Saturday, April 11, 2020

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - The reason I am "topping off" my pantry

If there is one phrase I'm hearing over and over these days it is, "I never expected".  When I first heard of the possibility the coronavirus would come to the States, medical professionals were saying to be ready to stay home for two weeks.  That seems so long ago!

I stay home a lot, especially in Winter during the height of flu season, and even I am experiencing cabin fever.  Once it actually warms up enough to sit on the deck, that will help a lot.  It actually snowed a little Thursday evening and our forecast is for cold weather next week.  I'm a couple hours outside of Chicago and Spring arrives slowly most years but it is particularly taking its time this year.

Only now are news stories breaking through of the possible long term affects to our food supply caused by the shutdowns.  You may have seen the photos of vegetables rotting on the ground in Florida and reports of dairy farmers facing bankruptcy because milk is being poured out.  Some big egg farmers are experiencing the same thing.

Why?  Because of the laws regulating our food supply.  It seems that food contracted to go to restaurants and schools is not suppose to go elsewhere according to some contracts.

So while some people are going hungry, food is being thrown out.  I think there are a lot of lessons we will take away from this pandemic and perhaps government bureaucracy will be one of them.  We can only hope.  We already are seeing the results of bureaucracy being set aside to get medical supplies where they are needed.

Another reason we will likely be seeing at least temporary food shortages in this country (and I suspect in many countries) is that processing plants are being shut down to prevent the further spread of the virus.  We are long past the years when a whole butchered cow, pig, etc. was purchased and cut up by the butcher.  Now the meat comes to the grocery store already processed.  Not to mention... who will make the bacon?

So while we are allowed to get out to go to the grocery store, we are topping off our pantry as much as possible.  I don't have a deep pantry as I once did so it is even more important to keep food coming in while we can. There soon may come short period of time when we can't.

I thought at first that each of us could go to one grocery store each week but the continued shortages have made it necessary to go to two stores a week... mask worn and hand sanitizer handy.  We haven't had a huge amount of cases of the virus in our immediate surroundings but enough to be cautious.

This past week, it was announced that both Kroger and Aldi are going to allow only so many customers in the store at once.  Customers are to line up outside the store and will be let inside by employees.   Honestly, in my wildest dystopian imaginations, I didn't think this was possible so quickly outside of a war situation.  (Which, I guess, it is.)

We both went out for groceries early last week and I am planning one quick trip next week for items like milk, bread, and cream for coffee. If there is no bread, I can make my own so no problem there but I do like coffee with a little raw sugar and cream. I realized today that the raw sugar is getting low, too.  I still have extra regular sugar (which lasts a very long time if stored correctly) purchased when it was on sale during the Holidays.

So that is to explain while we have been going to two grocery stores.  Both with a list, both as "in and out" as possible, and each of us with a very good mask and hand sanitizer that we had before the pandemic began. 

I am pondering what is possible after this current crisis is over and I'm thinking the possible scenarios all include the need for a deeper pantry.  I pray all of you are well!

Image:  I've had this in my photo files for ages so I don't know who to credit but it a very cheerful image for today.


Vee said...

Well that is a lot to ponder and fret over if one is inclined to fret. Alas, I might be one of those. That graphic is not only beautiful, but true as true can be. Oh for the warmth of earlier weeks. It's back to winter replete with snow and everything. I am not pleased.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I bought some powdered cream from amazon though I have not tried it and have no idea what it is like...Today our National Park Farmers Market curbside service worked really well. I hope that will continue. They have your order ready and put it in your trunk. My dd Alice picks up both our orders. Keep well, Brenda, and all your family, too.Easter blessings.

Jenny said...

I've had to go to two or three grocery stores because of the limits set on items. I can't imagine what large families are doing when they're only allowed one gallon of milk or one dozen eggs.

I haven't gone in a store for awhile now thankfully. I've been able to do grocery pick up & get everything on my list...except wipes of course, they cannot be found anywhere.

