Bring on the disaster! Except, you know, DON'T.

Turns out I am married to a superstitious man. He won't say that's what he is, but it's true. If we're in the car driving to Vegas and I say, "Hey, we're making really good time!" he comes unhinged. "I can't believe you just SAID that! Now you've jinxed it! We're going to GET INTO A WRECK AND DIE!!!!" And he really, truly does believe that there's some power in the Universe that is right there ready to smack down the foolish ones for their hubris. The only real response to this must be said with Eyebrows. And eye rolls. And snorts. And then I tell him he should maybe be more worried about the false gods he's all worshippin' on.

But it's because of him that I can't just type "Bring on the disaster!" I'm becoming all knock-on-woodish--not for myself, because I think it's all a load of hooey, but because I don't want to upset him and make him start molting. So that's where the title comes from. Anyway.

Over the weekend started thinking a bit more about food storage. I'm liking how the Church is moving more toward encouraging people to just start small--buying extra groceries when they go shopping, putting together 72-hour kits, building up to a 3-month supply, buying bullets for the eventual shotgun . . . stuff like that. To me, a 3-month supply of food and essentials seems a lot more do-able than a year.

One cool thing I just found over on Pinching Your Pennies is a Grocery Guide tool where you can plug in your zip code and it will pull up the current list of deals in your local grocery stores--with red stars next to the deals that are especially good. (Because hi, like I even know what would be a good price for potato pearls.) So I pulled up the list for my local Macey's and saw all their case-lot sale items, some with red stars. Then I went there and purchased the ones that were a. actually things we eat, and b. way, way on sale. I saw a lot of other people there loading up like it was Armageddon, which was fun to watch. But if you're doing the "build up gradually" method, this would be a good thing to check every week to see what would make a cheap addition to your stash. And then you wouldn't have to waste time in the store browsing around and trying to compare costs to see what's the best deal.

So here's what we have so far, stashed in various places in our apartment. (Note: we no longer have cases of cans at the foot of the bed, since GH scraped all his leg skin off after colliding with one in the dark. Woops.)

No idea how long this would last us, but:

1 case tomato sauce
1 case black beans
1 case chili
1 case ramen noodles
45 lbs wheat
1 wheat grinder (thanks, Mom and Dad)
10 quarts peaches
10 quarts raspberry jam
2 cans Red Feather canned butter
3 containers of potato pearls
20 lbs sugar
2 gallons water

And then all the normal groceries in the cupboards. I'm thinking we might need more water. They say you should at least have a 3-day supply of water, which for us would be 6 gallons.

I've always sort of considered food storage to be what you live on when the entire infrastructure of the world has broken down and there's no electricity and it's dog-eat-dog and you're living in an apartment with one of the walls blown out. I'm realizing though that for most people it's nothing dramatic like that. But it means you're okay if your water gets turned off, because you have enough to last you until it's on again. Or if money gets tight or, heaven forbid, someone gets laid off, you know you have enough pantry items to feed your family for several months, which is one less thing to worry about. Or if someone you know is going through those situations and needs help, you have the extra resources to help them. It's also just a smart way to buy groceries, really (in bulk, on items you already know you'll use).

And that is my food storage plug for the day. Thank you.

ps. When I snooped around on providentliving.org's family home storage page to get information about what constitutes a 3-month supply, I saw a link entitled "Protecting Your Food Storage." Totally assumed it was going to be about guns. It wasn't, though. It was about protecting it from things like heat, sunlight, and mice. Not as exciting as starving neighbors, but oh well.


Desmama said... [reply]

Was talking with my dad a few weeks ago about a member of the stake--an extremist, survivalist sort of fellow--who, on one Fast Sunday, brought his revolver up to the stand with him and laid it on the pulpit. "This here's part of mah food storage," he reportedly proclaimed (as the bishopric hopefully woke up and mothers rushed to shield their children). Did I tell you that story? Suddenly I think I did. Well, whatever. Crazy, huh?

Kelly said... [reply]

What a great site! Although, it kind of confirms what I've always suspected: there are no great deals where I live because all of the grocery stores are run by the mafia.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Desmama, you did NOT tell me that story. I think you've told me about this person before, but the bringing of handguns to the pulpit = totally new. Holy crap.

Kelly, I am sorry. Will speak to Guido on your behalf, I'm sure we could work something out.

emandtrev said... [reply]

Interesting (and, um, scary) that Desmama had that experience in her stake. My dad said the subject of guns and food storage (but without the visual aids) came up in his High Priest meeting. Gracious!

Just a general comment, though. I *always* feel like I can/should do better with my food storage/prep.

Cafe Johnsonia said... [reply]

I just ordered a book from Amazon called "I Dare You To Eat It." It's a realistic approach to food storage. Because have we started ours yet? Um, no.

I think a case of ramen might last us a week. Or at least 5 days.

