Saturday, September 16, 2017

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - After the Storms

My eyesight is a little better, not great but good enough to write a blog post.  Today I want to write about some lessons I took away from Harvey and Irma. Just ponderings off the top of my head.

Like a lot of people, I had the Weather Channel on to watch the progression of both storms.  What I found most interesting were the interviews from people once the storms had passed.  There were so many stories!

I've written about how supplies of food and other products have been affected by events in other parts of the country before.  That was very evident in Florida when grocery store shelves were emptied in Northern Florida days before the storm was to hit and... at the time... not thought to be impacted as heavily as the Southeastern part of the State.

On one hand, that is a good thing because people took the storm seriously.  On the other, it is a reminder that we should always be stocked at least a little with the basics we need.  Most events that happen to us are not tracked in the Atlantic for a week and they do not have to happen in our own backyard to affect transportation.

I have found it a good thing to have an emergency grocery list on hand.  While I try to keep the pantry stocked, it is never completely full.  Such a list allows one to go to the store quickly and come away with what is needed.  It avoids impulse purchases (kind of) and helps keep my budget on track.

The emergency list can also be used as an essential pantry list if one considers the refrigerator and freeze a part of their pantry as I do.  The priorities may change if I know a storm of any kind is approaching. For instance, I will concentrate more on food that does not need to be cooked if there is a chance the power will go out. 

It doesn't take much money or space to keep an extra loaf (or more for bigger families) of bread in the freezer.  Whether store bought or homemade, bread and shelf stable ingredients for a sandwich will be a huge blessing should one not get out of the house for awhile.

Not only sandwich bread but quick breads can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for snacks and meals that do not need to be cooked.  Should the power go out, quick breads will last for awhile out of the freezer.  They are also excellent gifts for neighbors needing something to feed the body as well as the soul.

My orange cranberry bread recipe and my Amish pumpkin chocolate chip recipe have been doubled long ago.  Even with the kids grown and in their own homes, I still make the entire recipe so one can go in the freezer.  These breads are easy to make and when you bake your own, you know what ingredients go into them.

I do buy crackers although they don't store well, especially in humidity.  However, I always try to have Ritz crackers and Triscuits on hand, as well as saltine crackers in Winter (the best I think for flu).  If I know a storm is expected, I purchase an extra large box of crackers as they can be used in place of bread when it runs out.  Soft taco and burrito shells have a long shelf life and are perfect for sandwiches, too.

There are so many food items that do not need to be cooked.  From nuts and dried fruit to fresh fruit to canned fruit (especially helpful if it has a flip top lid).  Vegetables like carrots and celery can be kept without refrigeration awhile.

This is when having a large package of paper plates, bowls, cups, etc. will be worth their weight in gold as well as extra trash bags.  I learned when we had to turn our water off for two weeks that the cheap paper plates were actually the best.  If we just had a sandwich on them, the top plate could often be removed and the next layer used again (they often stick together with more than one plate).

The people in Houston didn't have quite as long to prepare so an emergency pantry would have been a life saver for some and at the least make life easier for others.  Of course, for the homes completely flooded then no amount of preparation would help except for having a bug out bag with food and important documents and a pet carrier ready.

What I heard about quite often was how the supply trucks could not get into the Houston area to resupply grocery stores NOT IN FLOODED AREAS because of impassible roads.  We live in the country and while not far from town, far enough that winter storms keep us on our own for awhile.

My husband told me of a news story he found amusing and I thought it quite a lesson for people.  A father had just rescued one of his daughters from her home and was taking her to her parent's house.  He was on the way to rescue another daughter.  It wasn't that their places were flooded but neither had food or water in the house.  He told the reporter that he has been telling them since childhood to prepare for emergencies and they didn't listen to him.  He hopes this taught them a lesson.   A very wise father.

I know this is not extensive or anything but once again, just off the top of my head thinking.  There is so much to learn from these storms and so many things going on in our country and around the world.  We need to be taking being prepared for emergency situations seriously.

Mentioned in this Post
My two quick bread recipes can be found... here.


Vee said...

Your excellent advice, if one had been reading along, would have served anyone well. I'm taking it just in case Jose shows up here one day soon. This basically means battening down the hatches...putting away loose objects in the yard and finding a home for hanging plants indoors. I'll fill my gas tank and my 5 gallon gas tank just in case. I doubt that I'd have to leave, but some food that does not require refrigeration or heating would be good. Beef jerky, peanut butter, bread, fruit... Your New England family is, no doubt, keeping an eye on it. Thanks!

Jane said...

Excellent advice once again!
As a resident of Jacksonville I can tell you that we were very worried this time because until Hurricane Irma shifted slightly West we were expected to have a direct hit, along with Miami and the rest of the East coast of Florida. Irma was so huge that she really covered the entire state and we did get plenty of fierce wind and rain for more than 12 hours Sunday night into Monday. Scary listening to trees falling in the dark!
We had already had several days of constant rain beforehand due to a Nor'easter so everything was saturated. The strong wind gusts continued until Monday evening. The severe flooding in parts that had not flooded before, such as the downtown area, came after Irma had passed due to the tidal rivers overflowing.
We were very blessed to have our electricity the entire time but they said about 90% had outages and the electric company just announced last night that almost everyone's power had finally been restored. We did have several big trees knocked down but luckily none fell on the house. A couple fell across our little road so we couldn't get out for a couple of days but we had stocked up so had our hurricane provisions of food and water.
I'm glad people did stock up and hope they'll remember that our Hurricane Season continues through the end of November so they should hold onto their supplies of water and non-perishables. I usually get some cans of ravioli, etc. and then donate them to the food bank later.
Sorry to go on and on but thought you might like to hear from someone in the Hurricane Irma area. Always appreciate your posts even though I don't often comment. All the best, Jane

Annabel said...

There have been so many things lately that are big reminders to be well prepared! One thing that I hadnt really considered is another area being in a crisis and huge numbers of people being on the move. Your own town may then be in crisis trying to supply this massive influx of people with food, water and accomodation. Empty shelves even without a direct crisis hitting you! So the spin off effect I guess can take many forms!
I am so glad your eye is improving. You are the the third person I know which a serious eye issue... from this I know you need to rest it and it can take quite a while. So look after yourself! xxx