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In a disaster what would be the most urgently needed foods in your area?

A thread in the Japan board regarding the current situation in northern Japan states:-
"Food items most needed are rice, miso, nori,... "

At the risk of sounding grossly insensitive - I find that to be fascinating.

If my own city (in the UK) were in a disaster scenario I wonder what the most needed food items would be?
I suspect canned beans, bread and beer.

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  1. Down here we make hurricane kits. You know, batteries, a radio, a flashlight and non-perishables just in case. Everybody has their favorites. One of my friends gets smoked oysters. I personally am consoled by beenie weenie.

    15 Replies
    1. re: Sue in Mt P

      I, too, used to live in Mt. P and made my share of hurricane kits. My kit always included Bush's baked beans and vienna sausages.

      1. re: Sue in Mt P

        When I lived in Charleston (Daniel Island), I kept the basics like batteries, radio, extra water for us and the dogs, some non perishable foods... and also a bottle of rum. Mr. gator put it in there because he figured that us and our neighbors would be suffering some pretty fried nerves!

        1. re: alliegator

          Mr. gator is a smart man! When sweaty without airconditioning and cooking all the contents of the freezer on a grill, why not have a nice rum drink?

          1. re: Sue in Mt P

            Absolutely. Rum drinks make it easier to pretend you are without a/c by choice.

            1. re: mpjmph

              That's why I have several gallons worth of Coco Loco cans, pinapple juice, and bottles of rum, sitting right next to my hand cranked blender (see below).
              http://www.amazon.com/GSI-73365-Outdo...

              I will be enjoying pina coladas during the next month long round of hurricane induced power outages...

              As any good Southerner can tell you; those men who would allow natural conditions to deprive them of the capacity to serve their family and neighbors of a good stiff drink during a time of need, have committed an unconscionable error which speaks poorly of their manhood...

                1. re: Sue in Mt P

                  I dunno, i was thinking it was the fruity blender drinks that would speak poorly of one's manhood.

                  *KIDDING, deet*

                  1. re: danna

                    LOL... Sure pina coladas might not be considered manly, but the capability to serve them cold and frothy during a month long power outage is...

                    1. re: deet13

                      Yes. One needs to be transported in powerless times. The hand crank is brilliant.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Nice...

                          Though, if I bought that, my wife would give me so much grief.

                          1. re: deet13

                            right up until you handed her a slushy margarita (assuming the genny is running the ice maker!)

                2. re: deet13

                  Aloha deet13:

                  You keep an icehouse, with sawdust and blocks and stuff for Pina Coladas just in case the power goes out during hurricane season? I'm impressed!

                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Heh, I've got an absorption refrigerator I pulled out of an old pop-up camper. I can get a few good days worth of service out of it when I hook it up to a 5 gallon propane tank.

                    The overhead light may not work, but it freezes water just fine.

                    What's funny is that I pulled it out of the old pop-up trailer to put into a buddies camper at his request. But he decided to get a brand new refrigerator. So I ended up getting stuck with an old fridge in my garage; which ironically, ended up serving us quite well during the last big round of power outages...

        2. Judging by the lines at Trader Joe's during the last several snow storms, including the 2010 "snowpocalypse," I can authoritatively say wine and pizza.

          1. I, too, was going to go with the pre-snowstorm behaviors in my area (US Midatlantic): wine, eggs, bread, milk (apparently French Toast is big?)and all forms of junk food--chips, cookies, frozen pizzas, soda . . .

            1. Here, in the hardest hit areas....Water and Ice ~~ Next, any foods are appreciated and welcomed.

              1. Clean water is the most important item. As for food, I live in a very diverse area, so I would guess rice, beans, and bread.

                1. There's enough diversity in the Midwest that I don't think culture-specific foods would be an issue in a true emergency. Rice, potatoes, corn -- a starch is a starch.

                  1. Here in Massachusetts, everyone runs out for bread, milk and eggs at the mere threat of a snow storm. I guess they're all assuming they'll have power to cook the eggs. But a real disaster kit should include canned proteins, such as beans and tuna, that don't have to be cooked, as well as a manual can opener, so you can actually open the cans.

