Crisis Shopping Redux: What To Buy On the Last Stock Up Before the End of the World

Sharon January 8th, 2009

Note: This is a slightly revised version of a piece I ran last fall, and it may be familiar to many of you.  But I get so many requests for this information that I thought I’d run it again, and I’ve revised it somewhat, in part based on the kind comments of many of my readers. 

Now when I first ran this, a number of readers wondered whether I was obliquely saying that “Zombies are coming!  Run!” and suggesting that people go and do this.  I wasn’t then, and I’m not. In fact, I think that this is the wrong way to go about food storage.  But the reality is that some folks aren’t going to do anything until the last minute, or can only afford to do this when the check comes in, etc…  So I think it is useful to have some kind of a plan for doing so.

Again, my claim is not “something bad is about to happen.”  Nor is it that I recommend people go out to BJs and clean out the place – in fact, I’d rather most of us didn’t, because the dollars we spend there just prop up the industrial food system.  I don’t think most of us, ideally speaking, would eat this way either – the white grains, for example, really aren’t that good for you.  Better would be a gradual stock up, with lots of whole grains and a way to grind them.  But some people aren’t there yet – they can only do this when they know the last severence check is coming or when they are expecting the major storm.  So here’s how to go about it, if you must.

Several readers have asked me to do a piece on what to do if you have been procrastinating about food storage, but plan to stock up before the end of the world (I’ve heard that Paulson and Bernanke have scheduled that for this weekend, but it could potentially be moved due to a conflict with some other disaster ;-) .)  So for all you procrastinators out there, here are my suggestions.

 Now let’s note – my first suggestion is not to procrastinate.  Because unless you are fairly well off, procrastinating and buying a lot of food probably means putting it on your credit card and paying it off. Not only is this extremely risky (I would not bet on any version of the apocalypse that doesn’t actually involve real zombies to get you off the hook with your credit card – and I’m pretty sure that they have zombie collection agents already, so maybe not even then.), it means that you will pay interest on the food, thus mitigating much of the benefit of even having it.  But I do also know that sometimes one gets a big check, bonus, windfall, sells something or maybe the food is worth the price.  So let’s assume that you all know better, and are doing it anyway.

Let us also assume that you are doing this shortly before everyone else starts their panic buying or shortly after (which makes it harder and makes the selection of stores more crucial), and that one or two stop shopping is the name of the game – you need to get as much that is useful as possible, as quickly as possible, perhaps not using much gas.  So let’s start with where to shop.

 My top few choices, in no particular order:

1. BJs/Sams Club/Costco: This is probably the most accessible (ie, lots of people have these reasonably nearby) and has most of the things you’ll really want.  The downside is that often the bulk prices aren’t really very much or at all cheaper than smaller sizes, that the warehouses are huge and shopping there annoying and that they probably won’t have anything ethnic, or a large selection of nutritious things.   Also will probably be mobbed if there’s a real or perceived immanent crisis.  My tip for shopping here: if there isn’t an immanent apocalypse, you can probably get a free 1 shot membership to do a stockup even if you can’t/don’t want to pay the fee – they usually offer trials, and if you say you’d like to check it out, this can often be arranged.

 2. An Asian grocery store of some sort.  Best grain source for rice and often some kinds of noodles in quantity and quality, often have large quanties of spices and useful flavorings quite cheaply.  The downside is that unless you cook asian food you will be confronted by many unfamiliar items, and you may find yourself with all the ingredients for Nasi Goreng, or Palak Paneer and no recipes, or idea whether you like it ;-) .  Also, not common in areas without large Asian or Indian subcontinental populations, so it might not be available.  Tip for shopping here: go when it is quiet (weekends are tough) and ask for help – there’s usually someone who can help you figure out what you are buying.

