Saturday, June 13, 2015

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Ponderings on Bird Flu

Image: Wall Street Journal
I was looking on Amazon recently for the cost of dried eggs.  With all the talk of bird flu and how some states are already limiting how many eggs one can purchase at a time, I thought perhaps using Amazon credit for a small container of dried eggs would be wise.

It would have been before the Bird Flu hit.  For what I found was quite alarming.  What products were still available were now far beyond my limited budget.  I had heard such products had risen in price but it was still a shock.  Although I should not have been surprised, the cost of fresh eggs at the grocery store has gone up a lot.

Would I worry about the bird flu?  I've written before about pandemics and how to prepare for them.  History tells us what would happen in such a case (they have hit and will again, of course).  People are told to stay in their homes and avoid all contact with the outside world.

So, of course, having at least a one month stock of food and essentials would be a very wise thing should that happen.  But that is part of what living a Pantry Lifestyle is all about.  We're the grown up version of the Boy Scout's motto, "Be Prepared".

Am I taking the bird flu seriously?  I'm not losing any sleep but I know those in charge are taking it seriously enough that the local and state 4-H fairs will have only photos of poultry and not the real thing.  Local chicken farmers are doing everything they can to prevent outside contact, including no longer allowing visitors on their farms.

Before you shake your head and think I've gone bonkers (in case you haven't already), let me tell you a story.  Something that happened to me just a few months ago.  You may remember I had to take Victoria to see her veterinarian because she couldn't keep food down for awhile.

She was past due for her checkup so even though she was feeling better, we went ahead and kept the scheduled appointment.  Her doctor heard my explanation of her symptoms and then got a funny look on her face.  She asked if my husband or I had the flu recently.  When I told her I had the worst case of flu I could remember in many years, she nodded her head.

She told me both she and her dad (the original owner of the veterinarian clinic) had been told in vet school that it was impossible for humans and animals to infect each other with illness and disease just by being around each other.  Then the original cases of bird flu started to pop up.  Her dad was still alive at the time and they discussed this new, alarming situation.

He told her he was always skeptical of what he had been taught.  For after decades of practicing medicine on animals, he heard one story after another of a pet that had been brought in with flu symptoms just after their humans had been ill.  So he wasn't all that shocked when he heard the original cases of bird flu.

Of course, diseases such as Ebola and SARS affect people from animal bites (and I believe SARS may also be transferred by eating an animal with the virus it is carrying).  It is believed the HIV virus originated in monkeys (although I haven't followed it recently if that was revised).  So we knew illnesses could be contacted by a bite or ingesting the animal... but just being around the animal?  Not so much until recent history.

So what does this mean to you and to me?  It doesn't hurt to keep an ear to the ground of any local outbreak in poultry.  It obviously means if you have the financial ability to purchase some dried eggs you may want to have some put in your pantry.  Or buy chickens and one of those cute chicken coops and keep them away from other poultry (including birds) if possible.

I also read recently you can freeze eggs in an ice cube tray but I haven't tried it.  I plan to soon so I'll let you know if it works.  I'd love to have have chickens and a cute chicken coop.  I have fond memories of the chickens we kept when I was a little girl.  But not so fond memories of the rooster.  Mean rooster!

But those of us who live a Pantry Lifestyle will usually find a way to handle what nature throws at us.  Whether by stocking up or learning to do without.  Like baking crazy cakes and other recipes from the Depression.  (Crazy cakes are also called Depression cakes or Wacky cakes, my son loves the chocolate version.)  The above link takes you to a website that has a lot of crazy cake varieties.

By the way, I have dozens of Pantry Posts archived from when I was writing those posts.  Before I switched to Living the Pantry Lifestyle, which incorporates more than just the actual pantry.  So if you have a lot of time on your hand, you can start reading... here.  When you reach the bottom, click on Older Posts to continue... and continue... and continue.  ;)


Anonymous said...

I have never thought you were bonkers, just the opposite! You have so much wisdom and common sense and I appreciate the new information you share with us as to how to gracefully be prepared regardless of what kind of circumstances we find ourselves in. There is always something new we can learn.

As for eggs, besides buying dried egg there are also some very good egg replacer items that work well in baking. I am intolerant to egg (a chemical reaction, not an allergic reaction) so I bake for us using the egg replacer by Bob's Red Mill. Its soy based, but there are others out there to try. They are shelf stable for a long time, but I usually keep mine in the freezer. There are also pantry items you can combine to use in place of eggs. Not quite the same, but they do work.

Thank you for the Crazy Cake link! You gave it out once before and I lost it so this time I'm going to print and bookmark so I don't loose them. I have the one for chocolate but want to try the others for a change.

