Well, the weather people predicted a blizzard for us. Some areas they did get a real blizzard, others got blizzard like conditions. We got what I would call a winter storm. Lots of wind, strong cold nasty wind, and some snow. So there was cold and drifts of snow. But, it did get me thinking about being prepared.
It seems, somehow, that I'm finding my way more and more often to blogs that have a lot of "emergency preparedness" themes to them. I mean, I start out looking at a recipe or craft idea, and find myself reading of home made necessities and how to cook without electricity or with freeze dried foods.
Now, whether the trend is because of popular shows like "The Walking Dead" (which I'm a fan of, btw) and interest in zombies and a zombie apocalypse, or fears of the economy falling apart, or news reports of seemingly increasing in both frequency and intensity of natural weather disasters and wild fires, I don't think it is such a bad thing. I mean, some of the recipes are neat, and can be made with fresh ingredients. And there is nothing wrong with being prepared. Which brings me back to my first paragraph :)
I did do the common sense thing. I made sure we had food in the house, the dogs and cats had food, and the vehicle was gassed up. Then, I settled in for a good night's sleep. Today, sure, there is a lot of shovelling to do. And it is nasty cold out (a good day to do some baking!). But, back to the whole preparedness thing.
It seems there are some knee jerk reactions and panic to the ideas. Some people are ready to build themselves bomb shelters, or bunkers, to protect themselves and their family from the looting that is "sure to happen." Sadly, in an emergency, this does happen. There are those who take advantage of a situation. But I would like to think there are far more people who will be willing and able to help their friends and neighbours, and even strangers, should there be a major disaster. In fact, this has been the case in recent years, with the floods and fires and tornadoes and such.
For me, I've lived through blizzards, and floods (though I admit, I didn't suffer the devastation that some have, but there are spin-off effects, too), and power outages. So far, I've been fairly lucky. But I also have been fairly calm about these things. I do what I can to avoid a panic reaction. Panic tends to mean, confusion and unclear thinking and decision making.
How prepared am I? Probably not as much as I should be. I think I could survive short term on what I have to hand right now. I keep lots of food around, but it is dependent on electricity for refrigeration Heck, I don't think I even own a manual can opener at the moment!! Sure, I have some canned goods, and some dry foods (flour, sugar, etc.) I wouldn't starve. But, I don't have a stock of fresh water handy. I do have flashlights and radios.
(Ok, I need to take a second to apologize - I keep getting my train of thought derailed by distractions such as dogs, cats, and a husband!!)
What I wanted to talk more about, though, was the food angle. One of the things about trying to be prepared, is to be organized, and to freshen the stock. I mentioned today would have been a great day for baking - well, my recipes and cookbooks are a bit disorganized at the moment, and I can't find the recipes I want to use! I've been trying to find them for a few weeks... Also, when people stock up on some things, even though many are prepared for long term storage, they really don't last forever. A date on a can or package is a "best before" date - often the item inside will still be edible, but may not look or taste as good as when it is fresher, and more importantly, the insides are only as good as the way the container is stored. I've recently had to throw out what would have otherwise been perfectly good food, well before the date, due to an unnoticed plumbing leak...
So, besides the rotation and care of the stored stock, one doesn't necessarily have to limit themselves to only using emergency supplies for emergencies!! I've recently been introduced to a product that I first heard of in blogs, and now have tried.
One of the blogs I follow, the person writing it has really got the emergency prep thing down pat. I mean, her blog is amazing!! Recipes, products, how-to... Anyway, that was where I first heard of a product called "TVP", specifically, Taco TVP. Now, I'm not a vegan. Nor a vegetarian. However, I don't mind eating some non-meat dishes. I've never developed a taste for some of the vegan "fake meat" items (there are some pretty gross tasting veggie burgers out there, in my opinion), but I don't mind eating tofu once in a while. Well, I looked at the pictures of some of the things she created with this Taco TVP (btw, for those who haven't come across it before, the TVP is Textured Vegetable Protein). I figured I could just as easily substitute real taco seasoned ground meat in the recipes. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention - the taco "fake meat" is also freeze dried. Which probably meant, that I couldn't use that product anyway...
Well, it seems I can get it. I'm not sure exactly how long for, but I was in the fall invited to check out this new product/home party sales thing - Thrive, or Shelf Reliance - freeze dried food products with long shelf life...
I figured I'd try the Taco TVP. It is actually quite good!! Not only does this freeze dry food keep well, it is super easy to use, and tastes good. And it saves money.... So, the first thing I tried, as I said, was the taco TVP. I also got a can of mushrooms. These are great, if you decide at the last minute you want to throw some mushrooms in a dish - not worrying about finding fresh mushrooms at the store, having to do all the cutting and cleaning, nor hoping you have a can of mushrooms in the cupboard... Now, in all fairness, they have a reconstituted texture a bit more like canned than fresh, but if you are cooking with them anyway, it sure saves a lot of work!! And a trip to the store for the freshest possible... And finally, the other item I bought, (but only just got delivered this past week so I haven't had chance to try it) is freeze dried sour cream. Now, when I was introduced to the product, a sample of reconstituted butter was provided for testing. It tasted so good, so creamy, so real.... So, I do have high hopes (and expectations) for the sour cream. Cost wise - the amount in the can, the amount it will make, is probably the same as if I bought the name brand sour cream from the store. (I normally would buy the no-name/generic kind). BUT - whenever we need sour cream, I find that I must buy a pre-selected quantity, that is often more than my husband and I need... and I end up throwing an awful lot of green-fuzzy sour cream out. So in the long run, it is cheaper to buy this way.
I'm going to hostess a party for this stuff, probably in the first week or so of February... comment and let me know if you want an invite... :)
And, no, this post isn't a big commercial or infomercial, nor am I getting anything special for talking about the product (other than, if I do have a party, there are hostess benefits) But, it really is a part of that whole, being prepared food-wise should there be any need!! And, this first major storm of the winter is a good reminder for me, that while I may not need to worry about floods or hurricanes, we do have our fair share of natural disasters that it never hurts to be prepared to deal with...