(I'll show you that book on Th., if it comes in time.)

goddessdivine said... [reply]

Looks like there's a few of us thinking about emergency preparedness lately. ;-)

Going to the cannery is a deal too, because you just show up and can whatever you want to buy (which of course you get at discount prices), and the stuff lasts for 30 years. I did like 10 cases back in December. I'm totally ready! Although, learning how to cook it will be another story. I guess when push comes to shove, I'll figure it out.

Ok, that guy at the pulpit? Seriously? Now that's a story you sure won't forget, like, ever.

Jonathon said... [reply]

Silly Nemesis. Shotguns take shells, not bullets.

Anonymous said... [reply]

Dearest Miss Nemesis. I greatly enjoy your blog, in like an I'm-stalking-you-but-not-in-a-scary-way way. I am fairly certain we would be friends in real life. Yeah, the end.

Giggles said... [reply]

You are forgetting one very essential item to your food storage - chocolate.

Hershey chocolate syrup is a part of my food storage because if I'm starving and destitute I'm going to want some chocolate to make me feel better about it. And chocolate makes most things taste better too.

Desmama said... [reply]

The chocolate comment? Totally true. I stocked up on Ghirardelli's chocolate chips a few months ago when they were on sale. DesDad looked at me like I was nuts. "How long do youthink you can go without having chocolate chip cookies? You wanna try for a year?" I asked him. I think he got it.

John Dent said... [reply]

Not being a Mormon, this is probably a legitimate question...

Why is every Mormon woman preparing for the Apocalypse? Is there some church edict on storing canned fruit?

AmyJane said... [reply]

Good ideas. We've been working on the same plans lately. I heard it recentl divided into normal food storage which is those everyday useful foods that you store, eat and rotate in, and then there's the armageddon food storage, like those 45 lbs of wheat. It's lots easier to work on the first kind.

abby said... [reply]

I learned the cannery, at least outside of Utah, runs out of things. When I went last month, they had no potato pearls. I was shocked! I could live solely on them.

Actually food storage isn't just for the second coming, the water used to go out all the time in my last apartment and I was grateful for my bottled water when it came time to brush my teeth. I've used my food storage for times when I either had no time or didn't feel like going to the grocery store.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hee! Such a great question, John. And yes, there IS a Mormon edict on storing fruit. We've been asked to build up a store of food, water, and a financial reserve so that we can be self-reliant in case of emergencies (such as natural disasters like floods or earthquakes, or family emergencies like layoffs or other strapped times). A fairly concise explanation can be found here at about.com.

While it may make us SEEM like we spend a lot of time thinking about Armageddon and how to fend off our neighbors with shotguns(and there are some loonies out there who do), what is actually emphasized is the "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear" principle. And it puts us on FEMA's good list, so, yay for that!

Audra said... [reply]

My dad is a cattle farmer. He has 200 head of cattle. He has guns and bullets and a fresh water mountin spring...

I told a lady at church that my food storage consisted of a gas can filled with enough gas to get me to the mountains (2 hours away)... she was not amused and I got a lecture on digging holes to bury drums of water in my backyard... hello... HOA would KILL me... and I live on .25 acres... are you kidding me?

I told my dad about it and he told me that if worse comes to worse I could walk and he would gladly shoot cows for me and my family to eat! That's love!

Melanie said... [reply]

Great link, thanks.

I think the food storage/shotgun connection must be a Utah thing; I've never heard it before.

Yes, chocolate is a must for food storage. Another piece of advice I got from someone who has been through a life or death natural disaster is so store games, favorite books etc. When you're in danger but have to sit around and wait you (your kids) will want something to take your mind off of the situation.

Th. said... [reply]


Never never NEVER make a response to someone with Eyebrows when that someone should be keeping their eyes on the road! Come on, Nem! Think!

John Dent said... [reply]

OK, it makes sense. I guess the only thing that sounds weird is reading blogs that mention getting shotguns. Surely if you're supposed to share the store then you don't want to shoot people who come knocking.

Not being a hoarder, I can't help but think that the money could be spent on feeding people here and now.

Did you have a food store when you were in the UK?

coolmom said... [reply]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nemesis said... [reply]

John Dent, the shotgun thing is where the divergence of opinion comes in. People talk about having shotguns to defend their food storage, but that really is NOT something that actually comes from the church in any place that I've seen. If anything, the AK-47s to use on the neighbors seem counter to the spirit of the things, but maybe they know something about their neighbors that I don't. (Like, maybe they are zombies. Or vigilante mobs.)

coolmom said... [reply]

I'm Nem's mom. I like you a lot already. Keep reading. We already do spend a lot of money feeding people here and now. It's called a fast offering. We all fast for 24 hours once a month - usually from after dinner on the first Saturday night of the month until dinner the next day, which would be Sunday, and donate the money to a fast offering to help feed those in need on a local level. There are also contributions made on a voluntary basis to the humnitariam aid fund for emergencies like Hurricane Katrina. So the whole food storing/sharing thing is very inspired and covers the expanse of human need on many levels. And not just food but many other items. It's all part of the doctrine that we should be more self-relient and less dependant on others for our needs and the needs of our families and neighbors. Plus, self-relience is empowering as opposed to being dependant and helpless. Lots of good info on lds.org and mormon.org, unless Nem already sent you there. I didn't check her links.

