The Mormons and roaches will outlive us all...
March 20, 2006 6:24 AM   Subscribe

In light of the US Govt dancing around the 'S' word, help me build a small stockpile preferably with recipes or a cooking list and any general advice about stockpiling...

Screw the 'buy an extra can of tuna and put it under the bed' nonsense - if I'm in for a dime, I'm in for a dollar. I've got some dry, cool space in my basement ready to go - but I have no idea as to how to build a stockpile.

I'll have to support myself, my wife, and a four year old.

Furthermore, I'd rather not have the situation where it's "Guess I'll have another handful of dry beans" if I ever have to rely upon it. I'd like to stockpile stuff that actually makes a simple meal, rather than a hand-to-mouth type of store.

I assume that these things have a shelf life and will need to be rotated out of the stockpile, replaced, and into the 'normal' flow at some point rather than be wasted.

Help? Before the swine flu nukes rapture bird flu gets us all...
posted by unixrat to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If things get really bad, you won't have an energy source to cook with. So get some Nutrigrain bars from Costco, and other nutritious dry goods like whole wheat cereal, etc.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:36 AM on March 20, 2006

Bottled water and a few bottles of cooking/heating gas, also? Medicines? MREs? How long were you planning on hiding out for?

There must be tonnes of survivalist sites out there about this stuff.
posted by Leon at 6:46 AM on March 20, 2006

Best answer: This covers disaster readiness well. Parts 4 and 5 may be what you're looking for, but do read the entire series. Preparedness: So much more than tuna under the bed!
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:47 AM on March 20, 2006

The 'S' word? Symposium?

Keep your MREs cool, and they'll be fine for ten years or more. (And they go bad gradually - they're still plenty edible, if you're hungry.) Bonus: they make great camping/hiking food. Water would be far more important than food, depending on what threat scenario you're actually preparing for.

Best survival preparation of all: a couple of rifles and ammo. That way, you can just go take food and water from your neighbors.
posted by jellicle at 6:58 AM on March 20, 2006

Best answer: The Flu Wiki page has a lot of information and links to other resources, including several very detailed prep plans.
posted by jalexei at 7:22 AM on March 20, 2006

Best answer: I am a mormon/roach. We *own* stockpiling. I am talking about people doing this for decades, and not just buying tons of freeze dried crap that you would have to be starving to eat, but rotating their suppies, so you learn to cook from your "food storage."

It may come off as a whacko survivalist move, but it's remarkably helpful to have a room full of food. You cut back on impulse trips to the store, and it's a nice buffer if you have unexpected expenses during a month. Plus, it's harder to dip into food storage than it is to dip into savings.

When we lived in Kentucky, whenever a little snow or ice hit, there would be runs on bread and milk at Kroger's, and we'd be forcibly reminded that the food supply chain is fragile at best.

My point being, is that having some food on hand doesn't need to be tied to a particularly ideology or millenialist worldview, and makes some sense.

Here's an online calculator (lds sight--may offend some)

Here are some general tips which I've absorbed over the years:
  1. store stuff you'll actually eat.
  2. white rice keeps well. Grains with oils (brown rice, other) may not.
  3. Weevils or other nasties will infiltrate grains stored in their original packaging, or hatch from within grains, so you have to freeze it or use moisture-absorbing packets, or small pieces of dry ice.
  4. Stewart Brand wrote an excellent article on his experiences with the last SF earthquake. He pointed out that knowing your neighbors and having a neighborhood skills inventory was vital (among other good suggestions).
  5. Water is probably more important than the food, if you had to choose.
  6. If space is cramped, you can use bed risers. Hard to rotate if it's hard to get to.
  7. Laugh if you must, but wheat is cheap and dense. If you learned to cook with whole wheat it would make the process simpler. Of course, that's assuming you'll have electricity and fuel. Hand grinders are workable, but it's arguable that you'll burn calories operating it. Still, eating freshly ground grains is a treat. See Laurel's Kitchen Cookbook for lots of whole grain recipes and advice. Once you've had freshly ground cornbread, you'll never go back to that bitter, rancid stuff they sell at grocery stores.
  8. Get an industrial blender and try making Blender pancakes. We like to use "white" whole wheat, which is lighter and IMO tastier than hard red. Basically, you are either going to store a bunch of canned food and bottled water under your bed, in anticipation of a minor crisis, or cross the line and become a food storage geek. If you become a food storage geek, then you're talking lifestyle choice, and getting weird looks from strangers and the mass of metafiler users, who I imagine as all living in a loft in SF doing web design and eating biscotti for dinner at the local coffee shop. (as long as we're slinging stereotypes..)

