FL, hurricanes, tropical storms. And not just us, many places in the US with weather. I can cook anything on a grill. Not always the easiest but been there for 5 days once with a storm 5 years ago. You really learn to appreciate power and ICE :)

                          1. re: kchurchill5

                            And I'm just sure that everybody effected by a natural disaster has a grill. And, of course, it can't be natural gas because that would have been cut off for safety reasons. And the propane and charcoal vendors have probably all sold out. I went through the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco so I don't need any instructions and how to get along without gas and electricity. And giving people a supply of food that isn't ready to eat with no heat or water is just plain stupid. Beyond stupid.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              4 hurricane 2 in the panhandle and 2 in FL, one Hurricane Charley at Cat 4-5. We always thank got kept extra charcoal and usually 1 extra propane tank. 9 days was the longest without water or electricity. I guess when you live in hurricane or any disaster prone area we stocked up on wood for fires, how we cooked alot of food in cast iron. So we made do with our hurricane kit or any canned item we had. Not easy but some canned broth, noodles and dinner. Definitely a challenge the first time around. We got better as years went on.

                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                Yes, we also had a bridge washed out leading into our 10 acre property. We weren't without power for long but plenty of neighbors were. As in WEEKS! It's totally ludicrous for any agency to give people food that has to be heated in any way. Ludicrous. We always have food and water (especially water) on hand and that food doesn't have to be cooked or even heated. Anyone who counts on being able to do that is a half a bubble off level in my book.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I agree with you that government supplied emergency kits should have food that requires no cooking/heating. But I wonder is Kajikit's kit was government supplied of self-made? I have a hurricane kit I put together myself with food selected based on the resources I know will be available (from multiple hurricane experiences), including a camp stove and small propane tanks we keep year round for camping (I also keep a bag of charcoal tucked away just in case). I've been through 6 hurricanes so far, have never had a problem preparing food after the storm using the camp stove and propane we already had. And to keep this on topic, I occasionally break into the hurricane kit and use a can of soup or fruit cocktail. I think of it as rotating stock so I'm not caught with ancient canned peaches after the next storm.

                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                    You could be totally correct about that hurricane box being self-made. Didn't consider that. Would make sense as people know what they're going to have on hand for cooking or not. I'm always more concerned about water. We live on a well and when the power goes out, the well pump does and then no water. But we always have plenty of hand for drinking so no problem. We've considered a generator at times but it's never seemed that important to us. And as Morganna says below, the food is not a problem. We had a friend who was freaking out over Y2K (wow, that's been awhile, hasn't it?) and I thought 'sheesh, we're prepared for that all the time.' Thanks for the insight, m.

                              2. re: c oliver

                                I have a supply of camp stoves and fuel, so I'm good to cook for at least a week if we lose all power, probably longer. When times get really physically tough, a hot meal is an incredible morale booster.

                        2. Yes, but 7-11 and some convenience stores are always open 24/7. And if not that I always have a cup o noodles and can of chunk chicken. Mix the two together and not too bad. And I usually have fresh tomatoes on my vine that I can chop with my chicken too.

                          1. Most recently, canned sardines with cottage cheese mixed together as a "dip" for crackers and leftover Ruffles chips.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pinkprimp

                              Now that's what I'm talking about...

                            2. This just never happens to me. My pantry is -never- bare. We just plan ahead. I could easily weather being stranded in my house without power (from a food stores standpoint) for at least a month and a half before I was resorting to bizarre food combinations. :) Much longer if I were anticipating a long haul and decided to spread out my rations.

                              This isn't end of the world paranoia on my part, just I like having options, and I like benefiting from the economies of scale found when buying in bulk and on sale.

                              1. Mac and cheese made with a smoked bacon cheese ball (with almonds) and almond milk.

                                    1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                      Solo. It was late at night, I was starving, I figured I could fool my body into thinking I had eaten something. It worked. But I learned a valuable lesson that day - never, ever run out of peanut butter.

                                      1. re: small h

                                        o dear. u may have fooled your body- but what about your colon? ;oP
                                        i think i would have dosed myself with Benadryl and crawled into bed before i'd chew down peppercorns.

                                        1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                          Benadryl! I definitely had that. Note to self: in the future, check medicine cabinet in addition to fridge, cabinets.

                                    2. re: small h

                                      This reminds me of the time I chewed ground coffee thinking it would work just as well as brewing a cup to keep me up all night while writing an essay. UGH.

                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                        Ah, yes. For the sleepy student who cannot, or will not, score some actual amphetamines. Next time (as if there will be a next time) eat instant coffee. I have done this, too. Works good! Tastes...not so good.

