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Organizing Kitchens, Pantries, Menus and Meals.
Get Organized Today for an Emergency Tomorrow
Don’t put off
stocking up on food, water and supplies.
Cowering on the
floor of my basement level guest room, I knew it was a sure sign
that the tornado was near when, with a whoosh, the ceiling tiles
all sucked up to the floor above. My ears popped just before they
clattered back down, all off kilter, looking like building blocks
kicked by a toddler.
Once the hail,
howling winds, and driving rain passed, we ventured out to find our
home still in tact. Like everyone in our town, we had suffered
damages but fortunately our home stood in tact. Electricity was
down. Communication was sketchy.
A few days later,
I was the newspaper writer on the scene of the Red Cross kitchen. I
followed along as their truck weaved between trees and debris to try
to get food to people. I learned first hand what it means to have
emergency food and water supplies in your home.
At the point that
you are cowering on the floor of your home, piling sandbags against
the doors, nailing plywood over your windows or waking up to three
solid inches of ice and no sign of thaw, it is too late to take
stock of your pantry.
I moved from
tornado alley and today I live in a hurricane zone which took a
major hit in 2004. Yes, we have tornados here too. Other parts of
the country worry about earthquakes, flash flooding, fast moving
fires, winter ice storms or being trapped by deep snows. Indeed,
everyone is susceptible to a power outage.
What have you
done in your pantry to prepare for an emergency? You can’t wait
until you are in an emergency mode to think about what your family
might need. Don’t think that planning to evacuate in the event of
crisis means that you won’t need food. You may find in an emergency
that the roads are clogged or blocked. Or you may find that the
disaster is wide spread. Grocery stores can indeed be shut down, as
the people of New Orleans will tell you.
Today’s calm is
the perfect time to address emergency food preparations. Any time is
a good time to get your supplies together. If you live in a
hurricane prone area, you are entering peak hurricane season and
need to take action. Here are some suggestions for getting you
States NOAA (the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration)
suggests we have at least one (1) gallon of water per person for 3 to
7 days and enough food to last for the same period of time.
shopping list for food and water.
an emergency, you’ll be under a lot of stress and good nutrition
is important. Make sure to make a well-rounded list of fruits,
vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates and beverages.
needs of babies, the elderly or anyone with special dietary
concerns or allergies in your family.
plates, cups and plastic utensils to your list. Water for
dishwashing will be in short supply. You’ll also want paper
towels, plastic wrap, plastic bags, foil and fuel, such as
sterno, charcoal or propane.
list scary to your budget? Work on shopping gradually. Add a few
items from your emergency supply list to each week’s grocery
shopping until you’ve finished the list.
food separately from your regular food. Otherwise, when the
emergency arises, you may find the food you thought you had on
hand has been eaten. I’ve tied mine up in grocery sacks and
stacked them in a laundry room adjacent to the kitchen. I can
use them here or, if I need to evacuate, they are already bagged
and packed for me to quickly grab.
Write a note
to yourself on your calendar for six months from now. At that
time, check the expiration dates on your food and your water
bottles. Replace as needed. Note it again on your calendar for
six months into the future. Get in a habit of continuing this
that will expire in the next six months from the emergency
supplies and place them in the front of your pantry to be used
soon. This way you won’t waste any food or your funds.
For those in
hurricane areas: December first, remove your food that will
expire in the next six months. Create a shopping list of the
items you must replace. Tape it to your emergency supplies. In
June, you can easily restock for the new hurricane season by
grabbing the list you created.
budget? Stock up on emergency foods a bit at a time by
adding a few to each grocery list.
Peanut Butter and Jelly or Honey -
I choose crackers because bread has a short shelf life.
If you need caffeine daily, you can bet you’ll doubly need it in a
crisis. I like the individual packets of instant. Easy to store and
you can use just one at a time. Don’t forget powdered creamer and
packets of sweetener.
These vacuum packages of rice require neither refrigeration nor
water to prepare. You can make a whole meal by opening the package
and stirring in some canned chicken, tuna or vegetables.
Unlike pasta or rice, this grain only needs one cup of water to
prepare. It doesn’t even require a cooking time. Simply pour your
cup of water over it, cover and let it sit five minutes. It saves on
fuel and water.
Canned meats or meats in a pouch can be eaten with the rice,
couscous or on crackers.
Small single-serving containers or cans are great as you won’t have
refrigeration for leftovers.
Replacement Bars -
While you normally think of these as “diet bars,” these bars are a
great product in an emergency kit. They have the nutrition and
calories of a full meal but have a long shelf life and take up
Juice Boxes -
The kiddies’ staple of lunch boxes is a great way to get individual
servings of juice that don’t need refrigeration. Make sure to check
your juice content on the side label as you don’t want to end up
with sugar water.
Canned Soup -
Don’t chose condensed soups, the kind that requires you to add
water. Stock some cans of soup that are ready-to-eat. Even if you
don’t heat them, they can be open and eaten as is.
Powdered Milk -
If milk is important to you, then buy a box of powdered milk. You
can mix up just a glass at a time.
Mac and Cheese -
For variety, you can an add macaroni and cheese kit to your supplies.
Choose the type that comes with a packet of ready-to-use cheese
sauce rather than the powdered type that calls for milk and butter.
Individual cups or packages of ready-to-eat meals such as spaghetti,
ravioli and chicken and dumplings are easy to use.
Cereal Bars -
Traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs or cold milk with cereal
won’t be available. Granola or cereal bars and canned fruit can get
you through the morning hours.
Cans or jars of peanuts, almonds or mixed nuts offer high snacking
nutrition without taking up much space.