posted by craniac at 7:49 AM on March 20, 2006 [4 favorites]

In summary--let us know the level of your commitment, in space or money. Also, it doesn't make sense to go out and buy a year's supply (the LDS recommendation) and stick it on shelves. You're better off storing a month or two, and practice rotating, then gradually increasing your supply. Also, many LDS congregations have a food preparation specialist. You can probably hit them up for good advice and avoid an accompanying ecclesiastical message. Also, the mormons run canneries for their own welfare needs and the members "can" beans and other dry goods there (they keep longer and are protected from moisture and bugs).

[hypocrite alert: I am drinking a tasty creme soda as I write this, and our own food storage is somewhat depleted, but will be replenished with our tax return].
posted by craniac at 7:56 AM on March 20, 2006

Response by poster: Craniac: Thanks for the insight. I'll give the local church a call and see if they'll help a non-member out.

Thanks all, many good ideas.
posted by unixrat at 8:13 AM on March 20, 2006

The misc.survivalism Food Storage FAQs should be of help too.
posted by mrbill at 9:18 AM on March 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

Also the FAQ
posted by mrbill at 9:22 AM on March 20, 2006

The Red Cross preparedness site is a good common sense approach. You can assess what disasters are most likely in your geographical area and prepare accordingly. Rice, oatmeal, sugar, peanut butter, canned soups and tuna keep well, and are cheap and easy to build into your regular food rotation. If you have some canned soup, water and rice, you can make a passable casserole. Oatmeal and brown sugar for breakfast, with some raisins or apricots. Water can easily be stored in 1 and 2 liter soda bottles.

As noted, a lot of camping equipment does well for emergencies, and camping recipes will do well here, too. Unless you have money to burn, you want the cheapo camping resources, like boxed mac-n-cheese, not the buy a bunch of freeze-dried stuff at the camping store approach.

In Maine, in 1998, there was a terrible ice storm. Many people were without power for up to 2 weeks, longer in some cases. It was worse in Canada. People who had a wood stove, oil lamp, and camping gear were able to be a lot more comfortable. People who were on good terms with their neighbors were better off, too.

Don't forget pet food, if needed.
posted by theora55 at 2:34 PM on March 20, 2006

Cluelessfilter - why are Mormons synonymous with stockpiling?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:06 PM on March 20, 2006

why are Mormons synonymous with stockpiling?

It's a religious obligation in Mormonism to have at least one year's supply of food for each member of the household.

Beyond stockpiling, you may want to look into vegetable gardening. A few months of fresh produce (peas, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, string beans, and potatoes are the easy ones to grow in pretty much any climate) would sure make all that stale packaged food and plain white rice a little nicer. And even where you are in Minnesota, you can plant fruit trees (apple, pear, cherry, etc.), any one tree of which will give you more fruit than you know what to do with. Unfortunately, they'll give it all during one two-week harvest window. That's why you can can [sic!] or dehydrate some of it to use later in the year.

(Personally, I'm buying my first pressure canner in the near future to deal with my garden's anticipated harvest. There's only so many tomatoes a girl can eat in a month. Last year, I was reduced to forcing them on family, friends, and my husband's bosses.)
posted by Asparagirl at 4:15 PM on March 20, 2006

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