This morning I read that King County in Washington, where the coronavirus has had the most U. S. deaths, has asked that workers be allowed to work from home and that people over 60, those with underlying conditions, those with weak immune systems and those who are pregnant stay home and avoid crowds.
The question I would love for everyone reading this to answer: If you woke up this morning with news that you needed to stay home – do not leave your home unless it’s a dire emergency and you’re headed to the hospital – how long could you be comfortable with what’s in your home? If your answer isn’t at least two weeks, I urge you to think about it . . think along the lines of the quickest, easiest, least expensive you can remedy this.
For so many years, I’ve preached and begged that people prepare for whatever circumstances you feel are necessary. In all my prepping years, I figured I was prepping for a weather related event or possibly some reason we had no power for an extended period or a food shortage – which I thought was possible after realizing how little grocery stores keep in stock in the back and all it would take for the stores to be low on stock would be a time when the trucks weren’t running.
In many areas now, there’s panic buying and that can cause empty shelves, which results in further panic buying.
If you’ve never done any prepping and you think about food for 14 days if you couldn’t go to the store, it can be overwhelming but take it slowly, plan a bit and it really isn’t overwhelming.
If you’ve never done any prepping, and you’ve never thought about it, and you feel like maybe this might be the time you want to do a little planning and prepping, here are the steps I would take.
Note #1: I am not taking into account special dietary needs. There are so many issues to consider but the rest of this post will be for those of us who have no dietary restrictions.
Note #2: The plan I’ve outlined below assumes the power will not be interrupted. For a virus running rampant, I can’t see any foreseeable reason why the power would go off. Anything is possible, but not likely as far as I see it. So let’s just assume the electricity and gas stay one; the fridges and stoves continue to work.
Note #3: Buy only what you like! When I was growing up near the Gulf coast, often we were in the path of a hurricane and would buy hurricane supplies. Always, we bought vienna sausage and always, those got thrown away after the hurricane had passed and we hadn’t needed them. Nowadays, there are plenty of foods that we like that have long shelf lives so there’s no need to buy anything you would dread eating.
Note #4: Plan to eat every meal at home. Forget going out to eat. Forget having food delivered. It’s all coming out of your pantry/fridge!
Note #5: Make Bread! If you don’t know how to make bread, today is a good day to learn. Amish White Bread is a recipe that is almost impossible to screw up. It’s also an excellent recipe for making “fry bread”. Just pull the dough into pieces, either roll it out or pull it out with your hands, and fry it in a skillet with a little butter. All it takes is a bit of yeast, flour, salt, oil, sugar and water. The bread turns out fine with half the sugar for those not wanting so much sugar.
Keeping bread for two weeks once it’s warmer weather can be a problem. It will keep in the fridge or even the freezer but if we’re ever looking at more than a two week quarantine, being able to make bread can be such a benefit.
Note #6: Any time we’ve had . . I don’t want to say an emergency, so let’s call it an “occurrence” . . when the power is out, or there’s a snow/ice storm and we’re stranded at home, I’ve tried to make meal time special, a celebration almost. Instead of wringing my hands and trying to figure out what we’re going to eat, I’ve tried to make it special. That’s especially important if you have children and they’re probably already a bit unnerved about the situation. If Chad was hungry and wanted a snack, I always tried to treat it as I would normally and not say or do anything that would cause him to think we might run out of food if he ate something.
I feel like as the wife or mom, I’m the keeper of the home and I pretty much set the tone for how things are going to be in our home. I’ve always felt it was my responsibility to feed my family and that’s a responsibility I do not take lightly. I plan the meals. I plan how I will use the leftovers. The worst thing for me about not having the food my family needs, and knowing how to put meals on the table from that food I have stored . . would be that I’ve let my family down.
Let’s do a little plan for 14 days.
Plan & Calculate:
Say there are two of you and you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner:
- Breakfast #1 – 2 eggs each, bacon, toast, fruit, milk
- Breakfast #2 – oatmeal, sausage, berries, juice
- Breakfast #3 – cereal, banana, milk
For 14 days, consider having each of those breakfasts five times (I know . . 5 x 3 = 15 days).
- 2 eggs each = 4 eggs x 5 times = 20 eggs – buy 2 dozen eggs.
- bacon – you’ll need 10 servings of bacon
- toast – this could be bagels, bread, tortillas – whatever you like
- Everything else – calculate what you need for 10 servings.
Plan the things you like.
- Pioneer Woman’s tomato soup is made from shelf table ingredients except for the cream and it usually has a long expiration date.
- Tuna salad or chicken salad – canned tuna and canned chicken drained and mixed with boiled eggs, pickle relish, celery, onions, chopped apples or dried cranberries – get creative.
- Sandwiches – Make traditional sandwiches, or tortilla roll ups.
For dinner, I love making dishes that have multiple servings.
- Ham – Hams are great to have in the freezer. Bake it and serve it for dinner. Leftovers can be used for breakfast (ham slices or ham & cheese omelettes or ham chopped with potatoes). It can be used on sandwiches. Make ham and split pea soup. Use the bone in other soups.
- Meatloaf – Make two or three at a time and freeze the extras. Leftover meatloaf can be used to make a meatloaf sandwich. I love making something like a shepherd’s pie – slice the meatloaf thin or even crumble it if it isn’t cooperating when trying to slice. Put it on the bottom of a baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes, then drained cut corn. Add a little grated cheese. Bake til it’s all hot (everything is already cooked). Mix up a packet of brown gravy mix and serve to be poured over the individual servings.
- Mississippi Pot Roast – This is something we’ve all probably made and it has a lot of names but it is so good and is a good use for a chuck roast. Around here, chuck roasts are on sale often and I always stock up because there’s so much that can be done with them. If you have a few chuck roasts in the freezer, all the other ingredients are shelf stable. This leftover roast makes the best sandwiches. We like to use a crusty bread, put the hot shredded beef on the bread, top to a spicy cheese, stuck under the broiler to melt the cheese. Make a mayo/horseradish mix for the top bun. Yum.
With a little planning, you can quickly and relatively inexpensively stock up. When you consider a chuck roast and that Mississippi Pot Roast is probably going to provide two adults with at least four meals each.
Plan some sides to go with these meat dishes – canned green beans, dry beans, baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, canned corn, steamed broccoli, cooked cabbage.
Plan salads – green salad, potato salad, slaw, black bean & corn salad.
One thing I highly recommend is dry beans. There are so many varieties and by changing up the added ingredients, you can make them so many different ways. Take pinto beans for example. Borracho Beans (my favorite!), every day Pinto Beans, Refried Beans, add to soups or chili (though I do not put beans in my chili), make bean dip
Are you seeing how easy this really is? I hope so. Please – add to this if you’re a long time prepper and ask questions if you are unsure about anything. Prepping is one of my greatest passions and I never mind helping anyone because I believe it’s so important.
Again, every single thing you buy should be something you will use – whether in some time of emergency or just in every day use.
Prepping and having supplies on hand for at least two weeks (of course, I prefer longer, but two weeks is a minimum), in my opinion should be ordinary, not radical and not hoarding. We’ve all gotten too comfortable running to the grocery store several times a week, counting on always having everything available and being able to get there. Let’s all try to be a little more self-reliant.