                                        1. re: small h

                                          It tasted awful...and it wasn't instant.

                                          1. re: small h

                                            Chocolate-covered espresso beans are a far tastier alternative...and certainly as effective. I quit caffeine years ago. I used to think I was energetic (not hopped up on caffeine!).

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              Don't accidentally eat an eighth of a pound because they taste good. I did that. Once.

                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                And where were you when I was trying to write "The Changing Attitude Toward Celebrity in Late 19th Century Post-Impressionism"? Eating chocolate and not giving me any. Thanks a lot.

                                                (totally made-up paper title, although it sounds sort of right)

                                        2. Pasta with Nutella sounds like it might be okay (not that different flavor-wise then bread and Nutella), but mandarin oranges -- ick!

                                          I have so much food in my cupboard it would take a long time for me to become that desperate!

                                          1. Have 40 cases of wine in the cellar

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: duck833

                                              We have 30 or so cases of wine and enough food for at least a year.

                                            2. I've mixed up some pretty strange concoctions... But I can't really remember too many off the top of my head... let's see:

                                              "Ghetto" stir-fry - Ramen noodles, drained, tossed with some vegetables.

                                              Golden Hominy - YUCK! I hadn't had any experience with it so just boiled it and tried to eat it with some salt... I'm not picky, but I could barely down a few bites.

                                              Peanut butter on a wheat-bix - I had a big craving for some peanut butter toast but the closest thing I found to bread was the Wheat-bix... actually was pretty delicious!

                                              An attempt at homemade onion rings made with just flour and spices - I was out of breadcrumbs... I will never make this mistake again. Lol. Absolutely filthy. Just picture a floppy, pasty pile of onion slices. But, desperate times... I still ate them!

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Hassley

                                                A 'good' spaghetti sauce straight out of the jar with a spoon.

                                                My best was when craving something bready. I had some fruit, so fried it in butter till browned. Threw in some rum to flambe it, then just mixed some flour, milk and baking powder together and dumped the batter on top. It is now one of my favorite things. I think it was nectarine.

                                                Fried some leftover watermelon rind once and that was great.

                                                1. re: Hassley

                                                  Oh, I eat peanutbutter on Wheat-a-bix a lot -- I never though there was anything weird about that. Among other things, a "cake" of Wheat-a-bix is pretty low in calories, so even with a smear of peanutbutter it makes a nice snack for around 100 calories.

                                                  1. re: Hassley

                                                    I used to work at an after school program, and we often served frosted mini-wheats with peanut butter as a snack...

                                                    1. re: Hassley

                                                      This same friend can't bear to throw anything out, so finds uses for everything. He saved inedible suicide-hot (overspiced) fried onions from taco night, and made a huge pot of (inedible) spaghetti sauce out of them.

                                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                                        I hope he at least served it over inedibly boiled-beyond-recognition pasta.

                                                    2. ramen noodles, with the chicken flavour sachet mixed thru the last of a tub of Best Foods.

                                                      1. I would eat canned corned beef and potatoes, and doctor it up. I have to use restraint any time I see them now. I absolutely love them with pico pica sauce and can eat 2 cans in one sitting. I add onions and garlic, and sautee. Then I let them brown a bit on the edges/ Serve and pour pico pica over them. I'm happy.

                                                        I think I looked at the fat and caloric count....once.

                                                        1. I'm in college, so enough said. LOL.

                                                          Canned potatoes, fried in olive oils with way too much sriracha.

                                                          Mac and cheese with hot sauce.

                                                          Cheese and pickle sandwiches

                                                          English muffin with jarred tomato sauce and parm cheese

                                                          Cheese sandwich with potato chips inside.

                                                          Oh my parents would be so proud. At least all my groceries come from Wegmans and Whole Foods, LOL.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: sweethunibabi

                                                            Sweety, cheese sandwich with potato chips inside is NOT desperate!

                                                            My nephew is in med school and he is still eating well, but he'd go broke if he tried to shop at Whole Foods! He shops with his roomate at the small farmers markets and indian groceries- very inexpensive and great quality. He called me up once because he was really hungry and he hadn't been to the store- I suggested he eat dry Cheerios. He shocked me by saying he NEVER would have thought of eating them dry. I thought I raised him to be crafty in the kitchen-dry cheerios is TAME compared to some things people on here do!

                                                            1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                              I love to take those dry (raw) Cheerios and saute them in butter. When they are a medium golden brown, I put them in a cereal bowl and salt them. Delicious with a glass of cold chocolate milk!