Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Family Survey #3, Oil and Why Food Storage

LAWKI Day 18
September 6, 2010

Family Survey #3

Three words to describe LAWKI month:
Tired of bread; not much change; enduring, tedious, interesting; indifferent, uncaring, unchanging; horrible, evil, awful; the surveys suck.

What do you miss the most:
Nothing; nothing; milk, meat, fast food, fresh fruits/vegetables; meat, French fries, the freedom to have whatever whenever, food traditions-especially with friends; desserts.

What lessons are we learning:
We need more oil than I thought, it takes more time to cook meals without convenience foods, learned how to make tortillas; how to be more healthy; what holes are in our plans; nothing, no idea; how to survive, how to make new foods.

How crazy are we for doing this:

How angry are you to have to participate?
2.8 (our regular 10 went to a 5, but a few others upped their anger)

How much do you think this affects life?

I made more bread today and more tortillas, this time saving some for enchiladas in the next day or two. I hope that will make things go faster for dinner.

I made the Roberts BBQ Beans today to take to our Labor Day BBQ with friends. I also brought brownies and a loaf of bread and a box of Girl Scout Cookies, which I guess was enough to once again buy dinner. They spoiled us with yummy food and great company (thanks, Houses!). We talked again about the Bountiful Baskets food co-op. They showed me the ordering process, and after trying the best mango I have ever had, I think I will give it a try in 2 weeks. They also buy beef from a relative’s dairy herd in Idaho and we plan to buy with them next time.

Breakfast: toast, fruit, left-overs
Lunch: sandwiches and tortillas
Dinner: with friends

In reference to the oil in lessons learned, I am very surprised how much we are using. Making bread every 3 days or so takes 2/3 cup, pancakes and waffles take ¼ to ½ c, biscuits take 1 c, etc. If we were to use it for frying things, it could take between 2 T and 4 cups, if deep-frying. I think to be safe, I want to plan for a cup of oil every day, which is 23 gallons or 60 48oz bottles. That is a lot of oil, and far too much for a year if you are not using it at the rate we are this month. Of all of the food we store, the oil and other fats have the shortest shelf life.

This is the real quandary we face when planning a year’s worth of food: do we buy things that we will use and eat at a normal, go-to-the-store-anytime rate, or do we buy for the this-is-all-we-have-for-a-year rate? The smartest people would be the ones who can eat the same both ways, and buy accordingly, the “store what you eat and eat what you store” crowd. The path we have chosen is kind of a bridge between the two. If we over buy, and some goes bad before we will use it, then at least we bought peace of mind with the otherwise wasted money. If we buy lots of stuff, and then we discover we can’t use it or don’t like it, there are always food drives to donate it too.

We figure that our food storage serves multiple purposes:

1-It is our food insurance. If we don’t use our life insurance policy this year, (yea!—we are still alive) we don’t consider it a waste to have purchased it. If this year the health insurance company makes money from us, then we have been blessed with good health. (We have lived through a year where the cancer bills would have bankrupted us, and we figure we still have not paid more in insurance than we used in that particular year, let alone the year the triplets were born.) If we never use all of our food insurance, we have lived a blessed life. I am certain that we have never thrown out enough spoiled food from the food storage that adds up to one month’s food budget, especially these days with 4 teenagers.

2-It is our on-site food store. How wonderful it is to not run out of things on a regular basis. Now Maretta may laugh when she sees this, knowing how many times a month I am calling to borrow this and that. However, much of that is the fresh stuff, like eggs, sour cream, green onions, etc. Sometimes it is the novelty items that I thought I still had one more can of, such as coleslaw dressing or cheese wiz. I don’t think I have ever had to borrow sugar or flour or oil or salt or pasta etc. Maybe that is common with everyone, and everyone else has a greater sense of what they have and what they need than I do. Who knows? I do know that I love having my own c-store in the basement.

3- It saves us money. Being able to buy in bulk when there are sales, instead of when we run out, saves considerable amounts of money. This was very apparent during our “crazy shopping day”. The kids were thrilled to find they could get 5 packages Ramen for $1. What they don’t realize is that is expensive for Ramen, which I hope to get during the case lot sale for 10/$1. I even flinched when I had to pay $3.89 for a bag of Lays potato chips that I know sales for $1.88. Buying in bulk in season and/or on sale can save so much.

4-It could save us from a real “crazy shopping day” that might happen. Who really wants to be caught in a food riot, whether it be the grocery store right after an emergency or the relief food truck delivery weeks after? I want that time to have one less worry, when there will be a world full of worries around me.

5- It could make money stretch a whole lot further in the event of a money emergency, such as unemployment or disability or long term health issues or whatever. If all we have to buy are the fresh things, then we can make that food budget cover many more things than it does now.

6-This last one is so hard to put into word, so I am now going to use far more than necessary to explain it. Having a year’s supply of food is believing in the principles of self reliance, provident living and preparedness. It is believing that we can and should be ready for the emergencies that life brings, that we read about everyday in the news. It is about charity, knowing that not everyone in our extended family has enough, that not everyone on our street has enough, and that we may be storing food and water for more than us.

It is believing that God has inspired living prophets to teach, guide and warn us that these principals will benefit our lives and may even save them. It is the faith of the Widow of Zarephath. It is the faith that if we are prepared, we will not fear, even if we might be afraid. It is recognizing how blessed we are in our material things, in our freedoms and our peace and safety, and how little God asks for in return. It is wanting to be one of the wise of the 10 Virgins, to be included in the marriage feast.

If and when our “oil” does run out, I want to know that I gave it my best effort. Last fall as I surveyed our storage room after cleaning and restocking, I stood overwhelmed with it all. I cried silently in prayer, thanking God for His Bounteous Mercy. I remember asking Him to guide me to see the weaknesses in our preparations so that we could fix them. I begged Him to protect my family from want and need, promising to use the food and knowledge and experience I had gained for the good of our family and others. It was a very moving experience for me, as I felt the feeling of peace and calm and of the Spirit, and a confirming that my efforts would be enough, if I would be constant in it.

While I think of this at times when I am putting things away in the food room, I don’t think I have contemplated this in terms of LAWKI month before. Maybe my faith in that “confirmation” was not great enough and so I am artificially reaching for that assurance that we are prepared enough. Maybe this is the right way to find the holes in our preparation. Maybe this is my time to inspire other to be more prepared. Maybe it is all just my insanity. All I can say is that going into this month, we were excited about it, felt good about doing it, and did not think it would hurt anything. Whether or not it would do any good is still debatable.

Sorry for the rambling today, hope it wasn't too preachy. I am long winded, even in my “journal”. If you are interested, I recommend poking around www.providentliving.org for self-reliance and preparedness and food storage information. It is run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, www.lds.org or www.mormon.com.