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We’ve talked about cooking before, but the focus was more on having several alternate means of cooking available to you in an emergency. Today, thanks to some excellent comments from you, the readers, we are going to leave the comfortable space of preparedness for the less comfortable topic of survival, and cooking for same.
As we make that transition, however, a couple of things to keep in mind. If you have stayed focused not on the near infinite number of possible disasters large and small, but concentrated on the three basic types of damage, you are as set as possible for disasters large and small. You have the ability to survive the minor, and even some major short-term, disasters with style and comfort.
As part of your food preparations, just as we need essential proteins, the body also needs a few essential fats that can’t be produced in the body and come from food. It’s a good topic to research, and the good news is that you can get them via fish oil capsules, fish oils (cod liver oil was used for a reason back when), certain fish, and nuts and vegetable oils. Me, I already take the capsules and hope to stock up more here soon. Having multiple sources of same via food and supplements is a good idea.
Before I forget, if I haven’t said this before, look at having ghee, olive oil, and lard on hand. Ghee is shelf-stable until opened, and can survive a while without refrigeration at need. Olive oil is very good for you, can even be used in lamps in an emergency (yes, smokey, but…), and again does not require refrigeration. Same for lard. All have fats and more needed by the body.
Now, most disasters are temporary. That is, the damage from them to people, places, and things can be healed, repaired or replaced over time. Just look at Ian, where despite a huge amount of damage (and, yes, it will potentially take years to fix it all), major infrastructure such as bridges, roads, power, and even water were back for almost everyone in less than a month. I can’t tell you how absolutely amazing that is, and it is tribute to the county disaster preparedness offices, the utilities, and others involved.
Out of that infinity-minus-2 list of potential disasters, most qualify as temporary for degrees of temporary. You are looking at hours, maybe days, and at worst a few weeks of major disruption to power, water, and such. Again, preparedness always pays, and proper preparedness can see you and yours ride things out if not in comfort, at least avoiding major discomfort.
There are a few things, however, that are not going to be temporary. A “zombie apocalypse” or other biological emergency is one such. An asteroid of any good size striking the earth, even if not an ELE (Extinction Level Event), is not going to be temporary. A series of volcanic eruptions (never mind a supervolcano) can potentially have years of effect. Idiots disrupting fuel and fertilizer are likely to create some long-term issues. A nuclear exchange/war will cause effects that will take years from which to recover.
Another quick aside: radiation and fallout from any event, be it a bomb or someone forcing a nuclear plant into meltdown, is going to be a bear, at least initially. Fact is, the worst of fallout is likely to die down in about three weeks given the short half-lives of some of the fallout, plus the majority will be out of the air by then. That’s why the feds recommend being able to hunker down safely for three weeks. Even bomb sites will “cool” over the years, and the Trinity site is open to tourists twice a year. Radiation is dangerous, make no mistake, but preparedness pays.
The thing is, those long-term events do require a different mindset. You are going to need to think long-term on things like light, power, cooking/and heating systems, and on food. What you have is likely to have to last you a while. That’s one reason I recommend for any major disaster going to short rations while you evaluate things. For the serious ones mentioned above, it isn’t just a good idea, it’s essential for the long-term survival of you and yours.
To that end, I highly recommend stock pots and cookware, such as cast iron, that can take multiple means of cooking. Most of my cookware, for example, can take gas, electric, or wood. I do use cast iron for certain types of cooking (one reason I really want to get moved is to be able to get to all my cookware). Yes, you really can bake in a Dutch Oven. You can even make an oven out of aluminum foil at need that works surprisingly well with a good fire.
Why large pots? Soups and stews. It is an easy way to get filling nutritious meals and fluids in one go. You can also add things to them and keep them going quite a while safely and effectively. There is a good bit written on this topic, and it can be quite fun (and tasty) to read and explore. You can go from Old World goulash to Cowboy Cuisine with ease. There is a reason soups and stews are pretty much a universal cuisine.
Also, before I forget: when stocking up, you may want to look at getting soups and such that are NOT condensed. Anything that needs you to add water is something where you should consider moderation. In any long-term disaster, water is likely to be the thing in shortest supply. Get your water systems now. Oh, and yes I said get one for each person no matter the age. You should also look at having a system in each vehicle, along with collapsable jugs for getting water.
Knew a couple years ago who had a hose blow out on a rural stretch of interstate. By the time a trooper saw them and got back to check on them, they had done a temporary patch on the hose, refilled the radiator with water from a nearby stream using a collapsable jug, and were getting ready to head to the nearest exit with either a garage or parts store. Preparedness always pays.
So, make sure you have cookware that can take pretty much any means of cooking, and go subject yourself to the horrible hardship (cough, choke, wheeze) of survival cooking that is learning how to make soups and stews. Plan ahead and you might be surprised how long you can make your supplies last in a non-temporary situation.
Preparedness On The Fly Series
Preparedness On The Fly (Food)
Preparedness On The Fly: Water
Preparedness On The Fly: Light
Preparedness On The Fly: Cooking
Preparedness On The Fly: Gear
Preparedness On The Fly: Protection
Preparedness On The Fly: General Thoughts
Preparedness On The Fly II: Complete Nutrition I
Preparedness On The Fly II: Complete Nutrition II
Preparedness On The Fly II: Health
Preparedness On The Fly II: Quick Thoughts
Buying Your First Weapon
Start Of All Posts On Preparedness
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