As you work on creating and stocking your pantry as a prudent and prepared homemaker, you’ll have to make all kinds of decisions about what to buy. I have three important tips I’d like to share with you.
You may have heard of these pantry tips before, but just in case you haven’t I’m going to share them. The first one is actually my favorite and one that I’ve never heard anyone else mention before in all the reading I’ve done about homemaking and keeping a well-stocked pantry.
The First Person You Should Stock Up For
There is one person you should stock up for first.
Who came to mind first when you read that sentence? I’m going to guess your first thought was the baby (if a family has one).
No, it’s not the baby.
The first person you should focus on buying food for is the person in your home on a limited diet due to health needs.
The Problem of Limited Food Options
If you think about it, in an emergency situation you can’t depend on FEMA or the Red Cross to have specialty foods for people who are celiac or have another health issues that impacts their food choices. Local charities and churches can’t be expected to do so either.
Now you may get lucky and they might offer gluten free foods since GF eating is becoming more common. But that’s just one issue. If you have someone in your home with a dairy allergy or a soy allergy, then you definitely cannot count on emergency response groups having what you need. If your baby needs a special kind of formula, then you can’t count on the emergency food providers having the right thing your baby needs. That is going to fall on you.
So if someone in your house has special food needs, you should focus on making sure you have an overabundance of food for this person. Not only do you need to make sure you can feed him for as long as the emergency lasts, you need to make sure you have enough food to last this person until deliveries resume to the stores where you shop. If you are purchasing specialty foods that come from a distance, it could take extra time to get there.
The Food Won’t Go To Waste
The good news is that if it becomes absolutely necessary for some reason, everyone else in the home can eat the special foods. So you are still preparing for the entire family. The food will not go to waste because someone will eat it.
We are faced with this situation in our home and I’m the one with the limited diet due to health concerns. For that reason, I have made sure to stock the foods that I can eat in abundance. My husband and daughter could also eat them if necessary. But in an emergency situation, they would not be allowed to eat anything I can eat so as to make the supplies I need last longer.
So if you have someone with special dietary needs in your family, move the essential foods he or she relies on to near the very top of your list of things to purchase and store.
Food fatigue is when a person would rather not eat than eat the same thing again. Depending on the person, it can make him develop a food aversion or even get physically ill when eating the food he is sick of.
Food fatigue is a real thing and something you should account for while adding to your pantry, especially when you begin thinking more long-term. So, for example, people who store enough rice and beans to last through the rest of this century are making a mistake if they don’t go beyond that. Yes, rice and beans are helpful foods to store because they provide so much nutrition when eaten together. But you can store the most nutritious foods in the world and if someone develops a strong aversion to them because they’ve been forced to eat them so frequently, those foods aren’t going to help at all.
If you store food for a short term emergency such as a hurricane, earthquake, or blizzard, you don’t want to plan on your family eating SpaghettiOs or Cheerios for seven days straight no matter how much they like them right now. They will get sick of them and develop food fatigue.
So as you are working through these steps, keep in mind the psychological benefits of having a variety of foods that are well liked in your emergency foods. Mixing things up will go a long way in keeping everyone happy and well-fed.
Two is One and One is None
“Two is one and one is none” is a popular saying. That’s because there is a great deal of validity to it.
So here’s an example if this saying is new to you.
Let’s say you’ve stored food for a hurricane, blizzard, or earthquake. You’ve got it all neatly stored in a couple of emergency bins. The storm hits and the power goes out, but you are fine because you’ve stored canned goods your family likes and have a little cook stove to warm everything up.
You pull out some family favorites, wipe off the tops, and start to open the first can.
The can opener breaks.
It’s the only one in the house.
If you have lots of canned foods you’ve planned on feeding to your family and no way to open them, you might as well have nothing.
In this case, one is none.
You had one can opener and now you have none.
If you had had two, you would now have one to use.
Keep Multiples On Hand
The really important things – like can openers – you need to keep in multiples.
Buy a couple of extras and pack them away so they don’t get used or lost. When the one you use in your kitchen wears out, bring one out from your emergency supplies and then replace it.
What do you need to buy in multiples for your particular situation?