Monthly Archives: September 2008

Ready or Not#15:A Tale of Woe

Have I talked about water lately?

I have a tale of sorrow and woe (mine). Actually it was my parent’s problem, but I shared in their misery, even if it was for only a day and a half.

Recently, my parent’s house, in Saint George, Utah, developed a BIG plumbing leak out by the road. But they were leaving for a week and didn’t have time to take care of it and so they just turned the water off at the road and left. They were planning on coming back the next Wednesday and having a plumber come out and fix it – no problem, right? Wrong!

The problem started when my cousin, my daughter and I took a last minute sales trip to Saint George and Mesquite and were going to stay at my parent’s house from Thursday to Saturday. I mean after all, my parents went back on Wednesday and got the water fixed, right? The only problem was that on our way down, I saw a truck pulling a trailer on the side of the road getting hooked up to a tow truck and it looked suspiciously like my parents rig. Then I saw another truck pulled over on the side of the road with somebody that looked just like my dad!

My parents had gotten a late start on Wednesday and so they decided to go back on Thursday instead, but then one of their trucks died just past Beaver. (Just as a side note, this is not the first time that they have had car trouble in the Beaver, Utah, area and I just have to let everyone know how wonderful and helpful the police in that area are. Thank you, Law Enforcement personnel in the Beaver for taking care of my parents). Long story short – we got to my parents house just about the same time that they did, late at night with NO WATER.

Thank goodness that my parents had taken my advice and stored a lot of water. My mom has been storing water in emptied out 2 liter pop bottles for quite some time and has built up quite an impressive water supply, which was a good thing because I found out that it takes a minimum of eight 2 liter bottles of water to flush the toilet – EACH TIME! (There were five people at the house and you can do the math as to how much water we were going through.)

It takes at least one 2 liter bottle to wash my short hair and I was too tired to worry about anything else that night. It was a big inconvenience not to be able to shower because, well because we were in Saint George in the summer and that translates to a lot of sweat (the temperatures ranged between 110 degrees to a high of 117 degrees). All I can say is that I don’t know how the pioneers did it without air conditioning and running water. I still had the air conditioning, but not the running water and I felt like I was going to fall apart.

The moral of the story is STORE LOTS OF WATER! You never know when you are going to need it. It could be a personal disaster, like my parents, or it could be just the block that had a mainline rupture or a community wide disaster and no water is flowing to anyone. If worse came to worse and if my parents had not stored water, they could have gone to a motel (very expensive) or imposed on a neighbor (notice the word “imposed”), but because they had water they were able to tough it out.

Remember, water is life. Please make sure that you get your bottles, containers or jugs filled today. You can even wait until this coming weekend to work on it, but just make sure that you DO IT!

Lucky for us there is a happy ending to the story. The nicest plumber in the world (Don Lowe) or at least in Saint George, came out and fixed my parents plumbing and showers were able to be taken and toilets were able to be used and life was able to continue on.

I know that my mom is re-filling her 2 liter jugs even as I write (two gallons, per person, per day for a two week period).

I want to hear your taps turning on and the filling of water jugs this weekend!

Baking Powder and Tang

Everyone has to have baking powder to bake the really good stuff. Here is a recipe to make your own baking powder just in case you run out and can’t run to the store.

Homemade baking powder

1 lb. soda,
1 ½ lb. cream of tartar
¼ lb. Cornstarch

I’m sure that you could make smaller batches. Everything in this recipe is done in pounds so just change the pounds to tablespoons or even teaspoons. This recipe is supposed to be double the strength of anything on the market, so you might want to experiment with it. Who knows, you might like it even better.

My other suggestion for this posting is to get Tang.  This is an excellent way to provide vitamin C into your storage program along with a tasty drink.  If you have not-so-good tasting water, Tang (or Country Time Lemonade) will mask the flavor and make it palatable.)  Under optimal conditions, Tang will keep for up to 2 years.  It will also be comforting to young children to have something that tastes sweet and good during times of stress.  To use it, you will need water — which brings me to one of my focal points:  water.

Most of the culinary water in where I live comes from wells. If the wells were to dry up or if there were a disruption in the electricity and the powers that be weren’t able to pump the water, we would be in a very difficult situation.

We need to make sure that we have enough water on hand in case of an emergency. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) recommends 14 gallons of water per person for a two-week period. Even though that sounds like a lot , it is only a gallon a day for drinking, washing and cooking. (Don’t forget your pets.  They will also need water.)  People who have been in an emergency situation were asked what three things they needed most were and they said, “water, water and more WATER!”

There are a lot of different ways to store water. The easiest way to store water is to buy it already bottled. You can also store water in empty 2-liter pop bottles. It is not a good idea to store water in bleach bottles or milk jugs (the milk jugs are engineered to deteriorate). Some people store water in empty bottling jars until they are needed again. This is a good idea as long as the problem that we are going through isn’t an earthquake or tornado.  You need to store your main water source in a container that you don’t have to worry about breaking. You also need to take in account whether or not you can move the container when it is full OR if you have a siphon pump for the very large containers.

