|Photo Courtesy USA Today|
I know I wrote recently that the worst thing we can do (other than not having a pantry at all) is to stock up for "The End of The World As We Know It". I mean, really... that is kind of hard to do if you think about it.
However, having said that... we do need to stock up for a more realistic emergency in our life. A time when we can't get to the grocery store or the big box store on the other side of town. It doesn't have to be an End of the World event to bring about such a scenario. I think many New Englanders had a difficult time getting around on their roads this winter!
For us it has been as big as a long period of time out of work for my husband. As small as not being able to get the new under-the-sink filter to go back in its' place so the water has to stay off until we do. Ummmm... that is happening as I speak. Yes, I have a few gallons of water in the garage. No, it is not enough should we not be able to fix this when he arrives home from Menard's.
The most important part of having a pantry of any kind is to help us put meals on the table. If the only items in your pantry that you have are for surviving nuclear warfare, then you probably can't use much of it to get dinner ready tonight without running to the store. I had dehydrated food at one time that I let get too far past their "use by" date because I was keeping them for an emergency, even when we had been out of work awhile.
However, if your purpose is to put food on the table and you have thought it out well, then by just buying extra when you can and rotating it regularly, chances are your pantry will work for you this week and in an emergency.
I honestly doubt there are many reading this that have less to spend on a pantry than I do. If we had less income (other than the one Social Security check), we might qualify for food stamps. We live in an area where it is very difficult for anyone with an income at all to get food stamps.
At least we qualify for food pantries and the Senior Citizen vouchers for the Farmer's Market each summer. We found out about both ways to supplement our groceries from other people. I say this only to remind you, if I can put a little extra pantry items back... then you can, too. Even if it is just the extreme priorities to your household.
I have a few nonfood priorities that doing without would make us quite uncomfortable. Like toilet paper, batteries, light bulbs, dish washing soap, Charlie's laundry soap, First Aid supplies, etc. Then there is the kitty kibble and kitty litter. It would not be pretty to run out of kitty kibble. It would not smell good to run out of kitty litter because a cat would find anywhere to go in the house. Just saying...
Each household has different priorities as for food in their pantry. Even within that household you will find differences. I view Hellman's mayonnaise as a priority. My husband would just as soon eat sawdust.
My pantry has changed through the years. I did a lot of baking when I had kids at home and now I bake much less. But I still like to stock up on a few items needed for baking, just not nearly as much. Because I had everything I needed in the pantry, last week I was able to make chocolate chip cookies for my neighbor who broke her ankle and her brother is visiting to help a few weeks.
I consider my garden as part of my pantry for if you think about it, so did our grandmothers and generations before them. I'm very late getting the garden in this year due to traveling and the cold-wet weather we have been experiencing this spring. But it will get planted within a few days. God willing and the heavy rain they are predicting will go "south of us or north of us or stop altogether".
I have a list of items for my pantry, a Wish List of sorts. For unless I inherit a great deal of money and move to a larger house... I can't have everything on the list. But I do have priorities that I know will help me as I prepare a meal. When there is no emergency, then I can supplement the pantry with a trip to the grocery store. Most of life is like that.
There is room for real emergency foods as I've said before. I can see freeze dried packages if one lives in a high rise in Manhattan. There isn't a lot of room in most of those apartments. I wouldn't mind some freeze dried dinners to supplement my own pantry to make it quite deep. Makes sense. But at the moment, my priorities are for food and nonfood items needed right now.
We don't have to deepen our pantry in fear. God has miraculously taken care of us and I've seen him do so with others. Instead we have to create and deepen our pantries with our own grocery list we use right now. Then when we are wondering what to have for dinner, we can look in our pantry and find something there for today... not the End of the World. Perhaps that is what beans and rice are good for!??