There are different approaches to Food Storage. Probably as many approaches as there are folks who store food. I think they basically boil down to 3 basic types, though.
The first group are the hard core survivalist types. They stock up on military rations or meal replacement bars, totally disregarding taste and variety in the interest of having "food" that is easy to store and transport.
The second group are folks who store absolute basics and learn to cook from them. Their storage includes bins of wheat (not flour, the have a wheat-grinder), sugar, salt, cornmeal, and home-preserved goodies (either from their home garden or a local, organic grower).
The third group are folks who buy mass produced, store bought items that take little or no prep before being ready to eat. Their shelves are full of Spaghettio's, canned fruit, and Hamburger Helper. Their freezers are full of ready made lasagna and chicken nuggets.
Now, when I decided to start getting serious about food storage here at Barefoot Manor I did a lot of research into things. I wanted to make the choices that were right for my family. I wanted someone out there to tell me what the right way was.
The folks in the first group...well, I give them kudos. To have the emotional stamina to survive on "meal bars" for any period of time is astounding. I don't think my family could do it. Oh, if that was all that was available I am sure we would make do for a while, but how long would it take for "appetite fatigue" to set in? For those who may not know, appetite fatigue is when you have to eat the same thing for so long that you would really rather starve than take another bite of it. The elderly and the young are more susceptible, but even I would get sick of those things pretty quickly.
The folks in the second group...I applaud them. I wish I had the knowledge and the resources to do as they do. Grinding my own wheat is a little out of my league at this point, though. Every year I work on gaining new cooking and food preservation skills, but I am a long way from what these folks accomplish. This type of food storage takes a giant commitment of time and energy to acquire and to manage.
Then there is the third group. I gotta give it to them. The food they are stocking is easy and familiar. It is cheap, and takes little to no effort to store. But I fear that they are taking a nutritional hit with these foods. Store bought foods are full of chemicals and hormones that just can't be good for us. There is also the fear that they are contaminated with salmonella or e. coli or some other frightening bacterium. At the very least they are very high in sodium and fat, which isn't so good for the heart or the waistline. So that doesn't seem like such a good idea, either.
Each of these groups believes that their way is the best way, and far be it for me to say otherwise. I, however, am gonna say that my way is right for me and my family.
See, here is the plan:
I already have some home-frozen produce from the garden last year. I also have venison that Dad and Bro shot and butchered, and beef from a cow that is local (I don't know if it is organic, but I know the woman who raised it at least).
I am going to work on increasing the production of my garden and my preserving skills for this next year, and work on finding local sources for ethically treated (and hopefully hormone-free) meat. I will also work on learning how to cook more and more from scratch, so that I can store more of the basics and fewer "processed" foods.
In the meantime, I am going to use coupons and any means available to me to stock up on foods that my family knows and enjoys. That means store bought spaghetti sauce and canned soups are going to continue to be a part of our diet. Some of the worst stuff I have already almost eliminated, but I am not going to shock my family with a total diet change all at once.
The military food rations? Well, those I just don't think I will ever be able to stomach. I MAY however, pick up some of those nutrition supplement bars if I can come upon them cheaply enough. They would go well in the winter car kit (a must in MN winters) or for an absolute emergency. Granola-type bars would be good for this, as well.
So there you have it, folks. One more person telling you that THEIR way is the right way.
Kinda funny, isn't it?