Thursday, 9 February 2017

10:11 – It was 30.3F (-1C) when I took Colin out this morning, and the temperature has dropped since then. The winds were about 30 MPH (48 KPH) sustained, with gusts to twice that.

When Barbara and I went down to change the particulate filter for the well water the other day, we noticed a drip coming from one of the pipes that leads from the pressure tank up into the house. We called the plumber, and Herschel showed up yesterday to repair it.

While he was here, he changed the particulate filter. I mentioned that the last time we’d changed it was exactly six months ago. We hadn’t noticed any lower flow rate at the faucets, even though the filter is only rated for two months.

Herschel said everything depended on the amount of silt and grit coming out of the well, and that around here people often went a year or eighteen months between filter changes. He said we had a good, clean well. Even after six months, the old filter wasn’t used up yet, and the clear filter housing had almost no grit or sediment in it. I have a reminder in my calendar to change the filter every two months, but I think I’ll just wait until we notice a decrease in flow rate before we change it next time.

* * * * *

While we were downstairs, Barbara checked our inventory of canned cream of * soups and said we’re actually in pretty good shape on them. We have a half dozen or so 8- and 10-packs, plus a considerable number in the kitchen pantry. So I guess we’ll hold off on a Sam’s run for the time being.

The next time Barbara goes down to Winston, if she has time she can make a Costco run and pick up more canned stuff, including three or four more 8-packs of Campbell’s cream soups, a couple cases of canned green beans, and several more cases of canned tomato sauce/paste. We have a partial case of small cans of Kirkland tomato paste in stock, but that’s it. And Barbara is making a batch of sloppy joe sauce in the slow cooker today.

Walmart came through on their two-day shipping promise. I ordered 18 jars of Bertolli alfredo sauce on Sunday, and they arrived yesterday. The box was pretty badly beaten up, but as usual they’d wrapped each jar individually in that crinkly paper stuff and then bagged them in groups of half a dozen. I also have a small order arriving from Amazon.com tomorrow: a case of 24 small cans of shiitake mushrooms and one #10 each of Augason dehydrated celery and dehydrated carrots. I think I’ll repackage the Augason stuff in quart canning jars with oxygen absorbers and keep one each up in the kitchen. We’re cooking a lot more from scratch/LTS, and many of the recipes call for either or both of those items.

When we do make up a batch of cream soup according to the recipe I posted yesterday, I think my first effort will be Cream of Ground Beef soup. We can make up a quadruple or octuple batch and freeze it in pint or quart bags.

* * * * *

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

10:29 – It was 39.3F (4C) when I took Colin out this morning, but with not much wind. The snow is all gone, but we have colder temperatures and precipitation in the forecast for now through the weekend, so we may have more before the weekend. Barbara is off to the gym this morning and then volunteering at the Friends of the Library bookstore this afternoon.

If you’ve tried to order antibiotics from aquabiotics.com recently, you noticed that their site no longer lists any products. You can still order frm them, though, but you’ll have to pay with a check or money order. Their credit-card processors, originally PayPal and more lately WePay, find out that they’re shipping “prescription drugs” and refuse to continue to process payments, even though those drugs are for ornamental fish only and therefore completely legal to ship. I paid by check when I ordered last time, and they shipped what they were supposed to ship and in a timely manner. I got email Monday from Dave Folsom at aquabiotics.net.

Wepay has terminated merchant service, so we are now reduced to checks/money order payments. I have removed all items from the website, but left the site up as a point of contact. If you need anything, please use the table below, or the attached spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will allow you to enter your discount percentage(as a decimal) and calculate your total. Discounts are 5% for orders $35.00+, 10% for orders $150.00+, and 15% for all rescue/humanitarian groups on any size order. If you take the rescue discount, please give me the rescue name as our benefactor will pick up a portion of your discount.

I apologize for what has been 13 months of chaos, and in advance for what might be 100 months in the future.