Nemesis said... [reply]

And no, I didn't have one when I was in the UK, nor when I was a student. There really wasn't enough space, so we just tried to have enough food to last a few weeks if necessary.

About what we do for people who are hungry now, the fast offerings we pay every month go to buy food and necessities for struggling individuals or families in our area who have asked for help. We often don't know who the money is helping but frequently it's people within our own congregations. There's also the church Humanitarian Service program, which flies in water, supplies, and food all over world to victims of natural disasters, refugees, etc. So it is nice to know that the money we spend on building up an emergency store for our own family isn't coming at the expense of other people who are in need, because we are working on that too.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hahaha. My mom and I are totally writing the same thing at the same time. Awesome.

MadMadameMim said... [reply]

So funny because people keep telling me my food storage isn't worth anything without a gun :). I'll remind them all not to bring visual aids to church. But honestly it would be worth more (at least the apocalypse stuff) if I actually bought a wheat grinder. On the list.

jeri said... [reply]

Joe had to teach an Enrichment class on long-term water storage. He put together a lot of helpful material so I posted it all here. Since water storage gets impractical really fast (you just need too much) he has lots of tips on filters and even solar disinfecting. Good stuff!

Besides big natural disasters that come to mind when you think 'food storage' I think we all forget about the little disasters that can strike. If I lost my job or something, our stored food is sure going to make our decreased money stretch a lot further.

marlamuppets said... [reply]

absolutely fab! i love finding bargains and have never heard of that site! thank you! and since most of my food storage is expired, this is a timely post. laughed so hard at this:
Not as exciting as starving neighbors, but oh well.

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

I'm, as of last month, one half of the Emergency Preparedness Committee in my ward, and we had a big ward FHE on Emer. Prep. last night, so I've been thinking about this a lot as of late.

Definitely agree with starting small. First, make sure you have 72 hours, and then a week, and then a month, and then three months. Also, I liked Melanie's reminder to have books and games (for you AND for your kids), as well as toiletries, clothes, etc., at least for 72 hrs. Do you really want to be without sanitary supplies in times like those? I don't think so. Should work on this myself.

When I first got a 72 kit, I lived 6 miles from my parents and their 1 year food storage for our family. I always joked that it gave me three days to walk the 6 miles (and climb any cavernous streets broken up by an earthquake or something). Now, it's something like I have 3 days to drive home.

Great discussion, as always. :)

John Dent said... [reply]

Hi Coolmom! Thanks for the links--it's nice to get to see what Mormons are involved in (aside from Mission work).

I can already see that the storing is generosity/love, but I guess there will always be some people who will miss the point (and buy a shotgun for the wrong reasons)

I definitely would join in if I was settled.

cooldad said... [reply]

About the gun thing. The best explanation I've heard from those that have guns and have related how these might apply to food storage is as follows: "I will always share my food storage with anyone in need. However, I will protect my food storage from anyone who tries to steal it."

Roxie said... [reply]

I knew people in Kentucky who had a gun for their emergency preparedness stuff. But it was to shoot the squirrels and opossums in the backyard for food. They had streams and critters, they didn't need anything else.

The fact that some of them did that when they weren't having hard times is a whole other story.

Anonymous said... [reply]

- What's a potato pearl?

- How do you buy canned goods by the case? Our grocery stores sell the cans by the lone item, not in bundles.

Word Verification: surap
(which may be the noise your eyebrows make when they land upon their target)

Nemesis said... [reply]

Oh, Anon, how your life is about to be blessed. Potato Pearls (or flakes)are dehydrated potato bits, which can be reconstituted with hot water to make mashed potatoes. I used to eat these growing up sometimes (probably as we were going through our own food storage), and liked them. But now I like them less, since I've gotten used to real mashed potatoes with entire packages of cream cheese, butter, and sour cream inside (thanks, Amyjane--from me AND my butt!). They make a good food storage item, though.

I don't know what to tell you on the case thing. Usually I see them as part of an occasional "case-lot sale," as held at certain groceries or military commissaries. I guess if none of your local grocery stores ever do this, you could look into warehouse stores like Sam's Club or Costco.

And how did you know about the Eyebrow noise???

chosha said... [reply]

I'm a big fan of provident living. My dad used to mock the whole process of food storage (I was still living at home when I first got into it). He actually came into the kitchen one day when Mum was helping me bottle tomatoes and told her 'I see you've caught her madness'. And then he was unemployed for four months and suddenly food storage was the most sensible hobby I could have chosen. :)

By the way, whole wheat can be a bit much for the body if you don't normally have it (no idea if you do). Actually I used to store rice mostly because my mother can't tolerate whole wheat. But if you like it and want to use it regularly, I recommend putting half a cup of cooked wheat (it's pretty filling) into a bowl of soup (tomato = especially yummy) once in a while. You have to soak it for a day or so beforehand, then you can cook it the same as rice. It's also an extremely cheap option. Some people like to break/mince it first, but I like the chewy grains in my soup.

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