The year 2020 has been a wake-up call for all of us whether we had been diligently working on preparing or, like the people of Whoville in the movie Horton Hears a Who, believing “nothing ever happens here, and nothing ever will.”
Disasters will continue. We have been warned they will become more common and severe as the time of the Savior’s return draws near. Have we really learned the lesson we were meant to understand and act upon?
Have you learned food storage can bring comfort to those afraid, frustrated, and even just bored?
Did you find yourself calling the family to breakfast only to serve oatmeal for the twelfth time in twelve days? Maybe you found your kids asking for peanut butter and jelly only to find you had run out, and the shelves were empty at the grocery store of not only peanut butter but jelly as well—take note. If this was the case for you, cold cereal, pancake mix, cream of wheat, eggs, peanut butter, and jelly should move to the top of your list as you move forward stocking your food storage shelves. If you don’t like pancakes, don’t store pancake mix; but store more breakfast options. A familiar meal announces, “all will be well” to your family. Make a list today of the comfort foods you were missing.
Have you learned birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and graduations do not wait for the crisis to pass?
In our family we have had several birthdays, a college graduation, a wedding shower, an Eagle court of honor, and a wedding thus far—and this pandemic isn’t over. Thank goodness we could include the whole family on online chats and celebrate together. For the graduation we all agreed to eat ice cream in our own homes during the video party as we celebrated. For the graduate’s mom and dad in Tahiti, that meant ice cream for breakfast. If someone in your home had a birthday, were you prepared to make a birthday cake or pie and favorite dinner of the birthday boy or girl’s choosing? If you do not have the ingredients to make birthday favorites add them to the top of your list.
Have you learned fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, and bread do disappear from store shelves?
For years—no, decades, we were told to store wheat for occasions when food might be in short supply. It may have been useful decades ago, but not so much anymore. Are you storing wheat? I only have a few cans. I do not use wheat. I know how to in case I really need to, but I do not store it. If you do not make bread on a regular basis or use wheat in a recipe or as breakfast cereal, do not store pounds and pounds of wheat. Instead, if you have a grinder, store grains or dried corn that can be ground into corn meal, or store flour instead. Whatever you choose, prepare for bread shortages.
We have addressed storing eggs several times the past four months on the Totally Ready Facebook page. Freezing eggs is easy and takes little space in the freezer. You may also want to consider dehydrated or freeze-dried eggs. However, order only one can and experiment with them before you order more.
What do I hear about fruits and vegetables? I am often told, “we only use fresh.” In good times that is great, but during the winter, or when store shelves are empty, will you eliminate fruits and vegetables from your family’s diet? Canned and frozen veggies and fruits are nutritious, definitely more than nothing at all. Rotate fruit in smoothies, homemade ice cream, or mash them into a sauce like applesauce. Pear sauce is amazing on pancakes. There is much more information on rotating canned items at Totally Ready on Facebook and in our Food Storage eBook.
Have you learned there is a difference between hoarding and preparing?
I have heard of those who have been criticized and accused of hoarding. Hoarding is what we saw many do when the pandemic began, buying dozens of packages of toilet paper and cases of disinfectant wipes. Hoarding is purchasing more than you need and denying others of the opportunity to buy. There was an extreme couponing show on TV a few years ago. They were hoarders—buying every toothpaste on the shelf because they had coupons and the toothpaste was on sale. They deprived others of purchasing what their family needed while the item was on sale. Preparing is purchasing while there is plenty. Right now, there is plenty of toilet paper, so I am stocking up. There is still little hand sanitizer and isopropyl alcohol, so I bought just one.
Have you learned freeze-dried and dehydrated food in food storage do not adequately prepare you for your real needs?
If you want to live off of these during an emergency, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods should be used daily or at least weekly to get used to how they work in your recipes. They should not be the bulk of your food storage, however, because they require added water. These foods must be reconstituted before using or they may cause dehydration which can be very severe. For a period of time following most natural disasters water is not safe to drink or cook with. Eating a handful of dehydrated or freeze-dried apples for a snack is not problem under normal circumstances when water is plentiful because you can always drink more. To avoid dehydration, these should never be included in any of your kits.
Have you learned to customize your food storage list?
Those lists! Yikes. I’m sure you have seen them: $10 a week for a year’s supply, charts showing gallons of oil or pounds and pounds of wheat. Lists that tell you what to purchase each week but, in the end, the only protein you have is a few cans of tuna, a jar of peanut butter, and virtually no dairy. These are all outdated ideas. You need to store the foods you normally eat from all food groups. These programs are a waste of your valuable money and time.
Have you discovered you crave foods you failed to store?
Why do so many women crave chocolate when expecting a baby? I had a doctor tell me that craving is real, and your body needs something that chocolate contains. We are also just human and want what we cannot have. At the beginning of the pandemic I was craving cream of wheat. I may only eat it three times in a year, but once I thought it sounded good it was all I wanted. I now store cream of wheat and have only eaten it about five times, but it is there if I want it. We all do the same—see a commercial for pie on TV and all you want for the next five days is pie. Remind yourself what you and your family were craving and add it to your list of foods to purchase now. The more ingredients you have on hand (chocolate chips, flour, sugars, vanilla, coconut, nuts, spices, dried onions, and peppers) the more things you can make to satisfy those cravings.
Now is the time to rethink and replenish your food supply. If you are just beginning, there is help. You do not need to tackle this alone. I am constantly learning from comments on my Facebook page or as I teach classes. Recently a reader commented she stored angel food cake mix because it only takes water, no eggs, brilliant! I added a few to my General Store. Let’s work together to prepare now for what is yet to come.
“Pray as though everything depended upon God. Work as though everything depended upon you.” -Saint Augustine
“While faith is good, faith combined with good judgment is better.” -Brigham Young