I hope that Victoria's paw is feeling better. Its so hard when the critters aren't feeling well.

God bless, Marsha

Vee said...

Have been following this bird flu thing for a while now. Hope that it can be contained, though it is devastating for chicken farmers who are losing their birds and livelihoods. Glad that my niece has hens, though she uses all the eggs...stiil, in a pinch, I might prevail upon her for an egg. I do have some dried egg powder...phew. Interesting discussion about whether animals and humans can share germs. Hmmmm...that's scary. There's enough going on in the world to keep a person looking up that's for sure. Off to find a good whacky cake recipe.

mdoe37 said...

Wow...those Amazon prices are a shocker! Walmart is selling Augason for $40 and Honeyville are about $23. Emergency essentials is $14.95 for a smaller container....but at that price is understandably backordered.

I've got a small shelving unit tucked away in the basement with various food storage cans on it. Just in case.

mdoe37 said...

And after further looking at it....I think I'm going to try my hand at freezing a few!!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

My grandmother talked about storing eggs in isinglass when she was a child.......And I just read on wikipedia that they did this in Britain in WWII...But where does one now obtain this and how long could it preserve eggs? No idea....I'm lucky enough to buy my eggs from a neighbor.

Living on Less Money said...

I've never used dried eggs. Do they change the texture of a baked product? Can you use them for scrambled eggs? I buy a box (yep, a box!) of eggs a month because we don't eat a lot of egg yolks so I will use 2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk for a breakfast portion per person. I also bake with coconut flour which uses a lot of eggs. My brain is doing jumping jacks trying to figure out how we would survive without eggs. :-) God would provide... for this I am sure! I would love to raise a few chickens if the feed bags weren't so heavy. Interesting post!

tealady said...

If it's not one thing it;s another. I have always wanted chickens but we live in the city.I had seen on T.V. that if you oil your eggs they keep for about a year with out being in the frig I think I'm going to look into that more.These are the times I like to keep my pantry stocked and I always wonder if it's enough.I bought your freezer cooking ebook and I am finding it very helpful, but I'm sure that's why you wrote it.

Lee Ann said...

I've never heard of powdered or dried eggs. I will have to look into that. Very interesting. I wonder if some like a certain brand over others.

Anonymous said...

Here is a solution for baking needs, if short on eggs...we use it along with some in our family who need to avoid eggs (and I am one of those)...take ground flax seeds and for 1 egg, mix 3 T. Ground Flax Seeds to 3 T. water. Let sit while mixing other ingredients...maybe 15 minutes or so...then add as you do eggs. Healthy too!! Just be sure to keep the ground flax seeds in fridge or freezer...I keep mine in freezer. It will not help you when you just want a fried or scrambled egg...but it works relatively well for baking. This problem if it continues will affect prices of so many other foods eventually too...hopefully it will be over soon. Only takes 4-6 months to get a chick to laying stage fortunately.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, lots to think about. I tried frozen eggs. They were kind of gunky, but then I heard adding a pinch of salt makes them better frozen. Haven't tried it yet.

Love crazy cake any way you slice it!

I can see where ground flax could be used in place of eggs for baking. It gets almost gelatinous after mixing it with water and letting it stand a few minutes. BTW, I never worry about putting flax seeds in the freezer. Ours stay great for a long time. They are a grain! Now if one bought ground flax, I would freeze that. Just saying. ☺️ Pam (SD)

Anonymous said...

We use flax meal to replace eggs in baking all the time. Three to one mix as mentioned by another commenter. Works great. We also use unsweetened applesauce for that same use. You can't make scrambled eggs with it but can use it in other ways. :) I can half pints of applesauce just for that use. Thanks for the reminder as I think I need to get some more flax meal. It is available all over. The applesauce can also be used as a substitute for oil in recipes if you want.
Years ago we had a friend who got I think it was bronchitis all the time. It was some sort of common viral infection. When they mentioned this to their vet he said their dog could be a carrier for it. They thought him bonkers but had him tested and he was. I wish I could be sure now of what the problem was. The vet said it was not uncommon for dogs though to infect people with it so vets must know about it.
Several years back when we had this bird problem they killed most of our friends chicken flocks and most of the crows in our area died. Also they killed all the show birds and all other birds as they went door to door looking for any birds. All had to go. Thank you Brenda for all the information you share with us. It is always something...Was that what Gilda Radner used to say? :-) Oh Granny Miller has a link on her blog for how to glass eggs or whatever that old fashioned way of preserving eggs was. Sarah

Debbie said...

You can also use 1 Tablespoon of soy flour + 1 Tablespoon of water = 1 egg for baking. I just did this while I was making some rhubarb cakes today and it came out fine.