I too am keeping my pantry topped off. I think I have enough for 4 to 6 weeks with eating no fresh foods after about two weeks in. But my thought is that if any of us get sick, we're all under quarantine & cannot go pick up groceries...we live too rural to have it delivered. So I'm keeping my pantry full as well as I can just in case we wake up sick one morning.

My husband is still going to work 10 hours a week. My son & daughter-in-law are still going in 40 to 50 hours a week. They all three work in food production but working in a factory means they need to be super careful. So far, their plant has had no problems keeping enough healthy workers.

Anonymous said...

The cans of evaporated milk mixed with water 1/1 work pretty well for coffee. Let it chill in the fridge awhile. Then you wouldn't have to risk going out as often.
Thanks for the 'heads up' about the other groceries.
Take care and stay safe.

Deanna Rabe said...

You’ve given me some things to think about. Happy Easter!

Jennifer B. said...

Brenda, so glad you are both well! We are also. I appreciate your clear thought. When my children were younger, I had a very large, deep pantry. It has lessened, even though they are all still home, as they are not home for dinner every night and don't seem to eat as much as younger , growing teenagers! I have learned some lessons as well. I love the idea of a journal to keep track of what things were immediately in short supply. I go out to the store once a week and have been "cleaning out" the freezer, eating the oldest stuff to make room for the recently purchased meats. I have read your posts for years. Thank you for the reminders and the wisdom! ~Jennifer B.

copperswife said...

Here in California, we’ve been standing in lines to enter stores for three weeks already. It was weird the first time, but it’s become less daunting as time has passed. Most stores are offering “senior” hours for those over 60 or with disabilities a couple of very early mornings per week. We’ve found that going midday to the large discount grocer in our area has been the best plan....a couple of times we’ve waltzed right in the door without having to wait in line at that time. I have to say, we do enjoy shopping with fewer folks in the stores and not having to stand in long lines to pay because of those limits. Safer for everyone. Home Depot has a line to get in, and the Costco line here is still ridiculous. While most staples have returned to the shelves, there are limits still imposed on many things. I haven’t seen bread flour since before this all began. And of course, TP is still a “hot” commodity, though I’ve seen a few packages of odd brands on the shelf at the grocery store the last couple of times we’ve been. Early last week we did a “big” shop, right after the retirement check hit the bank, and were able to stay home the rest of the week and at least for the next week. The curve flattened early here, which is wonderful, but it does mean that we will be shut down a lot longer as the virus continues to work its way through our cities. I miss my church family so much! Stay safe!

Anonymous said...

I heard the plants that have eggs they are rotting because the manufacturers of the egg cartons they need to get the eggs in the stores are deemed 'nonessential' and so they are closed down. !! Also today they announced Smithfield meat packing plant in s.D. is closed. Many there got the virus and so they will be closed for two weeks. Smithfield is owned by china for about 3 years now by the way, There flour, t.p. and yeast are the hardest to find. We see a bit of beans and rice off and on. I am in Calif. too. Last week one of our biggest grocery chains had no pork products at all. No hams, bacon, ham hocks or chops etc. Nothing. It is all hit and miss so you get what you can when you can. You are limited. Like even one ham or one steak at each shopping trip. I sure noticed that the being row still has all the sprinkles and chips and such but the basics like Bisquick, flour, sugars of any kind, yeast etc are all out always. I found eggs and got a dozen but it we looked for 6 weeks when we did get out till we found that. We just have to keep on smiling and learning. I sure have developed new recipes and ways of cooking new to me that I will now always use.

Another thing is seeds and plants, fruit trees and even garden soil are disappearing fast. Several states, Michigan and another have deemed seeds and any garden thing 'non essential' so they cannot be sold there for now. :(( There are many, many more new gardeners starting this year and I am glad for that. If you find seed make sure you also get ones for a fall garden later too while they have it now. Sarah