Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 9

A food supply for the prepared.Let’s talk food supply.

Many people have the mistaken idea that all they need to do is stockpile a bunch of food and they have it made.  It doesn’t work like that.  The first thing a new prepper needs to do is figure out what food habits exist in the household.  While it is important to assess what kinds of foods the various family members eat, it is also important to keep grocery receipts and use them to better identify what you buy, how often you go to the store, and how much long term planning you do.  How long your current supply of food will last is only as good as how you currently shop.

Prepping well will not only change the amount of food you store, but will also change your life.

Since your goal is to go grocery shopping once a month or less, you will spend less time in the grocery store.  You will waste less money on items you shouldn’t be buying anyway.  You will apply those savings towards your preps.  Your family will eat and be healthier.  You will have peace of mind that if anything should happen, you are ready.

Now that you know how often you shop and how you spend your grocery money, you are ready to move on to food planning.

If you are not in the habit of planning your menus, this would be a good time to start.

Planning menus can be challenging at first, but you can use any number of online menu Even Armstrong had a Menu Prepared.planners or you can purchase a copy of MasterCook for about $20 or MealMaster for free.  We use MasterCook because it has all the capabilities we need, we are not connected with the authors of MasterCook in any way.  We just like it best.  It keeps track of your pantry once you have entered your existing pantry items.  You can create and print your own cookbooks based on your family’s preferences and needs.  It will also keep track of pricing and dietary statistics.  When you plan a meal you will know how many calories, grams of carbohydrates, fat and other important dietary information.

Knowing this information is important because you need to know how well nourished your family will be on a diet of your preps if SHTF.  If you are including too many calories during a time when they are going to be sedentary, they will gain too much weight.  If you don’t include enough calories during a time when they will be working harder than normal, they won’t have enough energy.  It can be difficult to prepare for both scenarios, but we will tackle that at another time.

See you next time in the “Getting Prepared:  A Primer for Beginners Series”.

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 2

Today, you get to learn more about yourself and those who live with you.  Following is a list of skills your household will need if an event  requires you to survive on your own without outside resources.

  • cooking (from scratch, not convenience foods)
  • sewing
  • mechanics
  • first aid
  • security

This is a partial list of skills needed.  The list will changed based on your situation.  For instance, if you live in a rural setting and have to maintain your water supply system, you will need plumbing skills.  We’ll get more in to situational skills in later issues.  For now, add the assessment of skills inventory to your notebook.

Now we will examine the skills listed above in more depth.  Most people would look at that list and think “no big deal” when it comes to cooking and sewing.  Those people would be mistaken.  My wife is an accomplished cook and seamstress.

My wife can feed a family of five for less than $5.00 and we walk away feeling full and satisfied.  On top of that, she makes delightful dishes to eat.  During the most difficult financial situations, she has been able to put meals on the table when others thought there wasn’t any food in the house.  She is talented at using what we have on hand to come up with a meal for how ever many people happen to be sitting down to dinner.  She knows how to use spices and seasonings to make even the most lowly dishes taste heavenly.

This is all important because in our modern society with financial cutbacks in education, many schools have shut down home economics classes.  Our students are only going to learn these skills in homes where their parents have time to teach them.  While many families do attempt to teach their children how to cook this or that dish, few families actually teach their children how to effectively and efficiently manage a kitchen.  And that is the skill you need in an emergency or survival situation.  You need someone who can manage the most precious resources of food and water.

The only way to get that skill is to learn all you can about cooking and kitchen management.  If you are the person designated to manage the kitchen, read everything you can get your hands on.   Cookbooks are great, but you need food textbooks.  Check around for high school home economics texts from 1940 to 1955.

Now about the sewing, during the years our children were being raised, she sewed all their clothes until they entered junior high school.  The only clothing we purchased for them were shoes, undergarments and jeans.  Actually, she sewed her own clothes since she was in high school.  Her ability to sew saved our family thousands of dollars.  On top of that, the kids enjoyed going with her to choose fabrics and patterns.   Our daughter liked that no one else could ever have the clothes she had.  The boys took pride in that they had custom made clothes.  Even in high school, she made clothes they loved and that other kids asked her to make for them.  I’ve watched my wife sew.  It’s amazing.  She can take a piece of fabric and “see” what it will be and look like when she is finished.  If there is a design she wants. but doesn’t want to pay designer prices, she simply sews it.  She says anyone can sew.  She doesn’t lie.  Anyone can buy fabric and a pattern, then follow the instructions to create clothing.

Tomorrow we will discuss mechanics, first aid and security.  Tune in!