The headlines yesterday said that Walmart was declaring war on Amazon, which is more than a slight exaggeration. All Walmart has done is announce that, as of yesterday morning, they are now selling many products with free 2-day shipping with a minimum order of $35. They’re very careful to point out that it’s literally 2-day shipping, as in two days’ transit time after they actually get around to shipping the order. It’s not going to arrive two days after you order it, because Walmart takes at least a day and often two or three to get the product to the shipper.

Even so, many people expect this to have a severe impact on Amazon Prime, which charges $99/year for unlimited two-day shipping. And Amazon’s actually is two-day from order to delivery at least 50% to 75% of the time.

I’ve been a member of Amazon since their very early days, and a member of Prime since soon after they started offering it. I’ve never particularly liked Amazon, starting when they patented their so-called one-click ordering. Bezos is also a big-time progressive, who now owns WaPo. He supported Obama and Clinton, and has apparently never seen a progressive cause he doesn’t support.

But the real reason I’m considering dropping my Prime membership is that their pricing is often no longer competitive. As in 50% to more than 100% more for exactly the same product I can get elsewhere. I also don’t like their pricing games. If I log on to Amazon and check a price, and then check that same product’s price in a separate browser without logging on, I often find that the logged-in price is noticeably higher than the anonymous price. Obviously, Amazon is punishing current customers because it assumes they’re willing to pay more.

I’ve already started to shift purchases away from Amazon. If they carry something at a better price than is available elsewhere, I can still get free shipping with a $50 minimum order, which is never a problem. That means the only Prime benefit is really their streaming video, but looking back over the last year we really didn’t watch much on Prime Streaming.

So I’ll talk about it with Barbara, but unless she makes a serious objection to dropping Prime, that’s what I’m going to do.

We had a decent January. Kit revenue was up 33% from January of 2016, although still 20% or so lower than an average January. Of course, we’re now into the deadest period of the year. In an average February, we might ship only three kits per week and have total revenues of only two or three grand.

Email overnight from Jen, who wants to get started home canning, and what she wants to can is bacon. She’s concerned because the instructions for doing so are all over the map. Some sites give detailed instructions, while many others say that canning bacon is dangerous. She doesn’t want to take a chance on botulism, obviously, and asked me what I thought.

The truth is that the USDA officially recommends NOT canning bacon, simply because they’ve never done the detailed testing required to determine how to do so safely. But millions of people have been home-canning bacon for a hundred years. Before pressure canning, our ancestors preserved bacon simply by layering the raw meat in barrels, pouring hot lard on top of each layer, and storing the barrel in the kitchen or on the porch. When they wanted some bacon, they’d scrape off the top, rancid layer of lard and eat the bacon beneath it, which was perfectly safe.

The worrisome aspect is our old friend Clostridium botulinum, an anaerobic bacterium that produces deadly botulinum toxin. But it’s safe to eat foods that are contaminated with C. botulinum bacteria, a very common soil bacterium, as long as they’re cooked properly. Boiling destroys both the bacteria and the toxin, although not the spores. Eating the spores is safe for anyone except infants, which is why it’s unsafe to give honey to infants: honey is always contaminated with C. botulinum spores.

I intend to pressure can bacon in the future. I’ll do so by cooking it until it’s soft and slimy, transferring those strips to a canning jar, filling the jar with a brine solution, and pressure canning the hell out of it. For canning bear, beef, lamb, pork, veal, or venison in strips, cubes, or chunks in quart jars, the USDA recommends:

Hot pack – Precook meat until rare by roasting, stewing, or browning in a small amount of fat. Add 1 teaspoons of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Fill jars with pieces and add boiling broth, meat drippings, water, or tomato juice, especially with wild game), leaving 1-inch headspace.

They recommend different pressures depending on the type of pressure gauge on your canner and your altitude, but the top numbers they recommend are 15 PSI for 90 minutes. I intend to use 15 PSI (or higher if my canner allows it) for 120 minutes, which should kill the shit out of anything in there.