Also, store some bleach or water purifier tablets. I would also suggest having a whisk on hand to incorporate oxygen into the water to give stale water a fresher taste.

A few years ago, I would have laughed at the thought of buying bottled water, but now it seems somewhat logical. I would suggest that if you are going to buy bottled water that you buy the brands from the larger bottling companies because their water has been shown to be safer and higher quality than some of the lesser known brands. Bottled water goes on sale all of the time so watch for a sale and pick up a case or two each time you go.

You can also store sports and fruit drinks. Soda pop can be stored, but I wouldn’t rely on it to keep you hydrated in a crunch. That and it tastes terrible when it is warm and so unless you know you are going to have refrigeration, buy it to enjoy during good times, but not to keep you hydrated in a crisis.

I hope that you are starting to see how easy it can be to start building your food storage. Last week, I took advantage of a chicken sale. I bought 100 lbs. I bottled 80 lbs. of it and got 28 pints. Twenty-four pints actually made it into my storage room.  The rest of it was made into sandwiches and a chicken pie. I also bottled the chicken broth that was left over when the chicken was all gone. My storage shelves are starting to fill up

This week’s suggestion:  Red Star Baking Powder. for $4.99, Tang – 20 quart for $5.99 Or Countrytime Lemonade – 32 quart for 5.99.  Again, prices may vary according to your location.

Shortening, Oil, Cocoa

I hope that you were able to try some of your new recipes using your popcorn. This week I am suggesting Crisco shortening, oil and cocoa.

It is so important to have shortening and oil in our storage. I know that we have some concerns about oil, but unopened Crisco shortening will store for a very long time if you store it in a cool dry place. Also, just as a note, powdered butter doesn’t work well in cakes and cookies and neither does powdered shortening. The powdered shortening does, however, work well with mixes such as pancakes, muffins, etc. (Also, a woman at the USU Extension service said that if a cookie recipe calls specifically for shortening you can substitute wheat flour instead of white.)

Other oils store for about one year, so you will want to rotate it. I have had sealed oils for longer than a year and they haven’t gone bad, but I imagine that if the seal were to be broken that it would eventually turn rancid.

I am including cocoa because I think that it would be such a shame to be stuck without chocolate. It is hard to store chocolate bars. From personal experience I don’t know if chocolate bars go bad or not, they never get stored long enough for me to find out. (My family likes to keep this item rotated.)

Chocolate has been proven to be a stress reliever (duh) and during stressful times a plate of brownies or a chocolate cake can be just what you need to make things seem a little better. Chocolate is also a wonderful item to barter with. Oil, cocoa and cinnamon are especially good items to have on hand for this reason.

During the depression and when times were tough, these items were as valuable as gold. Cocoa and cinnamon are grown outside of the United States and so they have to be imported, hence their increased value. Also, it is always more pleasant to cook with oil or shortening than rendered fat (lard) or drippings.

I also wanted to pass on an additional idea. If you watch the grocery ads, you can sometimes find chicken quarters (legs and thighs) for only .28 cents a pound. You can buy 100 lbs. for only about $28.00. You can either take the chicken and re-wrap it in individual servings and freeze them or you can bottle them.

Bottling is a really good way to preserve meat and it is very simple to do. It is also very handy to have on hand to make meat pies, sandwiches, soups, etc. If you have never preserved meat just buy a “Ball Blue Book” which has just about everything you need to know about bottling – including meat.

When you pre-cook the chicken to bottle it, keep the broth, strain it, and bottle it also. It makes a wonderful base for soup or anything else that you need chicken broth for.

This weeks suggestion: Crisco shortening – 6 lbs. for approximately $6.00 or Ambrosia Baking Cocoa – 5 lbs. $9.00 and/or 160 oz. Crisco oil for $5.00. (These prices may vary depending on your location.)

Popcorn

I am so happy with the response to the “$10.00 Will Do It” club. This week I’m suggesting 50 lbs. of popcorn.

Yes, I know you are thinking “how could my family possibly eat that much popcorn?” Easy, my family of four goes through 50 to 100 lbs. of popcorn a year. The reason that I store popcorn is that it is high in protein and fiber and it is delicious popped. There are other corns that are higher in protein, but they don’t pop and you can only use them for cooking.

I grind my popcorn to make fresh cornmeal and it makes the most delicious cornbread. You can also make a fine enough corn flour for corn tortillas. I don’t know if there is something more added to the corn masa that is sold in the stores to make corn tortillas, but I think that it would work just fine.

Just a note: You need an electric grinder to grind popcorn because a hand grinder is just not fast enough and the corn gets too hot and it starts popping.

Mom’s Cornbread

1 ½ cup flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup cornmeal
3 eggs
2 tablespoon baking powder
¾ cup oil
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients until well moistened. Pour into a sprayed 9×13 pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve this with a bean chili and between the beans and the corn you will have a complete protein, not to mention a really delicious and easy meal.

Instead of putting the batter in a pan, I like to bake my cornbread in muffin tins for 16 to 18 minutes. I find that they are not as crumbly and they are easier to work with. My family prefers it better this way and it is easier for small children to handle.

This weeks suggestion: 50 lbs. popcorn for approximately $8.49