3. A feed store.  If a panic has already begun, this might actually be your best bet for getting large quantities of edible grains and pet food (plus livestock feed if you’ve got this).  If you buy organic, whole feed grains, they should be adequate for human eating – and they come in 50lb quantities.  Pick up your emergency supply of dog or cat food, some seeds for spring, and cracked corn and whole oats for you (and your horses).  The downside: feed grains may not be especially tasty, organic feed is pricey, feed mixes may have things you don’t want, unless you live in a reasonably rural area, there probably won’t be one.  Tip for shopping here: human consumption grains would be a better choice – save this option for food for yourself for a true crisis.

 4. A coop or bulk food store.  Coops are great because they tend to be run by good people and have reasonable prices. Privately owned bulk food stores also have good stuff – the thing is, most of these won’t have large quantities of staples in large bags – you’ll have to empty out the bins or place an order in advance.  Still, not a bad place to get unusual ingredients, seasonings, yeasts, salt, nutritional supplements and meet special dietary needs.  Tip for shopping here – you might ask if they have any bulk grains they can sell in larger quantities lying around – instead of asking for “50lbs of wheat” you might come at it the other way, asking what they’ve got a lot of.

5. Odd lots store/dollar stores: These are unlikely to have large quantities of things, but if you’ve got a big enough vehicle, you might be able to buy a pallet load of weird cereal by a a manufacturer you’ve never heard of for $1 box.  These are good places to get canned goods and to pick up bug out bag foods that are light, nutritionally dense and portable.  Soap and shampoo are often cheap here as well, and you may be able to get a few needed household goods, a couple of extra flashlights and whatever.  Tips for shopping here: if you see something you want, snag it then – inventory changes fast.

6. Supermarkets – this is the classic crisis food shopping space, and the one that tends to get ripped into pieces until all that is left is Preparation H.  These are to be avoided if you can avoid them during an actual crisis.  If not, get there as early as you can, avoid the bottled water aisle (store some water in empty bottles instead and save your money for food).  If you must hit one of these, choose one with a health food section and bulk bins, and ideally, a supercenter sort of thing, where you can also pick up anything else you need.  Tip: Even if the crisis is likely to be long term, most people see supermarkets as a place to get short term needs met – so you are likely to find that staple foods and things like vitamins sell worse than boxed chocolate chip cookies.  This is good, since you want more staples than cookies.

7. Drugstores, hardware stores, etc…:  I’ve included these because you may have to stop at one – you may need a refill of your medication, to fix up the family first aid kit, or to buy flashlights.  If you do need to stop, and are doing them in a rush, take a couple of minutes and think about other needs you might meet in such a place – drugstores may have some food and cheap spices, hardware stores may have other useful things at reasonable prices, like seeds.  I’m not saying you should buy everything in sight, just working under the assumption that you may be able to make a limited number of stops.  Generally speaking, though, if you can, you might want to consolidate trips the other way, and get your meds at a place that also primarily sells food.

8. A farmstand or local farm – for those in warmer climates, you may be able to get a whole lot of produce that can be rapidly preserved (make sure you know how to use that pressure canner before you bring home two bushels of zucchini!), or better yet, food that can be stored in a cool place by root cellaring.  You want stuff like potatoes, onions, hard shelled squash, beets, turnips, etc…  You will still need some legumes to balance the protein in this case.

Ok, now what to get.  This assumes you mostly eat a regular American style diet (which ideally you don’t), that we shouldn’t push you too hard, and that you will be shopping at the above sorts of stores.  That is, if you normally eat a lot of dal or mung bean noodles, please do add them to your plan.  This is meant to cover mainstream ground – it is not meant to imply optimalization.

Here’s what I’d concentrate on.  I am not including quantities here, because I don’t know how much you can afford, how big your household is, etc…  What you should do is get as much as you can afford/haul and *manage* without spoilage.  That means, get only what you can find a safe, bug and rodent proof spot for.

I’m also assuming that you don’t have a lot of fancy equipment – ie, I think life would be better for you if you had a grain grinder, but I’m going to assume no.