* * * * *

 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

08:58 – It was 40.7F (5C) when I took Colin out this morning, with a stiff wind. The little bit of snow we got is sticking around for now, but with today’s high to be in the mid-50’s (~13C) it’ll be gone by this afternoon.

Trump is the progs’ worst nightmare. Unlike just about every politician in living memory, Trump is actually doing what he said he’d do. Imagine that. Not that I agreed with many of the actions he promised to take, but it is refreshing to see an elected leader whose actions correspond with his words. And it is nice to see him striking terror in the hearts and minds, such as they are, of prog politicians and bureaucrats. Now I see that he’s going to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, and probably the 1992 agreement upon which it’s based, not to mention going full steam ahead on the new pipelines. The squeals from the progs are deafening, but they’re music to my ears. I’m hoping his next actions will be to withdraw us from NATO, bring home our overseas forces, and expel the UN from US territory.

People keep talking about progs’ heads exploding, which is a nice image but unfortunately only a figurative one. It’d be nice to see some actual prog heads exploding, literally. A million dead progs would be, as they say, a good start.

* * * * *

 09:44 – I just got email from a woman who questioned the shelf life of repackaged flour, coincidentally the day after Barbara and I just finished repackaging 50 pounds each of sugar and white flour. Some years ago, she’d opened a #10 can of white flour they’d bought at their local LDS Home Storage Center. It was a couple years past the best-by date on the can, which means it had been packed a dozen years before. She said the flour was tanning, caked, and had an “off” odor. She tried making some pancakes with it, and said it had an off taste as well. She ended up discarding all her LDS flour that was past its best-by date.

I’d heard the same thing from several other people over the years, but the solution is simple: just sift the aged flour and leave it in a container that’s open to the air for several hours. As it’s aerated, the off odor (and taste) disappears, and it’s perfectly usable.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

11:08 – It was 25F (-4C) when I took Colin out this morning, with winds gusting to probably 30 MPH (~50 KPH). There was a light dusting of snow. The real snow is to start coming in tonight and tomorrow. We’re expecting as much as 4 inches (10 cm) over the weekend.

Barbara returned home about 3:45 yesterday afternoon. We unloaded the back of her car, which was pretty packed from the Costco run. A 50-pound bag each of flour and sugar, two 10-pound boxes of Quaker Oats, two 13.5-pound bags of baking soda, two large jars of cinnamon and one of Italian seasoning, a pint of vanilla extract, two 3-liter bottles of olive oil, and a bulk pack each of toilet paper and paper towels.

The only prepping-related things I added this week were two packs of oxygen absorbers and a case of dehydrated onions from the LDS online store. The onions are actually cheaper on-line ($48.75/case of six #10 cans) than at an LDS Home Storage Center ($54.00/case). They’re also half the price per pound that Walmart charges for Augason Farms dehydrated onions. The LDS on-line store does charge shipping, but it’s only $3.00 per order if you choose the slow-boat method.

I saw a blog comment somewhere complaining about the LDS on-line store charging shipping, which they didn’t used to do. I didn’t remember paying shipping the last time I ordered from them, so I went out and did a search. The top hit was to a discussion forum that had a Mormon complaining about now having to pay shipping on underwear orders.

There’s apparently a lot of discussion among non-Mormons about Mormon underwear, which Mormons refer to as “garments”, with lots of conspiracy theories among the anti-Mormon crowd. It’s all just stupid. Mormon garments have religious symbolism for them, just as a yarmulke does to Jews or a cross necklace to Christians. Yes, practicing adult Mormons, men and women, wear underwear. So what? I do, too, as does everyone I know. Or at least I think they do. There’s nothing to see here. Move along.

We’re in reasonably good shape on science kit stuff for this time of year, so we’ll be working on regular tasks around the house this weekend. That, and repackaging more LTS food. Some of that can wait for now. For example, the Quaker Oats that Barbara picked up at Costco have a best-by date 18 months out in their original packaging. That translates to a real shelf life of at least five years without being repackaged. We’ll eventually transfer them to PET bottles with oxygen absorbers, which gives them an extremely long shelf life, at least 10 to 20 years and probably more.

