Friday, May 29, 2015

180 days of food storage

So my husband wanted to do a blog on what 180 days of food looks like. I was uninspired but I did it to humor him. First of all I learned that the food adds up quickly. We picked up rice $11 for 20lbs at a time and it just keeps adding up. So at first it was like whoa we have an extra day of food. But by dips and dabs it has all added up because we started. You can do this too JUST START! You don’t need a great plan, just a start. In an EMP, like "One Second After" there is no help coming and that little extra you save now could be the difference between life and death.

We bought six cases of ramen on our last Sam’s club trip because we eat it all the time. It is one of those foods that stores indefinitely and it is cheap, light and easy to stack. For us It is one of the rare things all four of my kids, and my husband like the only person who isn’t crazy about ramen is me and that is only because I don’t like it plain.  I also don’t like plain oatmeal, so as you can see I made sure to store the important add ins like butter. My butter is home canned. We have been doing that for over a decade. I guess it technically Ghee but you get the point make sure you have the accessories to make your food palatable. Like with the seasoning and gravy packets this is going to go a long ways to help get those beans and rice down after days and weeks of eating it. Also you need to a hard copy of your simple recipes. The crazy thing about an EMP is being cut off from all my on line resources.

Another thing I seriously need to consider is the water. This menu takes six cups of water at least to cook every single day, if you times that by 6 that is 36 cups daily for my family of six. Wow. So I really need to think about my plan A, Plan B and plan C on potable water. I think this is might be the most important thing that I learned. 

Oatmeal ½ cup dry                                         150                                 27000
Butter 1 tbs                                                    100                                  9600          6lbs canned
Brown Sugar   1 tbl                                         45                                  11910            7lbs
Raisins                                                             30                                   4290             3 canisters
Maple syrup        1 tbl                                     56                                 10080          3 containers            

Ramen is a great soup base for adding leftovers or an egg into, but those are more foraged things than food storage. So my hope is that all found calories find their way onto the lunch menu.

Ramen   1 package                                       340                                         61200            5 cases            

Dinner is very basic, rice and beans can be bland, but the can also be very versatile as well. Most major cuisines has rice and beans as a staple flavor so adding salsas helps give it a Mexican flare, soy sauce or sweet and sour and you have Chinese flavors, Even some regions of Italy use rice more heavily than pasta. You just need the foundation set and then you can get creative on how to dress up your food,

Rice    1 cup                    340                       61200         36lbs  
 Beans 1 cup                   100                        18000        30lbs
Veggies 1 can                   70                         12600       180 cans
Gravy/season packets     100                         18000       180 packages
Butter    1 tbl                   100                           9600       6lbs
Salt   2lbs

So here is enough food for one person for six months. This person will be eat about 1400 calories a day. The total calories shown is 243,480 calories. I am hoping that this imaginary person is able to glean some calories to flavor all that ramen!

After, One Second After


Monday, May 25, 2015

Cooking off grid: No electricity

I’ll be the first to admit that our real food plan when the electricity is out is the 25 minute drive to the nearest McDonalds with a play place and free WIFI. Where it is an excellent plan for our usual issue of power outages it may not be so brilliant if we are snowed in or if we have suffered an EMP event. We have discussed some of our options for cooking without electricity. We have several worked out.

One: Propane BBQ grill. Whereas this is great in a short term situation the obvious issue is running out of fuel. Once we decided for monies sake to stop using our oven and our BBQ grill lasted about a month cooking mostly dinners outside. I think there will be huge adjustments in standards and expectations if there goes a full month without electricity. The pros to this are that we have tons of experience using this method and it would feel pretty natural and normal.

Two: Outside rocket stove. I’m not actually sure this is a real rocket stove burning wood gases but I do know that it is built and that it works using a small amount of wood. The benefits of this are that it is fast. But it is outside. We also have 20 acres of wooded land and we are a smaller lot in our area so we should not have too much wood poaching going on.

Two and a half: Inside rocket stove built in our fire place. This has the benefit of being inside and safer from zombies and what not. Again I am not sure if it qualifies as a true rocket stove but it can take us from lighting up to eating ramen in 20 minutes.

Three:  Open camp fire Dutch over, grate and frying pan. This is also great for roasting wieners and marshmallows! We have dug a hole in our front yard built a bon fire and cooked. Only to replace the dirt and grass after the bon fire. Con we need recipes and experience with our Dutch oven.

Four: Solar oven. Our solar oven is homemade and a bit poor looking but the point of it is to warm frozen chicken nuggets between breakfast and lunch to edible temperature then it is a big win. Also make cheese crisps and other simple foods. 

Five: Car battery we recently checked out using a car battery to run our electric crock pot and we feel that this is a feasible option for that cloudy rainy day where you are not able to use a outside cookery method or a very busy day. We still need to check this method for our electric griddle and our electric skillet. * the dc to ac power inverter would need to be stored in a Faraday Cage to have a chance of surviving and EMP event. 

Six: Using the car engine heat to cook. Whereas I am not very skilled in this my husband swears it works and I also know that in Arizona one of my friend’s husband cooked his food on the dash board of his car! Our plan is to run the car to help keep our freezer and fridge cold so we would like to use that residual heat to some benefit. 

Seven: My husband is researching how to build and cook in an old fashioned Italian pizza oven. Right now our plan is to build a deck next spring with the oven as part of the design. If an EMP hit we have the raw ingredients and have seen enough videos to attempt to make a pizza oven on the fly. Again the fuel would come from our wooded acreage.

So here are some of our off grid cooking plans. Some areas that we haven’t explored are camp stoves, which includes many different fuel sources from butane to charcoal. All though we really should think about charcoal as it is something that my husband has researched making and has had some success with creating. We have both used hobo stoves in scouts, which might prove helpful, but that seems more of a short term 72 hour kit type cooking type than a longer term power outage resource.  So what are some of your idea for off grid cooking? Do you have any suggestions for us?

Here is an Alton Brown video cooking steak directly on coals.

Here is another making a grilled cheese sandwich on a BBQ grill.

After, One Second After