Are You Culinarily Prepared for COVID-19?
Prepping is starting to sound a little less ridiculous to me these days!
My wife and I used to watch a TV show on the National Geographic Channel called Doomsday Preppers, and we used to laugh at the folks on the show as they discussed their seemingly off-the-wall theories about how society is going to collapse and the measures they've taken to survive. Some of those measures seemed as ridiculous as their theories about how it was all going to end. But now, I have to admit, I'm a little worried. Not full on panic worried. But novel coronavirus does have me a little concerned. The impact of this illness isn't seriously being felt here in the United States yet. But that impact is on it's way! The economy is starting to show signs of that worry as the markets reflect some of the stress and uncertainty COVID-19 is causing. My wife has mentioned the hardship COVID-19 is starting to cause on her company; a large importer and retailer of clothing products manufactured in Asia. But are we, the people of FoodTribe, ready for how COVID-19 may effect our stomachs?
Photo courtesy of the CDC Public Health Image Library
I'm not one to be labeled a "prepper", but I like the idea of being able to continue eating if things get bad and the supermarket shelves end up empty. Consider; how much of the food we consume in the United States comes from overseas? How much logistics are involved in getting food, from any origin, to the shelves of our supermarkets? What if fear keeps grocery store employees home? What if panic causes shelves to be emptied? What if over-the-road transport is stopped in order to contain an area or stop the potential spread of disease?
Is your pantry prepared to deal with it?
So what can you do? I truly have no realistic idea what makes for good preparation for what COVID-19 could potentially mean for us here in the United States. But, I do feel like taking out some insurance. Simple insurance to keep me fed and happy!
Bottled water! Damn, we all hate the waste all of those plastic bottles represent; but for short term prepping, I imagine having cases of bottled water around is going to be a good idea! Having a source of clean water on stand-by for consumption AND food prep is a pretty easy thing to prep. My plan; stock up on cases of bottle water. They're cheap! If nothing bad happens then guess what - I have a bunch of water to take out on my boat in the heat of the summer.
Cases of water like this can be had for just a couple of dollars each.
Canned food! Not the most awesome of cuisine by any stretch of the imagination. But canned food is versatile! Think about what comes in a can these days; soups, stews, meats and vegetables. Hell, I even have a can of pre-cooked bacon tucked away somewhere in the house! And canned food will keep, so if you don't use it, it's no worry because you will be able to hang onto it for a little while. I can stock up on canned food for an emergency, and if I don't use it I can take it to work to eat for lunches!
Canned food. A great way to keep a variety of food items on hand for the long run!
Frozen food! Not the easiest to store in bulk and it won't survive the collapse of the grid, but for a short term shut-in situation, frozen food can be a nice thing to have around. We have two refrigerators in our house; one in our kitchen and one downstairs behind our basement bar. Yep, the downstairs 'fridge is packed with beer but the freezer is typically stocked with frozen meals and meat. Frozen food is very convenient, and will last for a long time if maintained frozen. And very conveniently, we have a vacuum sealer in our house. So we could potentially stock up on meat that can be portioned and frozen.
I'm glad we have a food vacuum sealer for preparing and freezing meat!
Fuel! A major crisis could cause some culinary disaster if you are not prepared to cook your food. And while I'm not planning on prepping for the collapse of society, I don't want to be stuck thinking about thawing out and cooking a steak just to find out I'm out of propane or charcoal to cook it up right! While I don't have extra gas for the gas grill on hand, I do have bags and bags of lump charcoal stashed in the garage that will keep me grilling and smoking some of the meat I have stashed in the freezer for a little while.
I'm prepared to BBQ in a crisis!
MREs! Meals Ready to Eat! These things are great, and they're horrible! I imagine if you've served in the military and have had to live on these; well, you probably got tired of them. But I was fortunate to be able to stock up on a bunch of these sealed military meals (originally purchased by a military contractor). The quality of the food isn't going to rival that of the finest French restaurants (the horrible side), but some of them are okay. And they have self contained heaters in them that are activated by water, so a warm meal is easily prepared (the great)!
Meals Ready to Eat!
And then there are the items I think I'll avoid. I'm thinking pretty much anything perishable. I can't see stocking up on things like produce or even too much raw meat (unless I have room to stash it in the freezer). But I can see heading to the supermarket and loading up on produce and meat to be a bad idea if one isn't prepared to handle it properly.
So what is my plan? My plan is drag my wife to the grocery store and stock up on stuff we don't necessarily need, but stuff we could potentially use. I'm talking stuff we can potentially use if COVID-19 becomes a problem, or practically use just because we have it on hand. The best case scenario is COVID-19 doesn't disrupt life around here and I have a bunch of food on hand that I can use down the road for meals at home or for when I'm at work. The worst case scenario? My tummy wont be growling while I think about some of the food I've seen posted on FoodTribe while my local grocery stores' shelves are bare!
Stay safe. Stay healthy. And stay fed, my friends!