* * * * *

Friday, 23 December 2016

09:47 – Barbara is off to the gym and supermarket. I just issued a PO for 10,000 15/415 bottle caps, which should hold us for a while. I remember the first time I ordered a carton (1,440) of those caps, and thought that was a lot. Then the first time I ordered a case of 10,000, I thought I had all the caps in the world and would never run out.

We repackaged some macaroni yesterday from the original 5-pound bags into clean, dry 2-liter soft drink bottles. We got 14 bags transferred into 24 2-liter bottles. We still need to label the bottles and add an oxygen absorber to each. Then there are the other 14 bags still sitting on the kitchen counter.

Barbara commented that this was more macaroni than we’d eaten in the 33 years we’ve been married. It isn’t, really. It just looks like a lot, sitting there in one place. Once we get this last batch repackaged, we’ll be up to about 475 pounds of pasta packaged for long-term storage. That’s enough to provide the grain portion of our diet for the five of us, including Colin, for about four months. The rice, white flour, and other grains we have stored extends that to about a year’s worth. And the 24 cans of Campbell Chunky Soup that arrived the other day can turn those grain products into 24 more tasty main meals.

The special session of the North Carolina house and senate that was called to repeal HB2 has failed, so it’s still illegal for perverts to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. The progs’ attempts to redefine biology has failed yet again, at least in North Carolina. People here are smart enough to understand that, other than a tiny number of monsters, there are exactly two sexes, male (XY) and female (XX), and two sexual preferences, gay (XX+XX or XY+XY) and straight (XX+XY). XX’s who believe they’re actually XY’s and vice versa are, to use the technical term, delusional, and people here understand that. And we understand that we’re under no obligation to humor their delusions.


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

10:09 – Things are pretty quiet around here. Barbara is finishing up her Christmas decorations today, and we’ll probably bake cookies. I’d also like to try making up some peanut butter fudge.

It’s a good day to stay inside. It’s gone from cool, breezy, and dry to warm, breezy, and wet. We had more than an inch (2.5 cm) of rain overnight, with another couple of inches expected today and tomorrow. It’s just lucky that our temperatures have gone up 20F or so, or this might have been a real mess.

Barbara said yesterday that we’d had only 0.03 inches of rain from early October until now. That affects my water planning. Until now, I’d though that our rainfall was very evenly distributed throughout the year, with roughly one inch per week, usually in two or three weekly rains. Going almost two months with almost no rain means we can’t depend on rainwater capture, at least unless we have a lot more storage.

We’ve been doing a fair amount of baking-powder baking, and our only can of baking powder is almost empty. Barbara is going to pick up another can from the store today, and I just put in a Walmart order that included four cans of baking powder as well as half a dozen cans of Augason potato shreds and three pounds of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder.

We still have a 250 pounds of macaroni to repackage for LTS. It’s the Walmart house-brand macaroni, and it’s smaller than some brands. I discovered experimentally yesterday that it can in fact be funneled into 2-liter bottles. It’s basically free-flowing, which surprised me given its shape. I figured it’d logjam almost instantly in the stem of the funnel, but it didn’t. The trick is to use the cut-off top of another 2-liter bottle to make the widest possible funnel. It’s helpful to have a second person to hold the funnel and keep it aligned with the 2-liter bottle mouth, but I was actually able to do it by myself. When a jam did occur, gentle jiggling freed it easily.

Incidentally, if you order Walmart macaroni (or anything else from Walmart or Amazon particularly) be very careful about pricing. I ordered the 250 pounds of macaroni on two separate orders. The first, for 100 pounds (20 five-pound bags) was $4.48/bag. The second order, for 30 five-pound bags, was $3.17/bag. The last I checked, it was back up to $4.48/bag.


