It was a year ago Saturday that I first wrote a post about being prepared. I felt the need to mention it again and the need to make another post about it as a bit of a public service announcement. My posts about anything other than food or projects don’t tend to get a lot of views, but thank you for reading and for hopefully considering preparations. I grew up as a girl scout, and that taught me a lot of basic survival skills, but more than that, I grew up in a way that has made me want to be prepared for whatever may happen. For that reason, during college I was often the “mom” of the class due to me carrying around just about anything I could need. Hungry? I had snacks. Cut? I had band-aids and a styptic pencil. Pain? I had Ibuprofen and Alieve for Migraines. Just about anything I could need I had, making my bag about 5 pounds heavier, but at least I always had a way to help the situation I was in. It wasn’t always that I would need something, but on the regular when I would need something I always had it.
When I got married, we had many different goals for our life. When two people come together in marriage, it’s good to have common objectives and goals for the future, and that includes talking about what our priorities should be and what goals we should work towards. Of course, it was always a goal to have a garden and this blog, but I had no idea at the time the pandemic was coming. I have experienced hardship in my life while growing up, but there are many from my generation that didn’t experience any hardship. I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder when it came to making sure we had food, but the pandemic just encouraged me to go until I’m satisfied. It sounds like it’s a bad thing, and if I were stocking up when the stores were empty, then maybe I’d feel a bit more self conscious, but I’ve always been overly prepared with non-perishables and canned goods. So what were some of the biggest changes I made?
One big change I made was trying things I had never cooked with before. The pandemic started to become serious 8 months after I got married and moved in with my husband. My biggest changes were beans and rice. Growing up, I never had them, so even though we don’t have to rely on just beans and rice, each ingredient can contribute to a healthy diet without eating like someone who is in poverty. Another huge change was buying ingredients to bake. I had never had anything significant made from scratch at home. If it comes in a box, why go through all the effort? Well, the basic ingredients for baked goods gives you a well rounded kitchen and a blank slate for so many recipes. Further, I had never had food seasoned by anything other than salt or seasoning packets. Spices add so much life to food, and there are so many cultures you can visit though food and spices. Eating just to eat doesn’t make it an enjoyable occasion, that’s why spice is so important. Try food that is new with spices you may or may not like, even just to say you tried it!
Those were just some of the basic changes that has helped me to grow as a home chef and as a person. Of course, we never thought we’d be in this situation, but we were glad to be partially prepared before, and thankful we needed very little during the thick of it. This time made us change our goals as a family. I discovered I had a huge love for gardening. This year was my first garden, and it was amazing. So, though we just bought this house less than 2 years ago, we do plan to eventually move to a property with more land for gardening, and maybe some small livestock.
In closing, what are somethings that are good to have on hand?
I’ve found canned meats to be helpful. I like to have a month’s worth of meat in the freezer at the beginning of each month. If you can can your own food, you definitely should, if not, know of good ways to keep what you have good in case of power outages. Fresh fruits and veggies don’t last long, but they are still necessary for a healthy diet, so having even some dehydrated fruit is good for emergencies. Flour is so versatile. Bread, cake, pizza crust, tortillas, and pasta, are a few foods to make with it. You can also use flour for thickening a sauce, coating your food for frying, and making batters. Another thing I like to have is evaporated milk. Condensed milk is sweetened while evaporated milk is just concentrated milk, all you need to do it thin it out with water, then you have a standard milk for whatever you need. Have an extra case of water in the house at all times, you never know if the well may stop working, or if the town needs to do maintenance on the water pipes. And finally, having a first aid kit is very helpful in an emergency. Though the situation may be stressful at the time, it’s nice to not have to worry about having a clean wrap because you should have one in your kit.
Thanks again for reading. I have a real passion for taking care of others and I hope this will give you inspiration for what you may need, or a glimpse into the mind of someone who likes to be prepared.