“But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” There is also scripture about brides not buying oil and preparing for the bridegroom as compared to the wiser brides who had oil and wick in the ready. Noah was commanded by God to bring food and drink into the ark. God could well have provided those things with a nod of His head but he told Noah to go out and bring them in for the coming flood. It is because I am a Christian I want to be prepared, physically, spiritually and emotionally for anything God has in store for me and my family.
This morning ( 7/26/12) the New York Times has this report:
WASHINGTON — Scorching heat and the worst drought in nearly a half-century are threatening to send food prices up, spooking consumers and leading to worries about global food costs.
On Wednesday, the government said it expected the record-breaking weather to drive up the price for groceries next year, including milk, beef, chicken and pork. The drought is now affecting 88 percent of the corn crop, a staple of processed foods and animal feed as well as the nation’s leading farm export.
On Good Morning America this morning they reported that milk and beef prices will go up 27 cents by early next year, eggs 18 cents and corn has already jumped 50% since June. That doesn't seem like much but you have to consider how much that amount will grow by the time it gets to the grocery store and the consumer.
Starting a pantry designed for a longer term than just to the next trip to the grocery store really does have to be thought out. What do you use a lot of, what do you use once in awhile etc. Since I have always had a long term pantry (for at least a month or longer of meals) it comes pretty natural to me. I would suggest you start out by taking a complete inventory of what you already have. Put down on paper every item in your food pantry, every item in your medicine cabinet and every item in your garage or garden shed etc. Yeah it will be some work and it will take awhile. If you are not a "list" maker you should start. Keep your lists and items you need to note will be the items you buy over and over at every shopping trip. This will help you make your inventory list of things you need to bulk up on. The Mormons or Latter Day Saints (LDS) have some really good lists on their websites of how much of each thing should be stored ideally for each person. But of course you have to tailor it to what your family uses and doesn't use. 15 lbs of dried fish just won't be part of a diet of a person who doesn't like fish!
Ok let's start with the food pantry, you have your inventory and it probably took you a couple of days or weeks to complete. You probably found items covered with dust way in the back that you bought a few years ago and forgot about..mark those items off the list right now. What on your list do you have to buy every week, month or every few months? Prioritize your list into the categories I mentioned. (Food, paper goods, toiletries, medicine or first aid etc)
Don't forget to inventory things like soap, detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo and conditioner etc. Many of these things you can buy at the dollar store but some people like specific brands. Keep track of how often you replace these items then multiply it out for however long you have decided to extend your pantry and you will know how much you need to store. I shoot for, "a year on hand" and when I see my brands of shampoo on sale or for cheap somewhere I buy a few of them to put away. Remember I am living from my pantry, not just buying and saving. So when I use up something I replace it so there is always an inventory on hand. I know how much toilet paper my family uses in a month so I know how much I need to last a year. Of course I do "pad" the inventory to accommodate times when we use more because of company, use less because we are on vacation and I always consider that I may need to help a friend or family member with some groceries or personal use items.
You want to include items in your inventory that will make your life more pleasant if you have an emergency and have to live 100% out of the pantry. Include some hard candies, games, popcorn that can be popped over a fire in case the electricity is out, imagine being in a worst case scenario and what would be great to have. I have to say being clean and comfortable is number one on my list but my 10 year old grandson has a whole different idea about that.
The next thing to think about in the food pantry is what items do you get fresh that you may not have an option to get fresh? Like milk, butter, vegetables and fruits, breads. I would start thinking about what you can do about that. Canned milk? Powdered? Combination of both? Did you know you can can your own butter in pint jars and it lasts for years and years and you can use it every day. You can also can bacon much cheaper than you can buy it canned. I will include some recipes for these later.
There are a lot of ways to build out your pantry, you can go out and buy pallets of dehydrated foods or MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) if you have a lot of cash laying around and nothing to use it on. Or you can start building slowly. You can learn to preserve your own foods from your own garden or from the Farmers Market, you can stock up slowly from the grocery store. People who live in the city can do this just as well as people from the country. Many years ago (the 1970's) I was a young housewife with 2 small children. I had turned part of my backyard into a vegetable garden with nothing more than a shovel and some seed. It all comes down to you and how involved you want to be with your preparations. Learning to preserve and store food can be a fun and family involved practice. The process you learn and in turn teach your children can lead to a lifetime of self reliance.