Tuesday, January 11

Being Prepared: Kitchen

I just want to say right now that I not advocating hoarding of any kind. I think that is a dangerous, expensive, slippery slope that I do not want to fall down. I have first hand experience in seeing what hoarding is like. My husband and I were in charge of cleaning out a relatives house after a long period of limbo - a house full of stuff with no one living there. Depression-era mentality mixed with dimensia and probably loneliness is something I do wish on anyone. In this case, it caused hoarding and obsessive saving of every little thing.

Although there is something to be said for saving things for future use and having what you need on hand, there is a thing as too much. For example, the above mentioned home was full of aluminum canned goods so old that the bottoms had rusted out and the food long since gone. There were suitcases stored under beds with brand new clothes packed inside, just in case there was a disaster of some kind, all destroyed by mold and time. Every available space, not matter how small, was packed to the limits with stuff. Just stuff. The desire to buy and to store away had reached an unhealthy level.

And I don't want to reach that level. Ever.

But I do believe in being prepared.

And I have started cleaning out, stocking up and evaluating. Step 1: kitchen.

I cleaned out my kitchen cupboards and took stock of what I have, what I need and what I can get rid of. I have plenty of canned goods, I need sugar and I can get rid of some of the nick-knacks that I seem to accumulate without knowing.

I operate under the rule that we should have enough food in the house to keep us in three-meal-a-day status for one month. I place a great deal of trust in rice, dried beans, flour for bread making, and the necessary staples to prepare a basic meal. This also includes having enough pet food for Snowy and the cats, as well as feed for the chickens.

Again, I am not advocating hoarding, but I do think it is wise to have a small stash of food that will keep well just in case. Some people say to buy items such as dried beans and peas in bulk and store them in air-tight containers. This sounds like a good idea to me, but I know that they will not last forever. I don't want someone coming into my home many, many years from now and finding the remains of bean and pea food storage gone bad. I only get as much as I know that I will use in the time it will take to run the course of its shelf life.

I also made sure I have plenty of good pots and pans and the basics of cooking supplies, including a small propane cook stove if the power goes out. If we had a wood burning stove we could cook on that but since the pellet stove does not produce enough radiant heat, we can not cook on it.

A portable generator will keep the fridge going, but in the winter the front porch and a pile of snow will mostly do the trick.

Bottom line is that I want to be prepared and I want to have the hard knowledge that I will be able to care for myself and my family if the days comes when I need to. And even though I recently read World Made By Hand, I am not anticipating the meltdown of society. Blizzards and ice storms are something we deal with in New York and that is what I am talking about being prepared for - a week without access to the grocery store.

Something to consider doing: Don't go to the grocery store for one full week. (make sure you have essentials in the house beforehand). See what you run out of. What you wish you had. See what you can do without.

Necessity will show you what you need to keep a good supply of. There is no sense in having a cupboard full of refried beans if no one in your family likes them. (we are just talking a week or two here, we are not starving).

What substitutes could you make if you had to? Honey instead of sugar?

Not everyones idea of fun, I know, but it will get you thinking.

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