10:11 – It was 51.0F (10.5C) when I took Colin out around 0645 this morning, bright and breezy. It’s already up to 72F (22C). Barbara has a busy day today, including gym, supermarket, various errands, a doctor appointment, and a meeting. We’ll do more work on science kits today if we have time, otherwise over the weekend.
Email overnight from a woman who’s recently developed an interest in getting prepared. She’s been reading prepping websites for the last couple of weeks, and she’s utterly confused. She wants to prepare for herself and her husband, both in their early 40’s, their two high-school age sons, and her husband’s parents. She’s intimidated by the conflicting advice on various prepper sites, not to mention the cost of all of this. She wants to know what to do, specifically, to prepare herself and her family. Her goal is to be able to take care of them for three months to start with, and to do so without going into debt.
I told her that the first thing to remember is that prepping is an industry, and that all of the sites she mentions are pushing needlessly expensive gear and supplies to benefit themselves and their advertisers. In short, if a prepping site has ads or a site store, or even affiliate links, don’t trust their recommendations.
I told her her top priorities should be water, food/cooking, and sanitation (toilet paper!), along with drugs if she or any of her family were on critical prescription medications.
Water – they live on an exurban property with a pond so my first recommendation was to buy and store as many cases of bottled water as they have room for, buy one gallon of generic chlorine bleach, and buy a Sawyer PointZeroTwo water filter and a couple of 5-gallon buckets.
Food/Cooking – they have a Coleman propane campstove, so I recommended buying an adapter hose for a 20-pound propane canister and a couple canisters of propane.
As far as food, I suggested that they begin with the LDS Church recommendations and purchase the following, either from Costco/Sam’s/Walmart or from and LDS Home Storage Center:
Starches – 600 pounds of carbohydrates, any mix she prefers of white flour, pasta, egg noodles, rice, pancake/waffle mix, oatmeal, cornmeal, breakfast cereal, etc.
Beans – 100 pounds of dry beans, such as pinto, soldier, white, Lima, etc.
Sugar – 100 pounds of white granulated sugar or the equivalent of honey, pancake syrup, etc., or a mix.
Oil – 20 liters of olive oil, vegetable oil, shortening, lard, etc.
Salt – 15 pounds of iodized table salt.
Milk – 42 pounds (2 cases) of LDS non-fat dry milk.
Multivitamin tablets – Buy sufficient for each family member to have one per day. Store them in the freezer, if you’re concerned about shelf life.
That’s sufficient to feed her family for three months with adequate calories, protein, and fats, but it’s a pretty boring diet. To make all of this more palatable, I suggested she also buy, roughly in order of priority:
Herbs and Spices – Large Costco/Sam’s jars of whichever spices she and her family prefer. Buy a #10 can each of Augason meat substitute/bouillon in chicken, beef, or whichever flavors you prefer. Dried onion and garlic are both extremely flexible, so buy a lot of those unless you just don’t like them.
Sauces – you’ll be making a lot of casseroles and skillet dinners, so buy at least 90 jars of assorted sauces–spaghetti sauce, alfredo, barbecue, etc. etc. Keep at least a couple gallons of pancake syrup, which can also be used with oatmeal.
Meats – 90 28-ounce cans of Keystone Meats beef chunks, ground beef, chicken, pork, and/or turkey. This provides about 4 ounces of meat per day per person. If you prefer, substitute Spam, Vienna sausage, canned hams, etc. for all or part of the meat.
Supplemental cooking necessities – Buy several each of Augason #10 cans of egg powder, cheese powder, and butter powder.
Canned fruit/vegetables – contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need any fruits or vegetables for a balanced diet. They’re primarily useful for improving taste of bulk LTS foods. They’re cheap, so buy a bunch of regular-size or #10 cans of whichever you like. For six people for three months, you’ll probably want at least 500 small cans total or alternatively 70 or 80 #10 cans. The latter are available at Costco and particularly Sam’s Club, and are noticeably less expensive than buying the equivalent weight in smaller cans.