Ready or Not #258: Food and Relatives

After I wrote the article about my grandfather and how he would have us straighten our bent nails, I started thinking about some of the other things that I remembered about him.  This need to be prepared and to constantly yearn to learn and gain knowledge did not come from strangers.

Call it genetic or claim that it is environmental it doesn’t matter because one way or another, the desire to be self-reliant and always be prepared is a very strong family trait.  There was this one time that I was waiting with about five or six other women for some guides to help us.  As we were waiting we started to casually talk to each other.  One of the women, who was in her late 80’s, made the comment that she didn’t know if it was appropriate to talk about, but she wanted to let us (complete strangers) know that there was a terrific sale on ham, “and did you know that you can bottle ham?” she asked.  I told her that it was completely appropriate to talk about food storage any time and that I bottled all kinds of meat.  We then continued to talk about building our food storage and some of our family favorite recipes (which were eerily similar.)  The other women were chuckling at our conversation.

Just about that time the guides came and we all went our separate ways, but just moments later I saw the elderly woman again with her husband – and I recognized him.  He had very definite features that I had remembered as a child and flaming red hair that anyone would remember.  I couldn’t believe it!  I had been talking to my great aunt and I didn’t even know it!  And what were we talking about?  Good food, excellent food sales and building our food storage!

I’m telling you, I think it is genetic.

My daughter, who used to roll her eyes and laugh at me when I would talk to her about food storage and preparedness, is now calling to make sure that she is storing food for long time storage correctly. Just yesterday she brought home a bunch of fruits and vegetables and she called to see if she could borrow my dehydrator.  She also wants to bottle peaches this year!  I am so happy!  The recessive food storage gene has finally been activated!

Who knows, maybe someday she will be standing in a small group of people, randomly talking about food storage, and find a long lost relative.  Stranger things have happened.


A few years after I found my great aunt, Connie and I were teaching a class about food storage and preparedness and I was sharing my Lumpy Dick recipe (white sauce made backwards so that it is lumpy and served hot with butter, sugar, cinnamon and cream or milk – yummm) and one of the women attending the class started laughing.  She had grown up eating Lumpy Dick.

Later in the class, the woman asked if I had ever eaten Red Mush with Cream (Tapioca made with fruit juice – usually plum – instead of milk and served with sugar and cream).  Of course!  Any self-respecting person of Danish heritage would (and should) have eaten Red Mush with Cream on a regular basis growing up.  It was at that time that the woman asked me my maiden name.  I told her that it was Liston, but that I was talking about my Gregerson line.  At that point she got really animated!  She was a Gregerson descendant too!

I know that this is going to be hard to believe, but she was the granddaughter of the great aunt that I had found and talked to about food storage!  She and I had never met before that day.

I guess that one of the points that I want to make about this story is that not only do I believe that self-preservation is somewhat genetic, but it is also very much environmental.  If you don’t make being prepared important or you don’t put a high priority on building your food storage, when your children grow up and have their own families, they won’t make it a priority either.  It is your responsibility to teach your children the importance of self-reliance, having food stored for the future and always learning better ways to be prepared.

Obviously our parents and our parent’s parents taught our family correct principles (and I have taken that to a whole new level) and now it is the next generation’s challenge to carry on that knowledge and teach the importance food storage and preparedness to their children.  My daughter is.


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