Chapter 2 – Common Storage Foods

Herein is covered a range of foods suited for incorporation into home storage programs.

As you review them there are several considerations you should keep in mind when deciding on what foods you want to include.

The first is variety in the diet.  This is of great importance but many do not give it adequate thought.  Some simply buy however much wheat, corn, rice, or beans they think is necessary to meet their needs and leave it at that.  Others rely on pre-packaged decisions made for them by their storage food retailer who put together a “year’s supply of food” to buy all at once. Either decision could possibly be a mistake.

There are many food storage plans one may use as a guide.  Some are based on the so-called “Mormon Four” of wheat, milk, honey and salt, with as many additional foods as the planner found desirable.  This plan was developed in the 1930’s and we’ve learned a great deal about workable food storage in the decades hence.  Among which are the food allergies that an unfortunate number of people in our society develop.

One of the more common food allergens is wheat.  Even more unfortunate is the fact that many who have such an allergy are unaware of it. They won’t become aware until they try to live with whole grain wheat as a large part of their diet and their latent allergy reveals itself.  Another thing we have learned is that many adults suffer from an intolerance to the milk sugar lactose, especially those of certain ethnic backgrounds.  For these reasons and more you should always make it a practice to store what you eat AND TO eat what you store, so that ugly surprises such as these do not arise after it’s too late to easily avoid them.

A second reason to think about storing a wide variety of foods is appetite fatigue.  There are those who think providing variety in the diet is relatively unimportant and that if and when the time comes they’ll eat what they’ve got and that will be that.  For healthy, well-adjusted adults under ordinary circumstances or for those who have the vital survival mindset this might be possible without too much difficulty. However, the reason for having a home food storage program in the first place is for when circumstances aren’t ordinary.

Times of crisis produce stress – possibly physical, but always mental.  If you are suddenly forced to eat a diet both alien and monotonous, it is going to add that much more stress on top of what you are already dealing with.  If your planning includes the elderly, young children, and/or infants there is a significant risk they will quit eating or refuse to eat sufficient amounts of the right foods leaving them unable to survive. This is not a trivial problem and should be given serious consideration. When it’s wheat, day in and day out, wheat’s going to start becoming unpopular fast. Far better to have a variety of foods on hand to forestall appetite fatigue and, more importantly, to use those storable foods in your everyday diet so that you’ll be accustomed to eating them. In his book, Making the Best of Basics, James Stevens mentions a post-WWII study by Dr. Norman Wright, of the British Food Ministry, which found the people of England and Europe were more likely to reject unfamiliar or distasteful foods during times of stress than under normal conditions.  Consider the positive aspects of adding variety and comfort foods to your storage program.

A last thought that I want to give for ALL foods you might put into your program.  Unless you are already familiar with and eating a particular type and brand of food do not put large quantities of it into your pantry until you – preferably everyone who will be depending on that food – have eaten some of it first.   It’s not always as easy to pick up a new food as it may first appear.  Differences between brands of foods alone can sometimes be enough to disappoint you when consumed.  You’d hate to discover that you cannot abide a particular food item after you’ve brought home a case of Brand X.  Seriously relying on any food that you are not already familiar with is making a fools bet.