Monday, 21 November 2016

10:05 – Chilly weather continues. When I took Colin out and got the paper this morning, it was 26F (-3C) with strong gusty winds. As usual, after he peed Colin started mole hunting, pouncing when he smelled or heard something and sticking his snout down into the turf.

We don’t overlook long-term food storage for Colin. If things get bad, he’ll eat dog food until he runs out of it, and then start eating what we eat. We store his dog food in a large airtight plastic bin that keeps it good for several months, but there there are the dog biscuits, which come in a cardboard box. Barbara just opened a new box of those and transferred them to a bunch of Costco nut jars, carefully supervised by Colin the whole time.

I understand that the federal government has us at an elevated threat level under NTAS. They’ve warned that ISIS may plan widespread “lone wolf” attacks over the Thanksgiving holiday. The only specific target I’ve seen mentioned is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which may be targeted by terrorists driving trucks into crowds, but of course this could happen anywhere that crowds gather. Of course, they may also use guns and bombs per their usual.

I’m not expecting terrorist attacks to be widespread, but I’d be surprised if there weren’t at least one or two. Stay away from crowds.


Thursday, 17 November 2016

10:02 – I know it’s trivial, but I love to watch what oxygen absorbers do to containers. Yesterday afternoon, I added an oxygen absorber to each of the 21 bottles of pinto beans we’d repackaged in 2-liter soda bottles. A couple of hours later, I looked at the bottles, all of which were by then dented in, indicating both a good seal and that the oxygen absorbers were doing their jobs.

Incidentally, if you need oxygen absorbers, buy them from the LDS store. A pack of a hundred 300cc absorbers costs only $12, versus typically twice that or more from commercial resellers. In the original package, they remain good for years. If you have any left over from a pack, store them in the smallest glass jar you can find that has a metal lid. Wide-mouth canning jars work well. If you’re ever in doubt about whether oxygen absorbers are still good, just bend one between your fingers. A good one is soft and flexible; one that’s exhausted hardens and loses flexibility.

More email from Cassie, the newbie prepper I mentioned a couple days ago. They’re rural enough that their nearest Walmart Super Center is an hour’s drive one-way, and the nearest Sam’s or Costco is farther still. So she plans to stock up from Amazon and Walmart on-line for stuff she can’t get at her local supermarket, where she works as a checker. They live in her husband’s parents’ house and her husband has his own plumbing business, so their combined income is solidly middle-class and they have much lower expenses than a typical young married couple.

They’re focusing on food first. They’re on well water, but they have a year-round spring on their property, so Cassie figures they’re in good shape for water. Her husband hunts, and they have a couple of rifles and a couple of shotguns, which they figure is enough for now. They’ll add some more ammunition, first-aid supplies, and so on, but otherwise the concentration will be on food, food, food. Yesterday, Cassie came home from work with two five-pound bags of sugar, two ten-pound bags of flour, several one-pound bags of pasta, a jug of cooking oil, two boxes of iodized salt, several jars of pasta sauce, and two cases of soup. She intends to do the same thing two or three times a week until they’re stocked at a level they’re comfortable with.


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

09:03 – With zero days left until the election, we’ll just make popcorn tonight and watch the game. If the vote is counted honestly, Trump should win in a landslide. Of course, the chance of an honest count is near zero, so the supposed outcome will depend on how successful Clinton supporters are at stealing votes.

I just realized yesterday that I no longer had the means to prepare sterile culture media or agar. In Winston, we were at about 800 feet (244 meters) elevation. In Sparta, we’re at about 3,000 feet (914 meters) elevation. That’s a huge difference for sterilizing things in a pressure canner.

The pressure canner I used down in Winston is a cheap Walmart unit that tops out at 10.7 PSI. That was fine for working at 800 feet elevation, but it’s totally inadequate at our current elevation. So I just ordered a pressure canner on Amazon that will do 15+ PSI. In addition to sterilizing culture media, the 15 PSI unit can be used safely to home can meats and other low-acid foods, which the older unit cannot. We’ll just re-purpose the older unit as a large cooking pot and pressure cooker (versus canner).