1. Vitamins.  Get enough for everyone in the household.  Regular, generic mulivites are fine, and any special supplement you take (although if these are optional luxuries and money is tight, forego the vitamin E capsules for more food instead).  Yes, it is better to get your nutrients from food, but this is important.  Also make sure you pick up children’s or prenatal vitamins if anyone in your household has a special need for these.  You might also want to pick up a couple of bottles of vitamin C tablets.

2. Rice – as much brown rice as you can eat (and remember, you may be eating a lot more of it than you have been) in 3 months, plus as much white rice as you can.  Why rice?  It is widely available – even supermarkets sell it in 10 or 20lb bags in many cases.  It is comparatively cheap, it is hypo-allergenic (ie, nearly everyone can eat it including infants and the ill), and it is familiar to people in just about every culture in the world.  Brown rice is dramatically more nutritious, but it is also prone to spoilage – maximum storage is about 1 year, and it often goes rancid before that.  A not-insignificant percentage of the population can’t taste rancidity in grains at all, so won’t know if the rice is still good to eat.  So it is safest to get a short time supply of brown rice, and then mostly use white rice (supplemented with more nutritous grains). 

2. Flour – get as much whole wheat flour as you can use in 6 months, and then get unbleached white flour.  Again, you’ll be using the less nutritious form of the grain, but at least you’ll  have food.

 3. Rolled or steel cut oats.  Get as many packages as you can.  These are fairly nutritious and will help balance out some of the white stuff in your diet.  This is breakfast. 

4. Legumes: These include beans, split peas, lentils, cowpeas, pigeon peas, etc…  Buy 1/3 of the weight of your combined grains (flour, oats and rice) in dry form.  Check out the ethnic foods section for large quantities.  These will provide protein, fiber and a host of other goodies.  Don’t be afraid to try unfamiliar things here – they have a fairly wide taste range, but if you can eat one, you can eat another.

5. Something that sprouts.  If you get stuck eating off your stored food in the winter or a summer dry season, when not much is going on, sprouts can save you.  Ideally, you’d have a variety, from broccoli to onion to mung bean…  In reality,  you may not have much of a choice.  But a lot of things in the bulk bins at whole foods or your health store, or available other places will sprout.  They include whole wheat, alfalfa sprouts (just make sure you aren’t getting seed that is treated, and only use organic), untreated sunflower seeds, and a host of designated sprouting seeds. Nutrionally, if I had a choice I’d get broccoli, alfalfa and sunflower, as well as wheat, but you’ll be fine with just one.

5. Some other protein food – unless you are quite odd, you probably will not enjoy rice and beans for dinner, bread and beans for lunch and oatmeal for breakfast every day.  You will be fine eating this – maybe even healthier, but you would be happier if you had something with a bit more fat, flavor and protein density, particularly if you are shifting from an average American diet.  You do not need a lot of this – you might prefer a lot, but it

Best choices:

1. Whole nuts, flaxseeds or sunflower seeds in the shell

2. Peanut butter.  Not the natural stuff – you want it shelf stable and in large quantities.

3. Canned fish – don’t overdo this if you have kids, are pregnant or nursing.  But canned fish does have important nutrients, is tasty and makes people happy.  Canned wild salmon is lowest in mercury, but can have high levels of PCBs.  Don’t forget sardines, mackerel and other unusual fishes.  Don’t go crazy also because it isn’t good for what’s left of the oceans, but occasional fish is good.

4. Shelf stable tofu, dried tofu sticks (asian groceries) or other stable soy protein. 

5. Canned meat – I’m not a big fan of this, generally speaking, because unless you have a ton of money, canned meat is always from horrible sources, often troublesome in environmental ways, and doesn’t taste good.  But others love their spam, and I won’t try and turn you away from it.  Again, though, you don’t need that much – think occasional treat, and enjoy the flavoring and fat.

