10 September 2005

As many of you know, I've always had a weird sort of survivalist streak, especially when I was about ten years old (and enjoyed assembling first aid kits). Katrina has convinced me that I was right all along. FEMA, after all, recommends that every household keep at least two weeks of emergency supplies on hand, including food and water. (Now we know why.) Unfortunately, I'm woefully unprepared these days. As a result, I've been trying to figure out how to assemble a disaster kit adequate enough to provide some measure of psychological security, if nothing else.

Mormons, of course, are encouraged to keep a year's worth of food in storage, usually consisting of four basic staples: wheat, dry milk, sugar, and salt. Since I'm no longer expecting the apocalypse, a year's supply seems a bit much, but one month seems like a reasonable target. After fiddling a bit with the Mormon approach (using this completely legitimate website as a source), I've ended up with the following:
25 lb. white rice
5 lb. dry milk
3 lb. sugar
1 lb. salt
Obviously, white rice isn't the most nutritious food staple, but I'm limited by what's available at the local Key Foods, and by shelf life considerations. (My goal is to buy staples that can be stored for at least five years. Flour loses most of its nutrients after a year, apparently, as does brown rice, because it contains oils that oxidize quickly. Mormons usually go with whole red wheat, which lasts forever, but I don't see any in the baking aisle.) Some long-lasting dietary supplements, like spirulina, should be able to make up most of the difference.

Cooking, of course, will be an issue if the power goes out. For a while, I was considering a Coleman camp stove, but decided that I'd feel less safe with a propane tank in the house. I haven't quite figured out this part yet, but if I decide to get serious about disaster preparation, I might just spring for a Zip Ztove. If anybody has any suggestions, let me know. (Sharon, I'm looking at you.)

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