                    A former boss of mine told me that during the blizzard of 1978, whichdid horrible damage and knocked out power for a week here, she and her husband obeyed the govt officials' orders to stay home for about 4 days, but finally ventured out on the 5th day because they'd run out of wine. So I'm guessing that would make the list here.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Isolda

                      I was in school in Western Mass when that storm hit and wasn't so badly affected, but since I moved here in '84, I think it's sunk into the emotional/anxiety/genetic code of Boston area residents... any time a storm is predicted, the lines in the supermarket explode. And you're right: bread, milk and eggs are the first things to fly off the shelves.

                      1. re: pasuga

                        I grew up in Buffalo, so we had the full force of the blizzard of 1978, and I remember my mom having a full freezer and a ton of booze. We only lost our power for a day or two (I remember huddling around the gas oven, and blankets hanging over the doors to keep the heat in, and it was still real cold). I was 12, and I remember a big neighborhood party, where everyone brought a dish to share (my mom brought a pot roast, and a couple of loaves of bread made from Rich's frozen bread dough). I remember my dad reaching out the window and breaking icicles off the house to use in mixed drinks.

                        I live in VA now, and our hurricane kit has lots of water, a lot of ramen, and rice and beans. During hurricane Isabel (the last big one for us) we lost our power, but dry iced our chest freezer, so even though we grilled all three meals, we still had a solid freezer when our power went back on after two days. Fridge was a loss, though.

                    2. Probably beer. The National Guard, Red Cross and the like are good about positioning themselves to pass out water, MREs, etc. shortly after a hurricane but seem to draw the line at alcoholic beverages. And it's not as shelf-stable as a lot of other hurricane kit supplies.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: beachmouse

                        During our next hurricane I'm coming to your house.

                        1. re: Sue in Mt P

                          Just remember it's BYOC (Bring Your Own Chainsaw) We live in pine tree central and Ivan was a heckava mess in that regard.

                          1. re: beachmouse

                            No prob. Should I bring a generator?

                        2. re: beachmouse

                          I added a couple of those 'airline bottles' to our earthquake kit. The rest are basics, but the booze would certainly lift our spirits (pun intended). BTW, re: rice, beans, potatoes: they all take lots of water and heating source, so pending the nature of your disaster, may not be very practical. Canned soups, awful though they may be, are quick, add extra liquid to your diet and can be choked down cold.

                        3. It is fascinating, if on the morbid side.

                          I'd go for water, bread, cheese, fruit, meat jerky. No refrigeration, no prep, nutritious, relatively non perishable. Oh and a big plastic bag to put everything in.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chocolatetartguy

                            I like your reply. I'd add crackers, and canned tuna with a can opener. Or canned salmon. You have to have some protein in a disaster, IMO. And one of my faves, a certain brand of canned tomatoes.

                          2. Interesting topic,

                            For me it wasn't food, but fluids. Namely water:
                            Floods of '93 in the Midwest. Some of the major beer companies (Coors, Bud, Miller) brought in 6-packs of water in white cans with labels. Our H2O plant was flooded. I collect beer cans and still have a bunch of them. It was NOT a huge disaster in Des Moines, but just for those supplied by DSM Water Works.
                            Hammy

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: hamboney

                              They brought in the same 6 packs of water in white cans here in Florida when we got hit by the hurricanes.

                              1. re: redfish62

                                redfish62,
                                Cool, thanks for letting me know that! I didn't know where else they had done it.
                                Hammy

                            2. My great aunt always kept tins of sardines in case of emergency. She lived alome into her 90s. My mom asked her, "Why sardines, you HATE sardines." Aunt said that way she would never be temped to eat them and forget to replace them, so she could be assured the would always be available.

                              I keep canned tuna and Hormel chili in the winter.

                              1. In true emergency, clean water is number one, then anything which has long shelf life, packs a lot of energy without the need for cooking is good like: biscuits, crackers, nuts, beef jerky.... etc

                                But then you are probably asking what other foods I like to have if possible. Probably, rice, bread, noodles.

                                  1. You know, what's on most people's "must have" list probably actually differs wildly from the actual "musts," which are of course the staff of life:
                                    Clean water
                                    Oil
                                    Flour
                                    Rice
                                    Cornmeal
                                    Beans
                                    Salt
                                    Subsistence, to be sure. But it'll keep ya alive while ya wait for the marines!