 6. Fat: Olive oil in metal tins keeps several years if kept cool – that’s what I’d get of the choices available, with a bit of coconut oil to provide a tasty, shelf stable fat for piecrusts and “butter.”   If you have to go cheap, get what you can afford that’s not too awful. 

7. Dried fruit – if you are at a Sam’s Club type-place, you can buy big sealed bags of dried raisins or cranberries or something.  Otherwise, you can take what’s available at the dollar stores or go hunting in the bulk bins.  You want this for nutritional reasons, and so that you don’t get so constipated you can’t breathe.  Also good for kids, to help them transition, or picky adults who are kind of like kids.

8. Powdered milk, soy, or rice milk.  This is for calcium, protein to enable you to bake, to add creaminess to things, etc….  It will never taste like real milk, but you can live with it.  It lasts a long time, and you can use it baking if nothing happens, so you might as well get as much as you can. 

9. Salt – get a bunch, iodized for eating (you only need a little of this – and if you don’t want to store iodized salt or want something better, you can also buy dulse or kelp supplements to meet this need, but the easiest, most stable source is iodized salt) and uniodized for preserving, livestock if you’ve got it, brushing teeth, etc…   This is cheap, and necessary to life.

10. Sweeteners – unless you have weaned yourself off of this entirely, you will want these.  Sugar is probably cheapest, a lot of bulk honey is watered down or sugar syruped up.  But you can use maple syrup, sugar, sorghum or whatever is most easily available.  You may also need to stretch it – so work on reducing sugar now.  We don’t need anywhere near as much as we eat.

11. Canned vitamin rich vegetables.  Get a couple of flats each of pumpkin/squash/sweet potatoes, and some kind of canned green (mustard or turnip greens hold together better than spinach).  If you are used to eating fresh, these will not taste as good as fresh – but can be mixed into things in the background to add nutrition.  Make sure that you use the liquid from the greens as well.  Some canned fruit is nice too, if you have room/can afford it.  Canned pineapple is, to my mind, the best tasting commercially canned fruit.

Alternately (and better), you might be able to hit a farmstand and get sweet potatoes, cabbage and turnips, which would be much better for you, tastier and local, but the assumption of this discussion is that you aren’t doing that.  Still, if there’s anyway to buy fresh food that can be root cellared, you’ll be a lot happier than relying on canned veggies.

12. Something(s) to flavor water/powdered milk.  This depends on your preference, but if you are using non-traditional water sources, or drinking powdered milk for the first time, making it taste better will be worth a lot.  Plus, if you are a tea or coffee person, you will be sad without them.  So get vacuum packed cans of coffee, or lots of tea, cocoa.  And if you have kids, or vitamin C worries, or the water tastes horrible, you might want to get some Tang or HiC powdered drink mix.  The stuff is icky, but will add some sweetness, and also some nutrition, while covering the taste of bad water. 

13. This is controversial, but you might want some alcohol.  There are a couple of reasons.  First, if things are bad enough and you have no major responsibilities, you might want to get drunk.  Second, and more practically, a small amount of alcohol in your water will kill many bacteria, and is safer than inadequately filtered water.  Oh, and you can probably use it like money to get other things.

14.  Lots of seasonings.  Varying your meals is key.  Buy lots of spices, and you may also want ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, chili-garlic paste, fermented black beans, chutney, worcestershire…whatever. Depending on what you can afford and where you are, don’t forget this. 

15. Get some treats.  You will need them.  So put some smoked oysters, a few bags of chocolate chips, some beef jerky, peanut brittle – whatever you or your family crave.  I’d also suggest some kind of small candy that stores fairly well (we use those tiny dum-dum lollipops which come in bags of a zillion) to be doled out as rewards for children who are eating their new diet reasonably graciously and responding to their new reality - they are small and sweet and ease transitions.  Adults might need other bribes.  Also, don’t forget the ingredients for your special Easter bread, matza balls, or whatever other special occasions your family will still want to remember.

