Saturday, February 05, 2022

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Winter Storms and Shortages

When I make a list of what I want on my pantry shelves, I normally think of what I would purchase if there was a Winter Storm Warning.  As it turned out, there was such a warning when I was doing my stock up shopping early last week.  

I was hoping the stores would not be busy when I went to Meijer about 9:00 in the morning but it was already packed.  They were out of some items that I should have added to my husband's Kroger list but I forgot. I didn't think of it again until he was home from doing the Kroger shopping that afternoon.

Thankfully, I had backups such as ascetic containers of milk and meat in the freezer.  I could make my own loaf of bread, too.  Since then, I've been doing a lot of pondering of the importance of knowing how to cook, bake, etc.  I think we may need to be creative to get food on the table and I'm doing some reading and watching to help my creativity.

My husband is going to go to Kroger tomorrow and all should be well if he can make it out of our gravel lane.  At least we have new tires!  I probably will not get out for a few more days.  The roads in the country are still not the best and I am not brave when it comes to driving on roads with ice and snow drifts.

We ended up with about 13 1/2 inches of snow, it was our biggest snowstorm since we had a blizzard about fifteen years ago.  Added to the wind and heavy snow were sub zero wind chills at times.  Unlike New England where my daughter had a package delivered during that blizzard, our mail has not been delivered since (I think) last Tuesday.  That was a big snow storm.

Of course, I had to do some baking during the storm so I made chocolate brownies with chocolate buttercream frosting.  The good thing about these brownies, as opposed to say... chocolate chip cookies... is that one piece and I'm fine for the day.  I cannot say the same thing about cookies.  Even the aroma of warm chocolate chip cookies can turn me into the Cookie Monster.  I have to take an extra shot of insulin but it is worth it.

Whenever I make a buttercream frosting, I make extra and put it in the refrigerator where it becomes a fudge-like treat for my husband.  He panicked the first evening and thought I had thrown the extra icing away but it was still in the large yellow Pyrex bowl where I had made it.  I was just too tired that day to transfer it to a separate Rubbermaid style container.

I had already made a loaf of bread that I could serve with soup.  Soup being the best... in my opinion... almost blizzard conditions dinner.  Although, the casserole I made one evening comes in at a close second.  The sun is out today, acting as a deceptive lure to go out of doors since the temperature has not gone above 18 degrees.  We won't talk about the windchill.

I have been reading Twelve Recipes again, the style of writing is much like An Everlasting Meal (one is a Chez Panise chef and the other was a chef there for a short time).  A very good friend bought Twelve Recipes after my recommendation here and was confused that Chapter One is titled... Toast.  Thankfully, she trusted me enough to keep reading and found it to be a good book that teaches more than making toast.  ;)

Another former Chez Panise chef is the author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat which needs to come off my shelf for a reread next week. All three cookbook writers talk about the need to know basic ingredients as well as the important techniques of cooking and then you can cook almost anything and make it delicious.  If we didn't discuss politics or religion, I would love to have dinner with Alice Waters, who founded Chez Panise in Berkley, California.  

I believe cooking this way is what will be necessary very soon. From what I have read, it seems the shortages are getting worse instead of better.  I was astonished when I was at Meijer last week and the only chicken they had for sale was the organic chicken.  One whole roaster was over $18.00.  Where various cuts of chicken had previously been on that aisle, there were now family size packages of ground beef.

Aldi has not had very much chicken available but there has been some.  There has been beef but it has risen in price substantially.  I'm glad I froze the bone from the Christmas ham, it is going to be used for 15-bean soup this week.  Believe me, I am rethinking every bit of food that can be used again in some form instead of throwing it away.

I read an article by (I think) a Louisville chef about how her food shopping for her restaurant has had to change since the beginning of COVID and especially with the shortages in stores today.  She said one very good thing to come from it is that she was forced to develop good relationships with local farmers and it has turned out to be something she wished she had done long ago.

I don't know about you but I plan to get to know some farmers at my local farmer's market.  (All the farmers I have known in my life grew corn and soybeans.)  There is so much more to consider on this subject but it requires more thinking and praying.  

Mentioned in this Blog Post

Twelve Recipes, information... here.

An Everlasting Meal, information... here.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat; information... here.  (The Netflix four part series based on the book is excellent, too.)

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links. 

Image:  Doris Lee, artist


Carol said...

I feel like you are correct when you say that we are going to need to be doing more cooking ourselves and finding ways to do things by ourselves. I know many family farms are gone these days as the money is not good, but I believe we are going to see a strong push to regain land from housing developments to be farm land again very soon!
I never learned to can, but I will be doing some this coming year. My daughter does a lot of canning and raises her own food and I believe that many younger families are going to be lost as I know many under 30 that truly don't know how to cook.

Vee said...

I watch a bunch of homesteading vlogs. This morning, I watched Sara (Living Traditions Homestead) teach how to make ghee. Sara has a cow. I don't. But then she said that I could make ghee with a pound of butter bought at the supermarket. The benefits? Ghee is shelf stable. I could get excited about that. I only have a small freezer and I don't want to store tons of butter there as I am afraid I do now.

There will be no garden, no rabbit raising, etc., but there are some small things I can do to make life more pleasant. Ghee, here I come!

You got walloped with snow. There were two storms in a week. I preferred the blizzard as this last one yesterday came with rain and lots of ice. Not my favorite combinations.

copperswife said...

While we continue to see shortages of some products here in central California, there is still a very generous offering of products. I may not find the exact product I was looking for, but, as you’ve mentioned, knowing how to cook from scratch means that I’m able to make substitutions quite easily. An older woman (ha!! She was probably my age!) was in the pasta aisle the other day and said she’d not seen lasagna noodles for months. She shrugged and walked away. We’ve been enjoying a lasagna casserole I make with another type of pasta all along, and I hadn’t even noticed that the lasagna noodles were still unavailable. I’m happy to see things like bone-in, skin on chicken is making its way back into the meat department that was once filled with only boneless, skinless, and filleted chicken. I have a few items that remain at the top of my grocery list on my phone so that, once I find them available, I’ll remember to buy them and, perhaps, an extra as well.

Melissa said...

Cooking from "scratch" is a great way to make your own sauces. My grandson was saying the other day that he didn't like the plain ketchup and mayo packets that they serve for lunch at his school when they have french fries or other foods that he likes to dip. I suggested he make up his own Chick Fil-A sauce if they had honey also or maybe some sugar. Mix packets of ketchup, mayo, honey and mustard. Maybe that would taste a little better!
I'll look for the Twelve Recipes book at the Library soon, I've read the Everlasting Meal also, thanks to you!