                                    1. the greatest need is for the most basic protein and carbs that fits within the cultural framework.

                                      My hurricane box had precooked rice, tinned beans,tinned pasta -- things that packed a LOT of nutritional value per serving size that wouldn't taste awful if you had to eat them cold.

                                      1. Whenever heavy snow is predicted for my area (Arlington), it seems to be bread, milk, eggs, wine, and frozen pizza.

                                        1. I am also in hurricane country (south Fl) so we have to be ready with foods that won't go bad without power. During Wilma we had no power for 8 days so milk and bread don't last. Coupled with high humidity and no AC bread goes moldy fast. Canned food, long life milk, cereals, water, crackers, oranges.
                                          Bear in mind we usually get a few days warning so there is time to get some fresh foods just prior such as hard fruits. I run my freezer supplies down during April and May so I don't get caught with a melting freezer and wasted foods.
                                          Of course booze! And coals for the grill. Gotta make coffee in the mornings.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: smartie

                                            +1 on the coffee. I'm in earthquake country and just updated both the home emergency supplies and car backpacks. Made sure to buy some Starbucks Via for both sets. Have sterno and charcoal for hot water at home, but will drink the coffee cold if stranded in the car. Can canned meats (tuna, salmon, etc) be kept in a hot car trunk indefinitely without spoiling?

                                            1. re: smartie

                                              I didn't even think about coffee, but really, that's the ignition key that turns my brain on in the morning. And my kids think I'm a bitch without it, so yeah, that should go on the list.

                                            2. Coffee, half and half, canned tuna, salmon, sardines, black soybeans, nut butters, and dark chocolate, 72% or higher. I always have all of those on hand.

                                              1. OK - so you mostly have 'emergency supplies' stashed away. But supposing you didn't, or they ran out - what would be the 3 things at the top of your list to be sent to you to keep you going? (excluding water).
                                                I'm thinking I'd want canned pulses, couscous and sriracha. Plus canned sardines if I could have 4 items.

                                                15 Replies
                                                1. re: Peg

                                                  If it got down to that dire straits, I'm pretty sure I'd take whatever was being offered. Natural disasters are not events for which you are allowed to order only what you like. (that's why you pack an emergency box, but you're taking that out of the equation.)

                                                  Sriracha has no nutritive value whatsoever -- we're talking basic survival at this point, and good taste just has to take a back seat. You do not NEED to have sriracha to survive.

                                                  Proteins and carbohydrates in a form that can be consumed without cooking if need be. If you had nothing, they're not going to go shopping for you -- they'll give you what they have and you can take it or leave it.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    Yeah, I'm seeing a lot of "wants", not "needs." When staying alive and filling a belly with enough food to sustain life is the issue, coffee pales in comparison to canned beans and a can opener. There are many things that would make such a scenario more pleasant, to be sure - but if I was trying to stop a hungry kid's tummy from growling, it wouldn't be about condiments for dang sure!
                                                    Just sayin.

                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                      But the condiments are important. In addition to the typical 3-4 thousand calories, the MREs that have gotten passed out around here also contain a wee bottle of tabasco sauce to indeed provide additional flavor if the person consuming it wants it.

                                                      And as someone who has been through a Big One (though was fortunate to not qualify for the further blue tarp treatment after we got the giant pine tree off our roof) I reserve the right to snark about this kind of thing in the broad sense.

                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                        Booze, SPAM and Twinkies.

                                                        The basic food groups.

                                                        Seriously, have you been in a disaster, mamachef?

                                                        First of all, how are you going to cook with the power being out?

                                                        From your original list, only the canned beans would be useful. Oil, flour, rice and cornmeal are kind of useless without gas and electricity.

                                                        That is what surprises me about the OP list for Japan. I guess in the country, people could build fires, but a huge hunk of the population is in cities, I think.

                                                        I'm only partly kidding about the booze, Spam and Twinkies..

                                                        After the 89 earthquake in SF, the shelves at supermarkets were cleared of booze and comfort food like chips and cookies went fast as well. Bread shelves were cleared quickly as well.

                                                        There's disasters and disasters. Having grown up in New England, no matter how bad the snow is, that really isn't a disaster, IMO.

