Checking out the sales at Cash & Carry I see that they have the sales on for the Chinese New Year till the 10th of Feb. Many types of rice are on sale including a 50 pound bag of long grain for just $17.45. C & C have some nice woks on sale which are great for cooking even over a bed of coals. I think of my wok as a my multi-tasking fry pan/pot that I can use indoors and out. I want to pick up a small one to keep in my RV. With the wok, small stock pot and dutch oven in the RV I should be able to cook just about anything I can think up. I have been picking up some 8 oz. cans of butane fuel at C & C. Four cans of fuel for $7.00 when you add sales tax and each of these cans are supposed to last two hours on high and about 4 hours on low heat. I guesstimated eight cans per week and you could cook a quick meal and boil water for safe drinking water. I should get a test done on how quickly these stove heat water to boiling and about how many simple meals they will cook by March. I don’t mind using the “claims” as a starting point for storage but until you do your own test you don’t know how true the claims are in real life!
C & C also has a couple of good meat buys with 40 pounds of boneless chicken thighs for $55.00 All you would need to do is thaw the meat and have the jars ready to can up some chicken yourself for $1.38 per pound and the cost of the jars. Boneless pork leg is $1.38 per pound for a 16 pound average weight would be easy to cut up and can or store in the freezer. I think these two meats could add a lot a variety to your menu at a great cost per pound. Though it would be a pretty long day of canning for the chicken depending on the size of your canner.
I see that the Dollar Tree stores are now carrying Progresso soup in the 19 oz. cans for a dollar. I like Progresso soups and they can make a nice quick meal with little effort. Plan on having some quick and easy meals to prepeare for yourself is going to be very important because some days you will feel to tired to eat or go to the trouble of cooking. You can also order items by the case and pick it up at the store so you save on shipping.
At the local Albertson’s store they have turkeys for .99 cent’s a pound. It’s a bit to long for freezing the turkey till the holidays but you could cook one on the BBQ in the spring/ summer and have all quite a bit of meat “leftovers” for sandwiches or some quick meals. Plus you wouldn’t heat up the kitchen when it get’s hot outside and practice for the holiday meal. Turkey is a very lean meat so it should be good for making jerky for storage though I have not tried doing that yet. Plus it’s simple to cook a turkey on the BBQ and mesquite chunk charcoal adds a nice flavor to the meat and makes a great potluck dish.
One of my rules is never pass up a chance to add flavor or variety to your food storage. I’m lucky I have no problems with any kind of food intolerance or allergies. I also happen to like rice and beans as well as making my own breads and things. But sometimes I think many forget about “food fatigue” and don’t store or plan on adding variety to meals. When you look at ethnic foods many of the basic ingredients are the same but by changing the herbs, spices, oils or cooking methods you can end up a very different tasting meal. A good basic cookbook, practice and a even a window “herb garden” can help a lot on keeping your meals tasty, healthy and fight food fatigue. I like the Better Homes & Gardens as a starting cookbook. If you find a Culinary Arts institute cookbook get it! This is a great cookbook that gives you the all the basics from how to shop, store, preserve and do meal planning. Once you get the cooking/baking basics down don’t be afraid to experiment and try new spices, herbs and seasonings as well as new methods of cooking.
Don’t be afraid to screw up! You will make mistakes and that is a good thing because that is how you learn. It took me years to get my simple stir fry right. While my finished product was okay to eat it wasn’t what I wanted so a little practice and a little knowledge was needed and I now make a great stir fry. Same with baking a loaf of bread, I made quite a few wheat based bricks before I got better and learned the feel of what a good bread dough was and learned from my mistakes. Now is the time to practice and learn to use your stored goods and make those mistakes now while it is easy and relatively cheap to replace any products. If you are not using your food storage daily you are making a very serious mistake! Learning how to cook and bake during a SHTF event will add a lot of stress to an already stressful situation. Trust me cooking over a wood stove, a fire pit or even a grill is not at all like cooking in a gas or electric oven. It’s not harder but it is different and a learned skill!