It’s the end of the world as we know it … and I’m eatin’ fine!
Because of the sensational TV shows the word “prepper” has taken on a negative connotation in segments of the general population. That’s amazing because in the 23 years of my adult life there have been multiple examples of rationing, production slowdowns, hoarding, and price inflation to the point of gouging (and all right here in America). Just a year ago the price of gas, eggs and milk rose so high that it put a hurt on many families. And who could forget the COVID shortages of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, baby formula, fresh meat, fruits and vegetables?
Apparently, lots of people can forget. What would happen if, right now, a tornado ripped through your neighborhood, damaging your house and blocking off access roads? How long would it be before things got desperate? Remember that you may be tough and able to handle not eating for a couple days, what about the kids or the family pets? No, don’t eat them—eat the Apocalypse.
One of the most sane things you can do over a period of time is buy extra food and supplies when you go shopping … anything that is either already shelf-stable or can be easily vacuum-sealed. And hey, toilet paper is imperishable! Here’s my TP tip: During the pandemic, when stores were sold out, places like Sam’s Club or Amazon still had the bulk industrial packs of TP for businesses. Sure, it was single ply and rough, but at least my hiney was shiny.
You military folks already know about the MRE, but for the rest of you: An MRE (or Meal Ready to Eat), is a self-contained complete meal. Rip it open and you have an entree, side dish, cracker or bread, a spread like jelly, peanut butter or cheese and a dessert. You will need to have some water on hand to use the drink packets and the heater. These were created by the military to feed soldiers on the march, so they are not only portable and convenient, they’re also very calorie-dense and nutritious. You can get them at military surplus stores.
All that said, while MRE’s are fantastic, in my opinion having the rice, beans ,and pasta might be better for your initial usage. The cycle goes like this: I buy a couple cases of MRE’s and they are stored in a cool dry place. Then a decade later I remember I have them, and my wife will not let me eat the expired rations. (I have life insurance and she’s the beneficiary; you think she would let me experiment.) Now the canned foods, rice, and beans are constantly being used, so we just rotate though the oldest supply so it really never expires.
I fancy myself an outdoor cooking savant. For my outdoor kitchen, I have your deluxe Hank Hill propane Grill, and a separate Blackstone (flattop griddle), and a couple of Big Green Egg smokers. With this combination I can cook everything from a whole pig down to some cornbread and everything in-between. Since they are used so often, I make sure that I have a healthy supply of full propane bottles and lump coal. If my power went out for two weeks it would not matter since I cook outside anyway. When the lump runs out I can always cut down a tree. (Here’s a tip: Never use pine to cook with, because pine has a high concentration of sap and that sap is distilled to make turpentine. That’s why food cooked with pine has a weird taste.) On a final note, a disaster is not the time to learn how to use your smoker or grill. It is with the experience of cooking that you know how long things take to cook, especially outdoors.
The staples that are important to have on hand are some flour, corn bread mix, yeast, salt, sugar, and shortening (lard)—all ingredients needed to make some bread or biscuits. For some reason every time there are storm warnings in Alabama bread and milk always sell out. Who eats bread and milk sandwiches? Nothing beats some fresh homemade bread with everything seasoning or buttermilk biscuits.
Have you ever heard of shelf-stable milk? Yep … real milk that does not need to be refrigerated and has a crazy long shelf life. Parmalat is one of the leading manufacturers that uses a high temperature pasteurization and then eventually cans the milk sealing it up. You can keep it for 6 months or more at room temperature if you don’t open it.
All this talk of food has me thirsty. Most people can survive three weeks without food. Water is different—three days and your body can shut down. That’s why every grocery shopping expedition, I will get a couple cases of bottled water. But what about sanitation? I long ago invested in a bunch of new Scepter 5-gallon military water cans. These are the same ones that the military uses and they are damn near indestructible. You probably don’t want your individual water cans any larger than that. Remember that 5 gallons weighs over 41 pounds—can everyone in your household handle that weight? Having extra water allows us to at least take a rinse bath at the minimum. If you have ever gone camping for an extended time, you know how a rinse will make you feel like a million bucks.
Disasters or emergencies can come in all forms, and sometimes they last longer than a few hours or days. Having a cache of bare necessities won’t just help you survive a disaster … it’ll help keep you calm and able to deal with the situation as it evolves. Don’t sweat the Apocalypse; eat it!
–James the “XDMAN” Nicholas Mr. UnPewFessional Himself
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