I thought about ordering an All American pressure canner. They’re US-made, built like tanks, and if we were going to do a lot of canning I’d have bitten the bullet and paid the price for one of them. They cost more than three times as much as the Presto 23-quart unit I ended up ordering. This unit can process 7 quart jars or 18 pint jars at a time, and is more than sufficient for our needs. I will need to order some spare parts, like a gasket, pressure regulator, and pressure gauge. Even with all of those, the Presto unit comes in at just over $100 total.

As regular readers may remember, I’m not a big fan of home canning for general food preservation. It’s very expensive in terms of equipment, supplies, fuel, time, and effort. For veggies and other low-cost foods, it makes more sense to dry them or just to buy them in cans to start with. I mean, what’s the point to using a $0.75 canning jar and lid, along with all the work it takes, to preserve a can of vegetables that you could buy for $0.60?

One place home canning may make sense for some people is in preserving high-value foods like meats, particularly if you buy them in bulk when they’re on sale. Versus commercial canned meats like those from Keystone (via Walmart), it’s about break even cost-wise, but the real advantage to home canning meats is that you can can stuff that’s not readily available commercially. For example, white-meat chicken is readily available commercially canned, and indeed we keep a fair amount of it on-hand. But Barbara and I also like dark-meat chicken, which is very difficult to find in commercial cans. And then there’s bacon. A pint canning jar holds about a pound of meat, and a quart about two pounds. That means that with six or eight dozen wide-mouth quart jars, we can keep 150 to 200 pounds of home-canned meats on hand.

The danger with home-canning meats is botulism. The bacteria itself is destroyed by boiling, as is the toxin that bacteria produces. But the spores of that bacteria are destroyed only by extended heating at temperatures well above boiling, which is why proper canning is essential for meats. The spores themselves are not dangerous to consume, except for infants (which is why infants should never be fed honey). The danger is that in an improperly canned container of meat, those spores may germinate, producing deadly botulinus toxin. That’s why all responsible authorities always note that home-canned meats should always be cooked very thoroughly before consumption. If they are tainted by botulism toxin, cooking them thoroughly renders them safe to eat.

Our 400W off-grid solar power starter kit showed up from Amazon yesterday. Now all I need to do is get batteries to charge and an inverter large enough to drive the well pump. Before I finalize plans, I need to get a well guy out here to look at our well. I have no idea how deep the well is, how deep the pump is, or how deep the water table is. I’d like to know all of that, and perhaps get him to install a new pump. I’m assuming the one in there is quite old and probably over-sized. This well was here long before the house was built, and no one seems to know anything about it. There’s not even a plaque inside the well casing, which is a pretty good indication by itself that this well is very old.


Monday, 7 November 2016

09:02 – With one day left until the election, we’re settled in here, awaiting developments. Federal authorities have said there’s a heightened likelihood of attacks by muslim scum in Texas, Virginia, and New York today, and there have been other calls by muslim scum leaders to attack tomorrow to disrupt the election. Authorities are also on heightened alert nationwide for attacks by BLM scum, progressive scum, and other scum. Just as an aside, I noticed a possible solution yesterday when I picked up a bottle of household cleaner. Right there on the label it says, “Removes Scum”.

There’s been a lot of talk about how this election has meant the death of the MSM. No one on either side believes them any more. They’re talking to themselves and precious few other people. But this election may also mean the death of political polling organizations, whose results have been all over the map. Many people, again on both sides of the divide, no longer believe anything polling organizations have to say. They perceive, correctly in most cases, that polling is now purely politically motivated and that, rather than accurately forecasting results, the goal of polling organizations is now to provide an advantage to one or the other side. Everything is now political.

