I was wondering about having enough food on hand, and moreover, what would it actually be like when the balloon goes up to actually have to enact a rationing out of the goods.
I've often stated I maintain a year's supply of food. This is based on an estimate, with some empirical data based on calorie count from an audit I ran on my stocks a couple years ago. Haven't done an audit since then, but a guestimate based on appearance of what I have in stock.
I decided to see what it was like to have to live on my preps, as close to totally relying on them as I could. This would help to achieve several things:
1. Answer the question: Would my allocation of approximately 12-1500 calories a day be sufficient?
2. Clear out a handful of preps with stale dates, use those up. Things that I bought that seemed like a good idea at the time, but for some reason avoided because of second thoughts, change of mind, lack of interest. And now made worse by the potential deterioration of the contents. And a few things like that that DON'T have stale dates, but just werent appetizing.
I havent' worked in awhile, so this little stress test would also help my food budget as I wouldnt have to buy groceries for a month. Though I would also have to replace what I used, eventually.
And that was the experiment...One Month.
It's still in progress, I'm about a week in.
So, the first step was to set aside my months allotment. Select approximately 1/12th of my stocks
and pull it out of the pantry, then line it up on the kitchen table and see where I'm at.
I have to admit, it was scary. It was...enough,
but it was also gonna be a tad lean.
Went thru the canned goods. For a lid of 12 of one kind of thing, one can. Fruit. Veggies. Spam. Meal-in-cans. Stew. Etc.
Then there were the trade offs and gimmies.
I had enough flour that could allocate a cup a week. That's a loaf or two of bread, and I already had some store bought bread, so I swapped. Skip the flour and use the bread. That kind of thing. I wasn't gonna let food I already had go bad, so where obvious, I did the swap thing and used equivalence. Same thing for fresh potatoes I had, put the flakes back on the shelf.
Then, at the beginning of some big event, I'd probably go out back and cap a squirrel or rabbit, (hunting straight away rather than use up my preps only to find that others less prepared in the area had hunted out the game) the stand in for game would be a deer steak I already had in the freezer.
I pretty much limit cooking to my coleman one-burner propane stove set up in the sink.
Once I revisited the pantry to make sure I had my correct allocation on a realistic basis, I realized I had a few more things I could grab. I have to say Im not going hungry and may have lost a couple pounds, but thats a good thing in my case.
Rice, beans, pasta are all great stretchers.
Now, some expiration dates:
I had about a 16oz can of Bumble Bee canned salmon that I know dated back at least 10 years.
It had an '04 expiration date on it. I figured, heck, old fish…nasty, probably a tosser.
Opened it up. Squeezed the excess water/oil out of it. Made it up like tunafish, forked the hell out of it, added some mayo, and some cheater celery (hell I ain't gonna let it go bad!) and couple of pinches of Old Bay.
It was AWESOME! Big can, made lunch for TWO DAYS! And filling too! Sorry I waited so long! Not a DAMN THING wrong with it.
That was a few days ago. Tonight, an equally old Sun of Italy Red Clam Sauce.
Took a couple days allocation of pasta, boiled that up, heated up the sauce (was a lined can, no evidence of leaching) and split the sauce / pasta combo into two portions.
One was tonights dinner and it too was awesome. The tupperware bowl with the second half will be sometime tomorrow. I am full. This armageddon stuff isn't so bad after all.
There was also the vienna sausage. I had bought two little cans originally. The first one I had shortly after I acquired it and they seemed greasy nasty and i vowed not to buy them again. The second can was left and was consumed this week, still within expiration but since I wasn't fond of them, I decided to see if they could be more palatable fried up and with a little mustard I choked them down, pretending it was a cooked hotdog or something. Better but still not gonna buy em again!
The burn rate on the preps seems to be commensurate with the time passed.
When I think about the hardships people endure in war, including some I've read about and others people I knew in the last century who actually lived thru war and depression, I can safely say I'm eating like a king. It did not look that impressive laid out on the table, but it is enough. So far.
I do see a shortage of vitamins from fresh produce that I would be out of for an extended time, that could cause problems. I could up my stocks on green beans. Im cautious about the prevalence of sodium and grease that accompanies canned meats. But beans are a great balancer, roughage that helps burn up cholesterol and fats in the body.
I had to relearn how to cook beans. Canned is too easy. Soaking and cooking DRY beans is another story. I am a bit perturbed that beans, for all the good they are, are energy intensive. It's one thing to soak them for a day, but need an hour of cooking and that means fuel. A balance of canned beans to speed that isn't a bad thing.
40lbs of rice might be enough for one person, but maybe not. Too cheap to add more, think I will. Cooking fuel too, and maybe more beans. Pays to have AC power to run a blender, if you're frustrated with the slowness of cooking beans, resort to creamy bean soup by pureeing them and serving over rice. Ok, Louisiana I have YOUR attention.
Don't forget to saute up some onions and garlic to go in the bean soup.
More on this little experiment as it progresses.