Saturday, June 08, 2019

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Why have a deep pantry?

It is good to be back and I will write more tomorrow about having our family all together again.  Our time together went by far too fast!

Now things are back to normal, well... as close to normal as things ever get around here.  Today what I want to chat about is part of the reason I started blogging in the first place.  To share why I believe in being prepared for the unexpected and emergency situations.

At one time, I felt alone in my belief that God was calling me to stock extra food and essential items.  One of the good things to come out of the Y2k movement was how many of us found each other.  Especially Christians who believed they had that same "nudge" from God.  Many of them still feel that nudge to keep a deep pantry today.

So... once again, what is the difference between our usual pantry and "deepening the pantry"?  Well, the first helps us to save money, be more organized, and even be more creative because the basics are always on hand.  The latter, when we stock up more than what is necessary for the week... that can keep us from becoming at the very least uncomfortable and possibly... keep us from becoming a victim of circumstances.

We have all seen photos of people standing in long lines in a winter storm warning or a hurricane warning area.  Even if the shelves of food are still full, standing in line that long on a cold winter's morning or a hot August afternoon will be very uncomfortable.

What happens if we stand in line only to find the food we are used to eating is sold out?  Especially those foods that are basic menu items.  Water is often the first to sell out at a store, as well as items like bread, milk, eggs, etc.

We benefit from a deep pantry in many ways.  What if your manufacturing plant shuts down without warning and you have a difficult time stretching the money already?  God forbid... what if there is a regional or national emergency and trucks cannot get to the grocery stores?  Perhaps for awhile, you cannot leave your house?

All of these have happened before and will happen again someday.  

Many years ago, I read a statement that caused me to laugh and then to shake my head in agreement for I have seen the same behavior in people.  The writer said that in their experience, it was as if people thought if they did not prepare for an emergency, then it would not happen to them.  If they prepared, they were asking for trouble.  That does sound a lot like the lies of the enemy of our soul, doesn't it?

I have written how I changed my mind about emergency preparedness as a result of Y2k.  I came to see that most of my preparedness had to be an extension of my everyday pantry.  My preparedness list should come from my grocery list and not something I have printed out from a website (although those can be helpful).

Although there is one change in my pantry thinking that I have shared with you.  Now that I can get very good tasting food like Mountain House pouches, I have used Amazon credit to purchase some of these items from time to time.  (Yes, instead of a book!)  As I wrote before, I tried some different kinds of meals and then purchased a few pouches each of what I really liked. Such items are a true food insurance for those of us in one or two person households.

Both my pantry and my extended pantry look a little different now than it did when we had the kids at home.  For one thing, it is simpler now since the way I cook most of the time is much simpler.  I would never have bought Birds Eye Steamfresh Frozen Brown Rice until there were just two of us.  I stock less casserole ingredients now, although I do still prepare casseroles once in awhile.

I don't bake as often as I did when there were kids at home but I do still like to give baked goods as gifts.  So while I no longer purchase flour in bulk, I always try to keep a couple bags of both King Arthur All Purpose and Bread flour on hand. I buy yeast in jars instead of in bulk now.  I would purchase more flour if I thought an emergency was looming, as well as extra yeast.

We tend to use less meat than we once did in meals but I do like to purchase various meats for the deep freeze when they are on sale.  Once in awhile, I sort through the deep freeze to see what is on hand and if something needs to be used soon.  I also keep extra frozen veggies, rice, etc. in the deep freeze and I rotate them with more recent purchases.

When I have the means to deepen the pantry, I often start with basic canned goods (and jars) because they keep well and in a crisis situation, most of them have liquid already in the can. These are mostly canned whole tomatoes, canned stewed tomatoes, organic salsa, canned corn (mainly for veggie soup), canned green beans, and some kinds of canned fruit. 

I don't purchase as many varieties of pasta as I once did but it is still a basic food for my regular pantry and I purchase extra boxes when it is on sale.  When stored correctly, pasta has a long shelf life.  I mean, really... a box of spaghetti and a can or jar of good marinara sauce is the quintessential pantry food.

I do keep a few other items just for emergency situations.  For instance, even though I purchase frozen brown rice to cook for dinner when I'm tired, I do keep jasmine rice in one of the jars on the red shelves in the kitchen.  I also keep a large (Sam's size bag) of converted rice for emergencies but it is something we would eat if necessary, too.  (I just have to be careful with white rice.)

How do I decide what are the priorities when I deepen the pantry?  I keep one of those lined narrow tablets with a magnet on the back on the side of my refrigerator and during the month, it is where I keep my running grocery list as I run out of an item or think of something else that I need to purchase at the beginning of the month.

I also keep all my former once-a-month stock up lists (Meijers on the front side/Aldis on the back) in an envelope that I pull out when I'm making my grocery list at the beginning of each month.  I use the running list from that month and I go through the older lists to create a new grocery list.

These lists are essential for showing me what I use the most and what then becomes a priority in the budget for purchasing extra to deepen the pantry.  Even then, just because I purchase something every month does not mean they would become a priority.

For instance, while canned tomatoes and salsa would be a priority to stock up since they can go with so many other foods to prepare a meal, I would not stock a great deal of my favorite Aldi Indian sauces.  Partly because they are limited in how I use them and mainly because I am the only one in our home at the moment who likes Indian food.  There is no accounting for taste...

For the same reason, I would stock a few packages of soft taco or burrito shells in the freezer because they can be used in a variety of ways for regular meals and for an emergency. I use them for breakfast as well as other meals.  I also do not know how to make them from scratch.

However, instead of filling the deep freeze with more bread than two of us can eat quickly, I know how to make bread so I stock those ingredients separately.  Same for biscuit ingredients and Indian Fry Bread.  (Which, by the way, was a treat I made often during one of our long term periods of unemployment.)

I will write more next week but if you have any good ideas to share (and you usually do!!!), feel free to leave a comment.  :)

Mentioned in this Blog Post
Indian Fry Bread recipe... here.

As shared in a previous post:
Below is listed some of the Mountain House dinners I have tried and liked. 
Beef Stew 4-Pack... here.
Breakfast Skillet 4-Pack... here.
Biscuits and Gravy individual pouches... here.
Chicken and Dumplings individual pouches... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.

Note:  Please forgive any typos or if I repeated myself from previous posts.  I will more carefully proofread tomorrow but my right eye is bothering me at the moment.  I do not let that stop me but it does slow me down!!!


Vee said...

The only reason I try to keep a pantry at all is for convenience’s sake. I need also to get back to the hospitality pantry as I have friends drop in when I least expect them. I need crackers, jam, cheese, and a good tin of chicken or tuna. I have cheese. That’s it. Wonder what the shelf life of flour is...I have baked nothing so have a big bag of King Arthur left over from December. Saying a prayer for your eye. It has been a challenge for sure.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your good suggestions.
I stock up on cheese when it's on sale because it keeps and it's good in a lot of dishes. We guess that any major emergency may also cut the electricity service, so it's best to major in foods that don't need much cooking when stocking up.

Anonymous said...

You always have such good suggestions! I realize I need to rethink what I should stock up on. We found a box of Mountain House dried food pouches at Costco with several of the varieties you mentioned were good, for a good price, so we got It! They are a life saver when the power goes out! Now if we could only convince our grown kids to do the same for their families!
Praying your eye continues to improve.
Laura C.(WA)