Food

This is where you separate the emergency prepared from the survivalists. This is where you are going to have to make a decision on exactly how long you think you could be without access to food. It's a very tough call. I've read from good sources that two or three days is enough for most short-term emergencies. I have also read in the same afternoon, that other people are planning for three years or more!

If you're like me, then there is no way in the world that you could do this. It's simply a matter of space. It would be great to live in a big house with tons of extra room just waiting to be filled, but for most of us, it just ain't so. Like water, how much is enough?

One of the first steps to being emergency prepared is to decide how long you need to be able to sustain yourself and your family without outside help. If you are simply trying to ride out a medium sized earthquake or tornado, then two or three days might be enough. On the other hand, if it's a turn-of-the-millennium thing, then three years might not be enough. Who knows?! An earthquake is a localized event that has happened before. We know what to expect. Something like Y2K, or a world war is anybody's guess. The range of opinions is a varied as people you talk to.

I personally have decided to stock (if I can) for three months. That's a lot of food, and luckily, I have a garage that can handle some of it. Why three months? As I see it, if things haven't started to return to civilized by three months, then food is only a side issue. Society will have changed so dramatically, that I need to rethink how I live at a new level. Maybe it's hunting, maybe farming, maybe something else entirely. The point is, if it hasn't gotten better in three months, it might not get better for a very long time. Years maybe.

Stocking

Assuming that you have decided how long an emergency to prepare for, below are some things that you might want to consider when making your "stash." See the section entitled, "The Checklists" for a more complete and to-the-point listing of goods.

Cooking

This is an area that has given me a lot of difficulty. For one, I have absolutely no experience cooking food during an emergency. Who knows the kinds of problems that could occur. Things like:


If you have ever been on a backpacking trip, then you know some of the problems involved, but here are a few tips that I've gleaned that might help you out.

Recipies

I wasn't sure that I wanted to include this section until I started thinking about longer-term planning and realized that I had no idea what I could make for dinner with only my propane stove and non-perishable goods. I mean, 60 pounds of flour is great, but it's not like I take a scoop of the stuff over my Cheerios in the morning... I use it to bake cookies! Unless I want to sentence myself and my family to eating canned goods for three months ("Refried beans again!!"), I had better come up with some edible solutions. Well, here they are.

After having been sickened by recipies for Bulgur Meatloaf and Wheat Cereal (Yes, you heard that right. That's crushed whole wheat and water, folks. Can you say, "pass the sugar..."), I started looking for more realistic recipies. Things that I might be able to swallow and not say, "Well, it beats starving..."

Tortillas
2 C. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil
2/3 C. warm water.
Sift flour and salt into mixing bowl. Mix in oil. Blend in lukewarm water. Knead well on a lightly-floured board. Make 12 equal balls from the dough. Cover with a cloth and let set for 15 minutes. Roll each ball into a round thin tortilla about 8" in diameter. Place tortilla on a moderately hot unoiled skillet. Cook until golden brown in spots and then turn over without breaking air bubbles.
My first success.
Tortillas are perfect because your main ingredient is flour (which you can get a lot of fairly cheaply and easily), they don't require an oven, and they can be used in combination with a multitude of others things to make some really tasty meals. We never consider making tortillas because they are so cheap and easy to get at the grocery store. Trust me, these are better. Don't take my word for it. Make a dozen. This is the perfect test to see if you can handle your propane stove...


I'm hesitant to post anything that I haven't actually tried, but there's no way I'm going to be able to get my family to put up with me testing countless "Y2K" dishes while there is "real" food available for the taking. I mean, I'll plop down my latest experiment in "low-heat" cooking and my wife will say, "Bon appetite. I'm going out for Carne Asada..." Below are recipes that I have pulled from various sources, and be warned, probably haven't tried myself yet. One site that I need to mention (because I am probably going to steal half his recipes...) is TrailWalkers Homestorage Recipes. (Note: I'm sorry to say that the URL I had for his site is now defunct. Our loss.) This guy is a trucker. If anybody knows about eating "out", it's him. Most of the recipes have been picked because they work as well camping as they do in the kitchen, which makes them perfect for emergency preparedness. Check out the site, and bring a fork!

Indian Flat Bread
This is an unleavened bread, so there is no yeast involved.

5 Cups all-purpose flour (white or whole wheat) 2 Tbsp baking powder 1 1/4 tsp salt 2 Cups milk (substitute dry milk powder) 1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter oil for frying the bread
This is a good amount for two people on a weekend hike. For one person divide the recipe in half.

Preparation
In a large bowl mix together the flour, dry milk powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir all the ingredients together making sure that the baking powder is well distributed throughout the flour. After doing this store the flour mixture in a ziplock bag. Use Carnation Instant milk powder and follow the directions on the back of the package to figure out how much milk powder is needed. It doesn't have to be exact just close. This is all the preparation required. when you mix the dough you will only have to add water and melted butter or margarine ( the butter is optional).

You will need some kind of bowl to mix the flour mixture and water. Pour the flour mixture into your mixing bowl and slowly add water to the flour and melted butter (optional), while kneading the dough. You should end up with a stiff workable dough that is not sticky. Now that your dough is made your ready to fry some indian flat bread. Take your dough and divide it into small balls. The size of the balls is up to you . Next take the balls and flatten them out into patties Try to flatten them so that they are about 1/4 inch thick. This will make the bread cook fast and evenly. Heat up some oil in a frying pan and cook them for a few minutes on each side until they turn golden brown and puff up like pancakes. Don't try to fry bread with margarine or butter because it will burn in the frying pan. One more closing note. If you mix your dough and don't fry it all right away don't worry the dough will keep for a few days, just keep it out of direct sunlight. You can mix all your dough for a few meals all at once.


Cornbread
3/4 C Cornmeal
1 Tbsp Dried Eggs, Equiv. 2 Eggs
3/4 C Flour
4 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 C Sugar
3/4 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Dry Milk
1/4 C Shortening
Combine dry ingredients and store in a sealed container until ready to use.
  1. Grease a frying pan and shake a little flour in it.
  2. Add 3/4 c. water and shortening to the dry mix and stir until just moistened.
  3. Cook in the covered pan in coals for 20 minutes or until done. (425 deg. F.)



Yup, that's the end alright...