09:18 – Barbara filled her gas tank yesterday morning, and will fill it again if she starts to see lines at gas stations or any other indication that fuel may be hard to come by. With the spate of bombings and attempted bombings in the NYC and NJ area, it’s unclear just what’s going on. She’ll be back Thursday. Colin and I can’t wait.
I’ve always favored proportional response, so it seems to me that we should trade them bomb for bomb. Any time musloid terrorists detonate one bomb in the US, we should respond by detonating one nuke over a musloid city, starting with Mecca. Tit for tat.
Colin and I ate dinner from long-term storage again last night: ground beef Stroganoff over rice. Tonight we’ll have a chicken pasta casserole. We’re finding that it’s not all that difficult to make tasty meals from long-term food storage, but it’s important to actually make those meals during normal times rather than just stocking up on what you think you’ll need. To get started, I’ll again recommend buying a copy of Jan Jackson’s 100 Day Pantry and trying out some of the recipes. And visit websites like Jamie Cooks It Up for more recipe ideas that use LTS foods.
One item that’s often overlooked in designing an LTS food plan is keeping the protein balanced. Grains provide a significant amount of protein, but the amino acid profile of that protein is unbalanced. One can literally starve to death eating only grains, even if you’re otherwise getting plenty of protein. The problem is the essential amino acids that are absent or present only in inadequate amounts in grain protein. You can supplement that with animal proteins, which are relatively expensive, but you can also supplement it with bean/legume proteins, which have the amino acids that are lacking in grain proteins. We store what most people would consider a lot of canned animal proteins, mostly chicken and ground beef, but we also store a lot of beans. Those two can also be combined in various recipes like chili, which include meat and/or TVP for flavor and beans for the bulk of the protein. Incidentally, the amino acid profile of beans is also unbalanced, so you can’t survive on just beans. You also need the grains to balance the protein there.
Another mistake that many people make in designing their LTS food plan is basing quantities on current consumption. In a long-term emergency, your food consumption pattern will change, probably a great deal. No more restaurant meals, convenience foods, ordering take-out, pizza deliveries, snacks from vending machines, etc. And you will probably end up eating much more of some items than you do during normal times. For example, Barbara and I both like pancakes, but we don’t have them very often because it takes longer than just cooking fresh foods and it makes a mess of the kitchen. But in a long-term emergency, we’d certainly be eating more pancakes–many more–and we need to plan quantities accordingly.
For example, when Barbara looks at a 10-pound bag of Krusteaz buttermilk pancake mix, she sees enough pancake mix to last the two of us a year or more. Same thing the other day when we ran out of pancake syrup and I opened another gallon.
But in a long term emergency, things change big-time. Instead of feeding just Barbara and me, we may be feeding Frances and Al, not to mention Colin. That means we’d need maybe 2.5 times as much pancake mix and syrup as we normally use. And instead of having pancakes maybe once every three weeks, we might be having them two or three times a week. And the pancakes would make up a much higher percentage of those meals’ nutrition because we might be serving them alone instead of with bacon and eggs or whatever. That means that what looks to Barbara like a year’s supply of pancakes may actually last us only a week or two in a serious emergency. And we need to stock accordingly, if not specifically Krusteaz pancake mix, at least the flour, egg powder, oil, and other items needed to make pancakes from scratch.
10:51 – Things have turned very bad very quickly in Sparta. Lori just delivered the mail and told me that she may not be able to run her route tomorrow because she’s low on fuel and all of the gas stations in the county are out of gas. I thought USPS would have its own fueling point, but apparently not. I immediately called Barbara and let her know what was going on. Gas stations in New Jersey are still open, and the guy told her yesterday when she filled up that they didn’t expect to be impacted until late this week. She’s going to take the ferry across the bay, which will save her about four hours of driving. She thinks she can get home on the full tank. I told her to fill up at every opportunity on the way home, even if she’s down only a gallon or two and regardless of price, and that if she does run out of gas to call me and I’ll come get her. I have about 22 gallons in the Trooper, which should give me at least 350 miles of range with some reserve if I drive at optimum speed. That means that as long as she can make it to within 200 miles or so of home that I can go get her.
I thought when I originally read about the pipeline problem that things were probably worse than they were admitting, and it looks like I was right. USPS being unable to deliver could be life-threatening for folks who get critical medications by mail. I just hope the supply situation is remedied soon. Once Barbara gets home, we can hunker down and await developments, but a lot of people are going to be seriously inconvenienced by this. If it goes on a few more days, a lot of businesses will have problems because key people can’t get to work. I hope that transportation will be okay for now with what diesel stocks they have or can obtain, but I’d guess that in a week or ten days transportation might start winding down. Let’s hope the pipeline is fixed before that.