                                                        Earthquakes, floods, major hurricanes, tsunamis, etc ... where you lose power, in addition to being unable to get around, those are unexpectied, for the most part.

                                                        Also, on your list, while you mention clean water ... you really need that not only for drinking but for cooking those ingredients. Drinking water has the highest priority.

                                                        Where I am in Guatemala, had the tsunami hit, clean water, beans and cornmeal for tortillas would be enough to keep most people going ... with drinking water being critical. It's sometimes not easy to get normally. I just can't imagine what people would do here in a disaster ,,, well, maybe coconuts. There are certainly enough of those.

                                                        I have my own little stash of water put away, but that would have to be rationed for drinking only.

                                                        Except in the big cities, almost everyone has some sort of grill they can put together, so cooking is not a big deal. SOMEONE (not me) forgot to check the gas canister for our stove today and we couldn't use it to cook. No problem. Someone went outside and fired up the grill.

                                                        No, seriously ... when the earthquake struck in SF, coffee was a BIG DEAL for me. It did not fall in the nice to have category. Fortunately enough restaurants were open in parts of the city to get my daily fix.

                                                        I'd also say condiments are really important, going back to the comfort food theme. Also, what is avialable in cans can be bland and doing whatever can be done to make what you are eating tastier ... and more comforting ... is really important.

                                                        And the truth is, when something huge like that hits ... the last thing you reall care about immediately is food. It is more of a morning after need. I remember being queasy and nauseous that first night, sort of in shock and not sure if there would be aftershocks. Even the next morning, I really didn't want food ... just some cookies ... and coffee.

                                                        I guess living in my normal home, California, the threat of disaster is always there. So I was always storing water. There were two potential disasters here in Guatemala ... an erupting volcano and the tsunami ... neither scenarios were how I ever pictured my life ending.

                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                          You make good points, rworange. I have indeed lived through a disaster, although nowhere near the devastation being suffered overseas, or here for that matter, post-Katrina. We had some options, that other people don't have, and everything you say is relevant.
                                                          I was speaking to actual famine, actual lifesustaining foods. My assumption was that fire could be built and cooked on in this instance. The canned beans was actually an edit from my original list, which didn't include them, but someone else's post made me think of what could be consumed without heating and/or cooking.

                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            "First of all, how are you going to cook with the power being out? "

                                                            As long as there's natural gas, many of us have the ability to cook on the stovetop.

                                                            We also have a propane camp stove and a bbq that could be used in a pinch

                                                            For a winter disaster, refrigeration is not an issue so we can have milk and other refrigerated foods even if power is out.

                                                            In the summer, like in the blackout of 2003, you have to eat what's in the fridge and freezer anyway, then it's on to the canned goods. As we camp, we have the tools in place for non-powered survival at least for a week.

                                                            1. re: coney with everything

                                                              Natural gas and propane were the options I was speaking of; we were fortunate enough to have access to them.

                                                              1. re: coney with everything

                                                                Well, that might have answered my question for Japan. Perhaps like Guatemala, most stoves are gas-powered. The gas is from a canister next to the stove.

                                                                In the 89 earthquake, in my neighborhood we had neither electricity nor gas.,the gas specifically bein shut down where we lived for fear of ruptures in the lines and explosions.

                                                                I guess my perception of the topic was disaster which I think is different than emergency such as snowstorms or long-term power outages.

                                                                In either case it is a good idea to always be prepared like scouts.

                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                  I guess my perception of the topic was disaster which I think is different than emergency such as snowstorms or long-term power outages.
                                                                  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  So true. I've experienced my fair share of emergencies. But disasters on a scale of Japan, Katrina, etc.? I hope never to know. Food for an emergency is the "snowstorm" variety of junk food and alcohol. Food for a disaster is water and any protein you can get your hands on (after all, that well-stocked pantry is among the rubble you have evacuated).

                                                              2. re: rworange

                                                                Just a thought, I think the items needed in Japan are those most needed by shelters housing people who've been displaced. In those cases, I think most shelters have at least some kind of generator or hot pot that can boil water, which would be all you need for rice or instant miso soup.

