Saturday, August 10, 2013
Living the Pantry Lifestyle
In the past few years, I've tweaked my message of stocking up from emergency preparedness (which is what I wrote about in the 90s) to the idea living a pantry lifestyle. Mainly through lessons learned in my own life when I had stocked up on various food and products only to find when I had to "live out of my pantry" there were items we used and those we ummm... did not. Even when we desperately needed what was in the pantry.
I learned that preparing for difficult times (should we need to use our pantry in an emergency situation) should be more how people survived WWII... not preparing for WWIII.
So, through the years my writing has been much more about keeping essentials that we use all the time stocked and rotated as opposed to filling our shelves with freeze dried food (which is still not a bad idea if you can afford it in addition to your everyday pantry).
Having said that... I still read a lot of survival websites and blogs to keep in tune and educated on the subject of emergency preparedness. Sometimes my reading will show up as a link here. But one blog recently asked a question that took me back to the book that started my interest in the subject... back to the 70s!
I've mentioned before that the book How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years was the match that kindled my interest in deepening the pantry (although a smouldering flame was already in place from my mother's need to "stock up"). In it the author, a financial consultant, explains why he believed people should put some of their money into stocking up on food and other essentials as well as into stocks, bonds, bank accounts, etc.
He learned the lesson during the Cuban Missile Crisis when he was on a business trip and heard what was happening on the radio. He pulled his car over at the next public telephone (this was the 60s and no cell phones!) and called his wife, telling her to take all the cash they had on hand and purchase food and necessities at the store.
He was correct in his thinking for very soon the shelves of grocery stores were emptying as the chances of war loomed between Russia and the United States. I was a young child when this happened but I still recall the fear in our home and the nightmare I had that week (I can't recall the dream I had last night so that tells you how vivid it was).
But I am offtrack, as so often occurs... the question this blogger asked was something like "If there was an emergency warning that some kind of trouble was possible where people would have to stay at home for awhile... but you still had time to go to the store... what would you buy?"
I thought that a fascinating question. The article went on to say very few people have even considered this question as they assume it would never happen. Well, the Cuban Missile Crisis took my parents by surprise.
In this age of domestic terrorism, it is often stated it is only a case of "when" and not "if" such an occurrence will happen.
The article went on to remind us that a major terrorist strike in any part of the United States could stop the flow of semi trucks and trains for awhile. I still remember when my friend in New Mexico said her grocery shelves were nearly empty for weeks after Katrina hit as most supplies were routed to the Gulf coast... so it doesn't have to be an attack from enemies.
Of course, on a smaller scale we have winter storm warnings in our area. I remember when we lived "in town" and had a terrible time getting some items such as fresh eggs and produce for weeks.
At first the trucks could not make it through the snow and when some trucks did begin to get through, the essential food items would quickly disappear as people restocked their refrigerators.
It is worth putting both thought and prayer into the question and writing down a list. Not just once but keeping the list out for awhile as you think of essentials during the week. For instance, as you make your meals through the week an item will come up as essential you didn't think of at first... or you realize you only keep enough pet food on hand for the week... or you stop and think of the fact your well doesn't run should electricity be out.
Then after making a neater master list, tuck it away in one's purse, tape it inside the door of a little used cabinet, or place the list in a file where one keeps their emergency numbers and documents. Just make certain you know where it is should you ever need it.
A good idea would be to keep a copy in the kitchen or your purse and a copy where you keep important documents should you need to pick them up and leave quickly.
What, you don't have all your important documents in a such a place? That is the subject then of a later Pantry Lifestyle post. (Although when our house was hit by lightening and the fire department was called, I remembered the cat and not the container with the documents!)
Okay... think of this question with pen and paper in hand. If there was an emergency broadcast warning of possible (but not immediate) danger... if there was time to get to a store to make purchases... what are your priorities?
Believe me, I know from the everyday occurrences... those when I am shopping without a stressful situation... that I have gone to the store for an item we are out of and came home with everything but that item!
Take the time, think it through, make a list. Someday you may be glad you did.
Note: If you have family meetings, this would make a great subject to brainstorm with the kids. As long as it is handled in such a way they are not fearful, of course. Along with other important questions such as what to do if an emergency occurs during school hours (if not homeschooling) such as the Oklahoma tornadoes this past spring.