16. Some things that are dense and require minimal cooking in case you have to evacuate or if you are under stress - some ramen, some dried fruit, energy bars, instant bean soups, canned soup, etc…

17: Infant formula: Buy this if you have a pregnant woman, a woman who might get pregnant, a baby, or close family or friends who may come your way with a baby or the immanent prospect of one.  I assume all of us hope and plan to breastfeed, but unless you have multiple lactating (or recently lactating women – within a couple of years, most women can restart nursing) women or a lactating goat in your household, store some formula, just in case Mom can’t nurse or G-d forbid, something happens to Mom.

18. Yeast, baking soda, baking powder, vinegar.  You’ll miss ‘em if you don’t have them.

19. Pet food.  Canned keeps longer, dry is cheaper and easier to store.  Dogs food can be stretched with table scraps, cats not as much.

 20. Basic OTC medicines and first aid stuff – at a minimum triple antibiotic ointment, baby asprin (not for kids, for people’s hearts), tylenol or advil (for adults and kids if needed), bandaids, gauze pads, sanitary pads (not so much for menstruation  – I’m assuming you have a reusable solution for that already, but because they make great emergency sterile bandages), benadryl, bandage tape, rehydration fluid (like pedialyte) and an anti-diarrheal.  I’d also recommend a basic list of herbal medicines including garlic (natural antibiotic), ginger (for nausea), powdered slippery elm bark (most very nauseated people will be able to keep this down when very sick), aloe lotion for burns, etc…. but again, the best time to figure this out is when you have time to think it through.  If the store’s medicine aisle has a first aid book or booklet, buy it – it would be better to plan ahead, but this is at least something. 

Non-food items to buy:

Then add some extra batteries (if you aren’t already stocked), gas for the car and the can, a way to cook without power (sterno, camp stove, woodstove, more propane for the grill), and a way of purifying water – if you don’t have a good filter system that works without power now, the best strategy will be to buy dry calcium hypoclorite – that is, swimming pool bleach.  It is very cheap, and can be added to water to make bleach that will kill most bacteria.  Carbon filters like Brita don’t do much, but will remove some chemicals.  So the combination should make your water liveable.  You should be able to get both at a Walmart, hardware store or Sam’s club.  Also, if you don’t have a good manual can opener, pick up a couple.  Matches are also important, and you should make sure you have good flashlights, and some candles or oil lamps – and a fire extinguisher (use carefully!).

Ok, you are now zombie ready!

 Sharon

19 Responses to “Crisis Shopping Redux: What To Buy On the Last Stock Up Before the End of the World”

  1. robinon 08 Jan 2009 at 11:29 am

    I know that rancid oil, including that in brown rice is bad for us, but will fish canned in oil go bad also? Can I keep that sort of thing longer than a year and safely eat it?

  2. Sharonon 08 Jan 2009 at 11:36 am

    Hi Robin – Canned tuna or other fish in oil should be fine for a few years. The canning process should adequately inhibit rancidity. Tinned fish (like sardines) in soft containers, the sort that you can just peel apart, lasts less well, and should be eaten within a year.

    Sharon

  3. ctdaffodilon 08 Jan 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Sharon – I was just thinking about all this today as I listened to a report on the state of RI and what a mess it is and last nights news from our CT governer/governess.

    With the ice storm yesterday I had my kids help me with pantry inventory. it wasn’t to much fun for them until I let go and said they could restack stuff as they counted….
    Freezer inventory hit a wall with the turkey discovery…

    So while at Walmart this morning getting Rx filled, I grabbed another bottle of clorox (had a coupon), 2 jugs of vinegar found a bag of socks on clearance, 2 packs of clearanced undies too for the oldest and 2 packs of hiking boot laces for my hubby, since we know those are tough to find when you need them.