                                                                I just sent a couple of boxes to Japan's Second Harvest yesterday, and if anyone's interested I sent a few cans of salmon, canned corn, canned fruit cocktail, instant noodles, instant miso soup, instant corn and potato soups, and a package of Japanese-style snacks (dried seaweed, dried octopus, etc... all stuff I've called cat food in the past, but I know it's very comforting to have snacks and food from your childhood in a stressful situation).

                                                                Even where I live, hundreds of miles from the epicenter and affected areas, people have bought out instant noodles, presumably because they're making their own earthquake kits.

                                                                1. re: Japanecdote

                                                                  Thanks for the insight. That puts a different spin on the original question.

                                                                  Definately in Guatemala it would be beans and cornmeal for the shelters or food distribution areas.

                                                                  I guess in the US it would be canned goods or any of the other things donated to food banks.

                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                              The sriracha was for flavour - but I guess peanut butter would be a better choice as it is high protein.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                We got evacuated during the so. California fires a few years back--the Red Cross coffee station was flooded with caffeine-craving people. Any food they had tasted like ambrosia. I kept one of the Red Cross paper cups as a reminder of the need for a decent disaster supply.

                                                                1. re: Peg

                                                                  Oh, yes, sriracha. That would make all the rice, cornmeal, dry biscuits, etc. palatable. If I could have one condiment, that would be it.

                                                                2. Here in DC, we call big snow storms "French toast storms." Because you run out to buy bread, eggs, and milk. And toilet paper. Now admittedly, last year we had snowpocalypse which closed the city for at least four days (depending on where you lived) but most snow storms shut things down for maybe a day. So it isn't entirely clear to me why people can't live without bread, eggs, and milk for a day or two. But obviously, not having TP for a day or two would be pretty unpleasant.

                                                                  Also batteries. Lots of batteries. Because our power goes out and stays out. A lot. For no reason.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                    all of which is why people have emergency boxes -- whether it's a Blizzard Box, a Hurricane Box, a Tornado Box, or an Earthquake Box (does anybody prepare a Pestilence Box?) -- so that when things get really bad, you've got batteries/flashlights/candles/bottled water/non-perishable high-protein, high-carb, high-fat food on hand to ensure your survival, even if you can't indulge your inner Hound for a while.

                                                                    (Which brings up the topic of a book called The Storm Gourmet by Daphne Nikolopoulos, written for exactly such a scenario -- published by Pineapple Press. ISBN 1-56164-334-3 )

                                                                  2. Well water being the most important. but I see why rice, miso and nori would be the most needed. They are the staple of the Japanese diet. Steamed rice and the miso and nori for soup.Since it is a disaster area you would only be able to make things in a pot and those items fit the bill. You have to understand that the Japanese culture tries to keep away from canned foods. They would rather make it fresh..

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: flylice2x

                                                                      The other day I read that rather than keeping an emergency box filled with stuff that's going old/stale/out of date, you should make sure that you keep on hand the non perishable staples that you regularly use, so it's continually being refreshed rather than aged. Makes sense to me, and that's pretty much what we do; I make sure we have as many tins of fish, jars of PB and seltzer/water as we use in a month or two's time. No outdated emergency stashes that way.

                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                        in Hurricane country, the threat goes away just as the food banks are winding up for the holidays -- so most folks I knew would empty out all the edibles and put them into the drums for the food banks.

                                                                        The food banks get healthy, easy-to-prepare foods, and there's no waste -- everybody wins.

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          That's pretty much what I do. I always have a couple of jars of peanut butter in reserve, along with canned beans and tomatoes, crackers, tuna in pouches, dried fruit, rice, and pasta. These are all foods I'll use anyway, I just make sure I have a few extras on hand and use the oldest first. Also, salt, pepper, and assorted spice/condiments that are part of a well stocked kitchen go a long way towards making emergency food taste good. My biggest problem would be securing clean water, but most of the disasters in my area come with warning, so I can fill empty bottles/jars, sinks, and the bathtub before the water gets contaminated. I also live less than a mile from the local water reservoir, and with a filter and a few drops of bleach I could have reasonably safe water.

                                                                          Thanks to a few choice hurricanes when I was a teenager, I'm pretty good at cooking with pots and pans on a grill, so could make reasonable use shelf stable foods that need to be cooked. I also keep a few cans of sterno and a few fire logs on hand in the winter for ice storms.

