SHTF Food Prep
By Richard Bogath
Many of us who like to think we are prepared for just about anything tend to believe that when it comes to eating, we survive off of the ability to grow and harvest or hunt and harvest our own food. This is an admirable trait and if put into action properly, can last us literally years or an entire lifetime whether the SHTF or not.
There is a small problem though. Just a tiny one, but a problem nonetheless.
You see, without even realizing it, we have up and gotten ourselves into a big, damn hurry about… well, about everything. We want to get there before anyone else. We don’t want to wait on line. We can’t be bothered with taking our time. We want it now, we want it fast and if we don’t get it fast, we want to talk to a manager…quickly.
So what’s the problem? It’s the fact that food…REAL food…isn’t fast.
The reason we have the ability to zoom up to a speaker outside our car window and bark menu requests into a microphone as our total tabulates on a little screen in front of us, then to pull ahead fifteen feet and shove a handful of money or flip a plastic card through a window, only then to pull ahead another fifteen feet and be smiled at by some kid as he/she shoves a grease-stained bag or box of food at us, only for us to then pull away and complain; “how long that took”, is a scary yet true representation of what we call “eating” in much of the world today and happens because of the pure impatience that our lives revolve around daily.
Flash back fifty years and you have a different experience. Driving in your car while on your way home from work, you passed a few restaurants here and there before pulling into your driveway, possibly with a bag of groceries you picked up on the way home, and then upon entering your home, began the process of cutting, shopping, stirring, boiling, baking or frying the various items that would constitute “dinner” for that evening. If you were lucky, the process took under an hour to do, but you’re usually not that lucky. Dinner was placed on a table that was set specifically for that meal. You waited for all family members to sit down and only then did you begin to eat.
Well folks, if the SHTF then you’d better get used to the 1950’s again. Food prep takes time. Good food takes even more time, and careful attention to details. Sadly, most of us don’t really know how to cook without a microwave, a BBQ grill or a telephone to order takeout. Now I am a culinary school grad (who cares, right?) and I have lived both sides of the consumption of food—from your most basic burger joint take-out to the highest in gastronomic eccentricity. And let me tell you brother/sister…the middle ground leans heavily toward the hour preparing dinner.
Artificial causes problems
If you are growing/raising/hunting food then you will not have access to the prepared this and pre-packaged that. If you uses it, you’ll need to make it. You will not have the unfortunate luxuries of corn based coatings, mixes and boxed side dishes. I call them “unfortunate luxuries” because while convenient—they are probably some of the worst things you can put into your mouth, much less swallow. See my past article on the evils of corn and how you’ll starve to death eating products made with it.
Generally speaking, if it’s pre-packaged, processed, pre-made, contains the instruction “just add water” or in any way does not resemble food in its basic state—then it’s most likely artificial and bad for you. I’m not here to preach the evils of corn and sugar to you. I’ve done that already. (Click here to read my article “Self Sufficient: Growing Your Own Food”) But know that real cooking does not involve artificial and self sustenance will prove that to you over time when all your boxes of pure artificial food items get consumed and disappear from your shelves, leaving you with the basics…proteins, vegetable matter, dairy and spices. Food in it’s most simple of forms. The questions is, what do you do with it?
Its okay if food takes an hour or more to cook.
Really. It’s supposed to take time for food. The more time you take, the better your food usually will be. Roasting a whole chicken—at least an hour. A pot of stew—at least an hour. Steak, potatoes and greens—each item has its own cook time, but don’t forget to factor in that your retake had to be butchered down from the animal at some point and this adds to your time. Not to mention plucking your chicken, washing and peeling your vegetables, pressing olives for oil, churning butter, milking cows, etc… If you can’t get it from a market or through trade (and you have to assume you won’t) then you’ve got to do it yourself. so maybe we’re not even in the 1950’s at that point…maybe we’re back in the 1800’s?
The building blocks of what we are starts with protein. We’re not talking fuel here, we’re talking construction materials. Build a brick house—you need a large supply of bricks. Protein is the bricks for your body and there is literally no substitute. But you knew this, right? We learn this stuff in third grade, right? Then how come when you look at your weekly consumption of food, the average American’s diet is only 30% protein? The rest is all carbohydrates in one form of another. Your body needs protein. Your body uses some of the carbs for energy, expels or stores the rest as fat—you don’t get to choose. When you’re cooking for your family or yourself, proteins take the place of the carbs (mostly) because you no longer have processed. This is a good thing, but again…prepping and cooking proteins from scratch takes time.
Carbohydrates in their simplest forms are what your body uses for fuel. When you raise and grow your food, the carbs take a back burner to proteins when looking down at your plate. Since you’re not getting the processed, federally subsidized, corn-laiden sugars that make up most of what we eat these days, carbs become much smaller and less important to us. They become the side dish and the dessert (if we are lucky enough to get a dessert). After being off the sugar and corn for awhile, that simple boiled potato and turnip with a little fresh butter and salt begins to taste like candy. Your body is resetting back to the original configuration that nature had intended.
Low-fat, reduced-fat and fat-free, now all indicators in todays products of little more than “now with added sugar”, are all worthless and of no concern.The few sources of fat that you will have access to from animal and vegetable sources will not be enough to cause your arteries to clog (especially since it’s now proven that the consumption of sugar is the greater cause), so if you’re pressing your own oil, churning your own butter or making wheel upon wheel of homemade cheese…have at it!
Why do you have to eat your veggies? Can’t we just pretend that we did and feed them to the dog? Well, how do you intend to get those vitamins and minerals? Think multi-vitamins can be found in the woods? Sorry, kids—you’re eating veggies. Raw or cooked, from the garden that is easily grown and maintained, canned in the winter or saved in your root cellar. Time to expand your horizons and try the literal thousands of possible vegetables and fruits that are provided by the earth today. Try them all systematically and find the ones you like.
After getting through all your sugar withdrawals, you will find them much more palatable. Trust me, it’s true. Even corn has it’s place, just to a sensible degree.
Practice for your food. Practice growing, raising, harvesting, butchering and most importantly…cooking. Cook simply at first and practice like you would practice building a fire, survival techniques, firearms training (Click Here to read my article “Importance of Proper Firearm Training) or anything else that will keep yourself and your family alive and well. Food prep does not have to be hard, but I can promise that you will get used to it not being fast.