    I have my little notebook in my purse – it has the sizes the kids are in now and what sizes of winter/rain boots the youngest has in the grow into box….Mostly because I’m always looking ahead in case we get to a point where you cant find or we cant afford to buy them. Things like boots and dress shoes (sometimes water shoes too – go from kid 1 to kid 2 and then to younger cousins)

  4. Laurenon 08 Jan 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Sharon,

    What a great piece. Thank you. One question: do you think that the idea of an shopping at an Asian food store isn’t such a good one these days, considering all the issues with Melamine? Infant formula, in particular, but all processed food (including pet food) should still be suspect, in my mind…

    Lauren

  5. Lizon 08 Jan 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Hi Sharon! I’m new to your website but it is so nice to find a woman/mother who also reads about peak oil. My mother and I have spent the last year stocking the “Katrina” room. We have also included polenta, a propane stove (large enough for canning), extra jars and lids (so we can can next summer), books on how to doctor when there is no doctor, cold rated sleeping bags, ropes, tarps, and extra parts for crucial items and maintenance items such as oil filters. It seems like such an endless list! Thanks for being an additional resource for us. ALSO, lately, I was getting stressed, feeling like I was the only one planning this way. I knew that my husband and I were better informed than most people we knew but even so, I was sort of questioning myself. I really appreciate your blog (especially since you are also a woman/mother…you think about the same issues I do…Matt Savinar is great but his issues are a little different than mine!)

  6. Sharonon 08 Jan 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Lauren, it depends on what you are buying. It is also worth noting that in the last year we’ve had a US botulism scare in canned chili and a bunch of contamination here – my basic feeling is that anything from the industrial food system is suspect, and it is always a balance.

    I’d suggest whenever possible people buy less processed things rather than more – so probably not pet food, but tofu sticks, rice, whole spices, noodles, etc.. should be fine.

    Sharon

  7. NMon 08 Jan 2009 at 3:16 pm

    In addition to being abused as “chocolate,” carob powder is a traditional remedy for diarrhea. It’s also nutritious. I tend to prefer a mug of warm carob milk (or soymilk, in my case) with some ginger and cinnamon, to, say, pepto bismol. And I use it to make dog biscuits that my dogs go nuts for. Though it might become hard to find as things in general become less available.
    NM

  8. Erikaon 08 Jan 2009 at 5:14 pm

    A great recipe to have on hand (I’ve actually got the whole webpage printed and stored in the home first aid kit) is for homemade oral rehydration solution, I use this one: . It’s especially nice because it gives many alternatives for things you might have on hand, even though it’s not directed to the “average westerner.”

    –Erika

  9. [...] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Crisis Shopping Redux: What To Buy On the Last Stock Up Before … Several readers have asked me to do a piece on what to do if you have been procrastinating about food storage, but plan to stock up before the end of the world (I’ve heard that Paulson and Bernanke have scheduled that for this weekend, but it could potentially be moved due to a conflict with some other disaster ;-) .) So for all you procrastinators out there, here are my suggestions. [...]

  10. teresa from hersheyon 08 Jan 2009 at 6:51 pm

    When you are stocking up, you may want to seriously look at children’s clothing! I followed a link from survivalblog.com to the LA Times newspaper business section (I don’t know how to do the direct connection) and there it was: New safety rules for children’s clothes have small and thrift stores in uproar. The gist is that new legislation checking for lead may mean that ALL kid’s clothes and everything else kid related has to be tested. If it isn’t tested for lead and proven safe, then kid’s clothes have to be landfilled rather than take the risk of lead poisoning. This is federal legislation and takes place on 10FEB09. This appears to include second hand stores as well as small boutiques with expensive handmade stuff. I have read the story three times and it still seems pretty unbelievable. Do any of you know anything about this?

  11. Susan C.on 08 Jan 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Alcohol can also be used to make herbal tinctures, in diluted form to wash wounds, kill the pain of a tooth before its pulled–all kinds of medicinal purposes. Its also used to preserve some foods, usually fruits.