                                                                      2. I don't have one as I live in a pretty low risk area. I think around my parts, beef jerky, chips and beer would keep people mostly happy :)- and of course, clean water.
                                                                        Having been vacationing in Mexico when Hurricane Mitch hit, the things I treasured most in my bag were bug repelent, toothpaste, tp, and plastic bags to tie over feet and ankles. That water and muck that needed to be waded through was filthy and had some odd things floating in it. Protecting my feet from cuts and infections seemed important at the time. Food items: water and chocolates. Most of my candy was given out to terrified kids. I knew I was going to be evacuated soon, but they weren't :(

                                                                        1. Once we got the tsunami warning here in Hawaii people headed to the markets and shopped. The first thing to go was bottled water. Next was rice. Here it is always rice. After that Spam, then other tinned protein, tuna, corned beef, tinned chicken. Then go the canned vegetables. The junk food sort of has it's own curve, depending on what is left in the checking account, what is left on the shelves. Potato and corn chips, candy - especially chocolate. And of course charcoal sells out fast too, along with ice and those foam coolers. Finally due to a months long dock strike in the 1960's people here do have a mania about keeping LOTS of toilet paper on hand at all times. It has become part of our culture.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                            So I wasn't that off suggesing Spam :-)

                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                              no, your batting average is still safe. Spam can be really good when cooked well, but I've had it straight from the can once or twice. it's not high on my list of things to eat, but its a whole lot better than being hungry.

                                                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                              Hey I remember that dock strike in the late 60's. Shut down Matson. Working for an airline we flew cargo flights with containers of meat, vegetables and toilet paper which was horded. I know I had more than I needed.

                                                                              1. re: flylice2x

                                                                                Although the OP mentions "food" specifically, I'm surprised to find toilet paper so far downthread. I remember two "disasters" in my area: an ice storm which knocked out power for days and weeks (winter 1998) and a kind of military marshall law for 78 days (summer 1990). Granted, not your biblical disaster with famine/disease/death, but they both created challenges to getting basic foodstuffs and other items.
                                                                                High on everyones list was toilet paper followed by beer and BBQ potato chips. I guess we're not ready to go back to the Sears catalogue quite yet.

                                                                            3. When we had the bad series of hurricanes in Florida it was water, no matter what you do there is a very good chance you will run out of it.

                                                                              Foodwise I like beenie weenie. I never got hit too hard by the hurricanes but I remember there was the one (Frances?) where it seemed it would never stop raining, it poured for 48 hours, almost got flooded out. When it finally let up I thought "To hell with it, I'm going to look for some food," found a Subway that was open serving mostly first responders .. ordered two hot meatball subs and wolfed them down right then and there ... it was the greatest meal I have ever had ... I cannot describe the sheer deliciousness of those meatball subs, I would have gladly payed $50 each for them, in any case the meal came in under $10.

                                                                              1. At the risk of sounding like a complete nutjob... I DO have a 4 month supply of:
                                                                                1. Grains/starches.
                                                                                -rice, pastas, barley, farina, oatmeal, flaked instant mashed potatoes
                                                                                2. Canned/dried meats.
                                                                                -Jerky, tuna, chicken, turkey, little sausages.
                                                                                3. Veggies
                                                                                -12 cases of assorted canned Veggies, mostly unsalted corn because of its caloric content and water! If nothing else you get 3 ounces of potable water per can.
                                                                                Plus I have 40 gallons of drinking water. (4 10 gallon Jerry Jugs) and most importantly
                                                                                TONS of liquor... (hey when end of days comes, I am going out stoned out of my gourd!)

                                                                                1. We always keep sardines, tuna, nut butter, crackers, in addition to ten pound bags of rice, and other staples that require cooking, etc. Because we live in tornado alley, it's fairly normal to keep water in refillable containers, hard soled shoes, and beer in the basement. Because we have pets, we also have extra leashes and a crate for the little one. There have been some seasons we spent a couple hours down there, minimum, watching the path of the tornado on tv. It's pretty surreal, so I understand why people stock beer! Though I might want my wits about me, if I had crawl out of rubble, thankful for my life...

                                                                                  1. Foods? Canned butter, cheese, bacon. Dried rice, beans and corn. Salt and flour. Cases of bottled water and wine. MREs.

