Fella came by the shop the other day and expressed an interest in purchasing some freeze-drieds. He’s a rather hardcore hunting kinda guy so I expected he wanted a few of the pouches for his hunting trips. Nope, he was interested in a ‘years supply’ of the stuff. Now, I’d love to make a sale like that but FDs, although really handy and rather tasty, aren’t cheap. I’m pretty sure the guy in question doesnt have the budget for what would amount to around $5-7k in FD food. (Although maybe he does, who knows.) I gently tried to steer him towards the idea that the FDs would make a nice addition to a larder of more common, less expensive foods like rice, pasta, canned and jarred foods, etc. Not sure if he was warm to that idea. I think that he wanted something more ‘turn key’…write a check, check delivery, and mark ‘one years supply of food’ off his checklist.
I didnt ask him why he wanted a years supply of food. I would imagine it takes a little bit of gumption just to broach that idea with a relative stranger. I certainly didnt want to put him in an awkward situation or start a discussion about what his particular flavor of EOTWAWKI is. I gave him a price list, told him to look it over, and suggested a few websites and that sort of thing. I also mentioned that the LDS cannery here in town could go a long way towards filling in the pantry and keeping things on budget.
I told him to come by in a few days and I’d have some books on the subject I could loan him if he was interested. It wasnt until after he left that I realized that of all the food storage stuff I’ve seen out there, Ive seen very little that explains exactly why you would or would not want to go a particular way in establishing a stockpile of food. I’ve no doubt that there are people who figure “Ill just get a years worth of MREs and I’ll be good”. As folks in Afghanistan could tell you, MREs arent exactly something youd wanna base your diet on for a year. (Especially considering the…effects…a steady diet of MREs are reputed to wreak on one’s digestive system. Take a copy of ‘War & Peace’ with you when you head to the bathroom.)
Personally, I go with the four major food groups: freezedried, MRE, dehydrated and off-the-shelf stuff. Each one fills a particular niche and the combinatin of them gives me the flexibility to cover most situations I can anticipate. Considering that its fairly difficult to buy any canned/jarred/boxed food product in a supermarket that won’t last longer than a year in storage, just carefully modifying your current grocery shopping habit would be enough to provide you with a years worth of stuff. Canned vegetables, canned meats, packaged pasta, rice, canned/jarred soups & sauces, etc, etc. all keep for at least a year and arent anything special..theyre just regular off-the-shelf stuff you find in Albertson’s. (Sometimes someone will chip in with “But all those foods have high fat and high salt content! Theyre unhealthy!” Hey, so is starving to death. Given a choice between malnutrition and slow starvation vs. eating a Hungry Man frozen dinner and a can of Spaghetti-O’s every day guess which one I choose.)
Of course, if you want the ‘buy it and forget it’ model of food storage, then youre pretty much locked into freeze drieds with their 25+ year shelf life, or MRE’s with their 5-10 year span. But considering the difference in expense, I’d go with alot of off-the-shelf stuff and just use it up within a year and replace it as I go.