  12. Markon 08 Jan 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Hey Sharon
    I wanted to add an interesting insight. Dmitry Orlov said in an interview “Canned or frozen food is by definition, rotten.” He suggest that stocking up on food may be a good idea for the short term, but it doesn’t account for the fresh food we need to eat to keep us from getting sick and dying.

    I sometimes get modes of panic where I think the world might end, which is interpreted by our modern consciousness as time stopping or something. I think “Oh shit, I need food stocked up, blah, blah, blah.” I do have a water storage and squash storage — grains etc. But, you know I don’t think a food stock is any more than a buffer. It’s a way to make me feel safe, when no matter the situation, I’m not.

    So, I wanted to say this before I digress too far. It would be HIGHLY effective, if we could work on restoring the wild food sources in our yards, backyards, nearby forested areas etc. Relearning what the native people knew best, gardening the wild.

    I think that is how you can truly have a safety net, if such a thing can even exist. Learning food storage is wonderful, but if the food is coming from far away, and we have no idea how to cultivate or find more, we’re really fucked.

    Thanks for letting me ramble.

  13. Lizon 08 Jan 2009 at 8:21 pm

    I’ll second the recommendation for buying at Asian stores. Melamine may be an issue for processed protein foods (if melamine was added to make the percentage of protein appear to be higher). But it shouldn’t be a concern when buying rice or spices, and those two in particular are available in much greater variety and much lower price than most supermarkets. I never buy spices in the grocery store any more–tiny bottles at an inflated price. Asian, Indian and Hispanic cooks use more spices in their cooking, so the inventory in the ethnic stores turns over faster and is fresher than in most regular supermarkets. Same for the rice.

  14. Leila Abu-Sabaon 08 Jan 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Hi – schizo Leila here – I quit coming by regularly ’cause I didn’t want to deal with the EOTWAWKI scenarios. But after two weeks of Gaza, I am ready to think about stocking up on white rice again.

    Best practice would be to log off completely and rest my mind/body/soul. This is not easy to do.

    I’m well otherwise, just heartsick, and living life to the fullest.

  15. Leila Abu-Sabaon 09 Jan 2009 at 2:24 am

    The NY Times just printed a list of common foods we don’t eat enough of that are extremely healthy. Many are good pantry/storage items:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/30/the-11-best-foods-you-arent-eating/?em

    Sharon’s favorite, canned pumpkin, is on there, along with my favorite sardines, pumpkin seeds, prunes, cinnamon and turmeric. Fresh foods include beets and cabbage.

  16. graceon 09 Jan 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Leila
    I’m “praying a candle” for Gaza.
    grace N Mex

  17. Nettleon 11 Jan 2009 at 3:37 am

    Teresa from Hershey – this comment is late so you might not see it, but there’s a Snopes page up for the children’s clothing thing –
    http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/pending/cpsia.asp

  18. Rebekkaon 19 Jan 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Can I suggest that if you’re going to store infant formula, you also store along with it:
    - Cups to feed infants with (the Unicef emergency infant feeding guidelines suggest bottles should not be used in emergency situations and infants should be fed using cups – they’re easier to clean)
    - Some way of steralising the water to mix the formula with.

  19. Peteron 30 Apr 2009 at 9:07 am

    Since about 1998 (for the Y2K thing) I have made sure we have at least 2 or so months supply of food. I bought two cheap sets of metal shelves and simply started buying more of what we regularly use. Instead of two boxes of cereal I buy 6 and so on. I buy in bulk only when these things are on special so also save quite a bit of money. It works really well even though I wasn’t particularly concerned about Y2K. After 2000 I just kept up the same system without being paranoid about it. We rarely run out of anything because I always have a spare or two. Gradually over the years I got to know roughly how much we go through of the things I store, so I also never over buy and have never thrown anything away using this system.

    Over the years I gradually bought a few large plastic containers and added more stuff. If you have a bit of space this system works well. Just find a space, add some shelves and next time something you use a lot of ( and will keep ) is on special, buy quite a bit extra. Not one or two cans, but 6, 8 or 10.

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