                                                                                    Extra propane bottles, a drip water filter, lantern & fuel, flashlights, radio and soap. Contact info and rendevous points for all family, friends and neighbors. Gun and ammo.

                                                                                    Watertight containers for all of the above.

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                      okay. . . serious question here: someone tell me wtf is "canned butter?" is this a "dairy substitute product?" tia.

                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                        Survival guides sell all kinds of canned and RTE foods.

                                                                                        1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                          okay. is it actually butter, though? wouldn't think real butter would can-- though i could easily see the concept of "canned margarine/oleo." i am wondering if it is like a vegetable oil-based "tub spread" like i can't believe its not butter or something, because at least that would make sense. i am also wondering now if people would use "canned butter" in areas where there are not a lot of cows and goats, and would buy it in stores. this is coming from someone who had the dubious privilege of routinely eating old vietnam war mres as a kid--but i can't really wrap my head around the concept of "canned butter"-- it's outlandish, like canned raw eggs or canned bread or canned yogurt or a canned burger (which at least i know exists, thanks to chowhound). has someone actually seen/eaten "canned butter?"

                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                            Yes, I have both seen and eaten it. It was Danish butter, and it was real butter, and it was fine. I wouldn't buy it for everyday use, no, but it was just fine. I saved the can for posterity's sake: the brand is H.J. Wijsman and Zonen Preserved Dutch butter. You can prolly google for a pic. of the can and contents; I haven't been able to make my webcame behave yet or I'd gladly send photo proof. : )

                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                              ow. ow. OW!

                                                                                              okay, thanks, i've now wrapped my head around it with the help of the pic. though $8.25 for 7 oz, including food coloring. . . that hits somewhere in the region of the gallbladder. canned butter exists, though! got it.

                                                                                        2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                          Aloha, soupkitten:

                                                                                          Yes, as oxymoronic as it sounds, canned butter and cheese are indeed viable, if not ideal. It is real, not a substitute (Google "Cougar Gold" for a delicious example of canned cheese). Especially if you are among the unlucky during a disaster and have none. Rice and beans without a little fat will make you crazy in short order. And the milkcow, she might be a little upset for awhile...

                                                                                          Kaleo

                                                                                      2. Reminded me that when we had a hurricane forecast, my mother instantly filled the bathtub with water. Came in handy to flush toilets. Despite having an emergency stash of water in the garage, I'd do that now, too. She also removed some milk/meat/etc. to 2 big coolers for us to eat, then duct-taped the frig and freezer closed (we were little and couldn't be trusted not to open them). Then she took us to the store for canned vienna sausage, Spam, and other stuff we never ate--they were terrific to us kids. We were without power for 3 days. Freezer was cram packed because she always blanched and froze lots of veg, and bought meat by the quarter. We had plenty to eat from the coolers and those cans, and most frig food and all frozen food was fine after 3 days. Good to know. Never lost gas, so were always able to cook. If my freezer's not full I always freeze water in jugs. Saves energy and keeps it colder in emergencies.

                                                                                        Also, when we had a tornado in my neighborhood 15 years ago, one issue was coffee. Afterward, neighbors kept wandering over for a cup of coffee, and wondered how I'd made it. Yet they almost all had gas stoves. No electric ignition, so young people were unable to light them! I showed several how to light a gas stove with a match (light the match first, then turn on the gas). I also showed them how to make drip coffee with an old detachable filter basket and any coffee carafe. I was a popular girl that day. The fire department took all day to cut our neighborhood out, as the long road into the neighborhood was lined on both sides with huge pines. They had all snapped and formed a natural barrier of interwoven tree trunks. Coffee helps when there's a pine tree on your roof and into your kid's bedroom.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: sancan

                                                                                          When ice is forecast, we fill the bathtub, too. Lets you flush, wash dishes, etc. The only thing we keep for emergencies (which are normally only winter storm-related) are batteries and bottled water. And make sure the propane tank is full on the outside grill. Well water means no water when the electric pump doesn't run.

                                                                                          If I have water to reconstitute it, and can go crack the ice off the gas grill to boil it, I have enough dried beans, rice, grits, lentils, etc. to last a LONG time. And with the freezer melting, there's always more protein than we need.

