11 AUG 2015 :: Emergency food

I guess my topic of the day is having emergency food supplies on hand because we never know when we will need them.

I have been working on building up my pantry supplies for a long time...trying to decide what to have, how much to have, and how to store it...and, I suppose, how to make sure I use it before it goes bad and becomes "compost" material. 

In the process of trying to find out what to have on hand, I discovered there are major industries devoted to "emergency preparedness," where you can get LARGE amounts of carefully packaged supplies that are dated, and instructions on how to make sure you rotate your supplies. 

I am not building that kind of emergency supply right now.  I just want to make sure I have enough staple food (beans, rice, canned goods, etc.) to last a decent amount of time if I no longer have food stamps, can't get to the store, or there IS a natural disaster.

This month has become an exercise in discovering my emergency supplies because I didn't want to go shopping until I had a list of what would be the best foods for me to buy.  (Remember, I only have $126 in food stamps to spend for the whole month... it is a real challenge to make sure I have what I need.)  It has taken me longer than I expected to work through all the different eating plans and figure out some foods I want to focus on, or try out.  I expect to go shopping tomorrow, BUT...

TODAY, I am out of fresh veggies and fruits, the can opener isn't working, and I am being forced to get creative for my meals.  Well, I do need to correct that last statement.  I did have about one pound of carrots left.  I made them into ::
  • a great simple soup with veggie bouillon and some Asian noodle squares I have;
  • a cold salad with some bulgur I am finally trying out (from what I read, bulgur is kind of like couscous, but healthier);
  • some buttered carrots; and
  • sliced carrots waiting to be used in the next creation.
Besides using up the carrots, I also used up the last of some salsa I had, used some of the dehydrated garlic and onion bits I always try to have on hand and hardly ever use, and I discovered my last package of seaweed snacks so I added some to the soup and (I think) the bulgur salad.  I was able to create 2 meals out of the soup, and at least 2 meals out of the bulgur salad.  I was really happy with the way that turned out.

It has also renewed my enthusiasm for making sure I have better foods on hand for moments like this.

When I get a bigger place to live, I am going to repurpose some of my containers, picnic coolers, or other storage possibilities, into my specific emergency supplies.  If I can make sure the foods are protected and organize the "use by" dates somehow, I will be able to change the contents each month with newer items.  It will be a great effort to make sure I am ready for the big disasters and the smaller ones, like today.

I have already shared some of the web links about disaster supply lists on other blogs with comments on this topic.  You can always start with the Red Cross (redcross.org) and FEMA (fema.gov), but it would be a real good idea to do a search for other websites that are involved in providing the actual supplies.  I remember there is a non-profit group that has everything in one big trunk, including tents.  It provides help to places that are surviving earthquakes, floods, etc.

Think about it... what would you do for food if there were no water, electricity, or gas...  when the can opener stopped working here, I realized how dependent we could be on such a small utensil.