Tomorrow is not really the election, as most people think. Tomorrow is the first day of an election that’s likely to be drawn out for weeks. Whichever side “loses” tomorrow is very unlikely to concede and get on with normal business. There are likely to be an ongoing series of appeals, court cases, and possibly violence before this thing is settled. Oh, well. We’re prepared for the aftermath, come what may. We’re living in an area that’s as safe as any, where we can just sit back and watch what happens. Unfortunately, at the end of it all, whatever happens, it’s going be Meet the New Boss, The Same as the Old Boss.

There’s a lot of bad information in prepping literature about long-term food storage, both in terms of methods (no, freezing will not reliably kill insect eggs) and in terms of nutrition. Much of the advice is simply a repetition of something someone read somewhere.

With regard to LTS nutrition, many sources claim that you need to store x amount of various categories, including honey/sugars, fruits, vegetables, and so on. All of that is wrong. One can survive quite comfortably without any of those items. A human requires exactly three macro-nutrients (foods consumed in relatively large quantities) and numerous micronutrients (vitamins and minerals, elements, salt, and other things consumed in relatively small quantities).

Calories are an umbrella measure of overall nutrition. A human needs a certain number of calories per day, which varies according to that person’s basal metabolic rate–how many calories you need for basic body functions, assuming you’re just lying around and not doing any work at all–sex, weight, age, amount of work being done, environmental temperature, and many other factors. A small older woman who is not doing any heavy labor, for example, may need 1,400 calories/day, while a young man who is engaged in heavy physical labor may need 4,000 calories/day or more.

All of the three macro-nutrients contribute to caloric intake. Fat contains about 9 calories/gram, while carbohydrates and protein both contain about 4 cal/g. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences publishes a list of Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) that provides the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges by age range. That information is summarized here:

Assume that you’re calculating nutrition needs for an adult who requires 2,000 cal/day. Fats should provide 20% to 35% of those calories (400 to 700 cal/day). Since fats average 9 cal/g, you’d need about 45 g to 78 g of fats per day for that person. Carbohydrates should provide 45% to 65% of those calories (900 to 1,300 cal/day). Since carbohydrates average 4 cal/g, you’d need about 225 g to 325 g of carbohydrates per day for that person. Protein should provide 10% to 35% of those calories (200 to 700 cal/day). Since protein averages 4 cal/g, you’d need about 50 g to 175 g of protein per day for that person.

Unfortunately, you can’t go to the store and buy a container of fats, carbohydrates, or protein. Well, you can, kind of. Vegetable oil, lard, shortening, and so on are essentially 100% fats, sugar is essentially 100% carbohydrates, and eggs or meat is mostly protein. But most of what you can actually buy is a mixture of two or all three, in varying proportions. Flour, for example, is mostly carbohydrates, but has a significant amount of protein and a tiny amount of fats. Most dairy products contain large amounts of fats and lesser amounts of proteins and carbohydrates.

And the amino acid balance of proteins is also important. Because different vegetable proteins have different balances of specific essential amino acids, one can starve to death eating only grains or only beans. Eating some of each provides complete protein. That’s why our ancestors for a million years have been eating a mix of vegetable proteins, such as rice and beans or wheat and beans or corn and beans. Animal proteins are inherently balanced, so if you can store lots of meat and eggs and dairy you needn’t worry about amino acid balance.

Of course, most people don’t want to deal with all these calculations. The simple way to balance things out is to store 30 pounds of grains (flour, rice, oats, pasta, etc.) per person per month, 5 pounds of beans per person per month, and one quart/liter of lipids (oils and fats) per person per month. Add half a pound of iodized salt and 30 multivitamin tablets per person per month to take care of micronutrient (vitamin/mineral/elements) needs, and you’re set for iron rations, at a cost of maybe $30/person-month.

Of course, that diet would get very old very fast, so assuming you have money left over, you can supplement it with things like a lot of canned meats, soups, vegetables, and fruits, a good stock of herbs and spices, cans of powdered eggs and butter and TVP bouillon, cans of powdered milk, and so on. It’s important to be able to continue eating whatever the situation.