                                                                                          Closest I have come to a disaster was 7 days without power. Food was really the least of my worries. The cold sucked, but the darkness was unbearable. Oh yeah, a chainsaw and a gym membership are nice too...so you can cut your way out to the main road and go take a shower ;-)

                                                                                          On the 7th day, I saw a power crew near the house. Took some left-over Christmas brownies out of the room-temp freezer and used them as bribes. I think that's why we had power on the 8th day. So maybe add brownies to your emergency list!

                                                                                          1. re: danna

                                                                                            On the 8th day, the power company said "Let there be light".

                                                                                            When I was working in Taiwan and there was a typhoon ... I seem to attract disaster wherever I travel ...the hotel told us to fill the bathtubs with water. I had not considered why. Thanks for the reason.

                                                                                            It is odd how little importance food is immediately when a real emergency strikes.

                                                                                            For you it was the dreadful dark. For me it was 24/7 news coverage and nothing else for at least a week. I keep lots of batteries for my DVD player so I can have some entertainment if that somehow happens again. A fun movie every now and then helps to take your mind off things.

                                                                                            I think that is why comfort food is so important. I'm not talking long term famines, which is a whole different category. If few of us are prepared for a one week disaster, it has to be almost zero would be prepared for something like that.

                                                                                            But for a relatively short term emergency, it is surprising how important the pleasantries are ... the non essentials, so to speak.

                                                                                            A glass of wine, a bag of chips or cookies and a movie can do wonders for the spirit to relieve the tension. Thank heavens none of my disasters ever involved having to evacuate and live in a shelter. I can't imagine what that would be like. Being in earthquake country, I always did have some supplies in the trunk of my car ... some tuna, canned cookies, water, a change of clothes and a blanket ... and some cans of cat food for the kitty.

                                                                                            1. re: danna

                                                                                              We used to fill the bathtub, but I've since hoarded a small stockpile of powdered water.

                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                we had a pool in Florida, so I cleaned out and filled the bathtubs for drinking and cooking -- I figured 15,000 gallons of fresh water would keep us bathed and flushing for a while.

                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                  Right. Just add water to the water.

                                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                                    I'm envisioning the infomercial.....

                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                      We live on the far Northern edge of hurricane country. The one time we have been seriously "whacked", I had just arrived home from a week-long trip delivering greyhounds to adoption groups in the Northeast. And, I came home with a 7 six-month-old greyhound pups to care for! Those pups, plus our own dogs and our unofficial daughter's dogs put our population at something like 18 greyhounds! I arrived home just as the storm hit. No time to "stock up". Our biggest concern was water... for us, for the dogs, for cleaning runs, etc., etc... We have 3 bathtubs and I got them all filled before the power went out. YAY! We were without power for 11 days. Now, our well is set up to run off a generator. But, I still fill the tubs when storms threaten.
                                                                                                      Food wasn't so much a problem, as unofficial daughter is a grocery manager for Publix and they stayed open (were only closed for a day, I think). She was able to bring food and we just used the grill, which also has a side burner. I actually cooked quite a bit during those 11 days. Nothing fancy, but we were not reduced to takeout only. We used a lot of paper plates and minimized use of other cooking pots, utensils, etc. It was camp cooking. 11 days without a working shower sucked. Thank goodness for friends about 25 miles away who had power! We made quite a few trips to their shower.
                                                                                                      Now, there's a shower in my workplace, so that wouldn't be a big deal.

                                                                                                      If the grocery stores had stayed closed during that time, we would've been hurting, as we didn't have a lot "stocked up"... but, I think we could've made do with what I had in the freezer and pantry. We were able to keep the fridge/freezer running on a generator during those days. We would swap out between the fridge and the freezer every hour (could only plug one in at a time).

                                                                                                      No generator at all? Very, very, very hard...

                                                                                              2. Don't think anyone mentioned pemmican. This is pretty much the only food I take when on long backpacking trips, and really do think this and water provide the best balance of convenience, minimal waste, no preparation, nutrition, portability, and longevity. (Also, the previous posters were correct about some listing wants vs. needs, but I enjoyed the humor. If the situation was not as dire I'd be face-first in wine and Sriracha-ed sardines myself.)