Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hunter-Gatherers and Food Storage

As a mostly observant Mormon family, we (She of we) are attempting to follow Church counsel “to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water.” Just for fun I decided to check up on our progress. My trip to the food storage room revealed some interesting findings. For example, by volume, we have the most of whole wheat and Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper. I entered these two ingredients into the recipe search at which, surprisingly, returned no results.

My wife assures me that in a real crisis, Charmin Ultra Soft will be as valuable as gold and we’ll be able to trade a single roll for a whole side of beef. Now I’m not sure that this supposed exchange rate takes men into consideration. As long as “natural alternatives” are available in the backyard, I wouldn’t trade a single stick of beef jerky for a roll of toilet paper. However, if my wife is correct and women will set the exchange rate for Charmin, then we should be able to trade our cases of Tampax and Always (with Flexi Wings) for gold ingots—at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Plus my wife tells me these “products” are also good for first aid. However, most men I know would rather bleed out than walk around with a tampon stuck to their wound, but that’s another story.

If I had my way, our food storage would consist of 800 cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew. Think about it, Dinty Moore is the perfect food. It contains all the important items from the food pyramid; Meat (Beef) Vegetables (Carrots and Potatoes) Fruit (Tomatoes) Grains (Corn Flour, Modified Cornstarch, and Sugar) and Preservatives (Salt, Caramel Color, and Flavoring).

However, since I’m not in charge of food storage, we have important foodstuffs like Nutella, coconut milk, Mystery Jell-O (really), water chestnuts, diced, sliced and pickled beets and lots of other strange Costco sale items. By quantity, the most common item in storage (at just less than 200 cans) is tomatoes. We have six varieties of canned tomato in storage including:
  • Crushed
  • Diced
  • Stewed
  • Soup
  • Sauce
  • Paste

A recent survey of male college graduates determined that zero percent could distinguish between crushed, diced or stewed tomatoes. Entering these items into the recipe search produced a lot of recipes for items like pizza and spaghetti which also call for meat. I’m hoping that the toilet paper for beef thing works out because there is neither a side of beef nor any Dinty Moore in food storage.

There are however about thirty cans of chicken, turkey, beef and salmon. If you do the math, that’s about one can of “protein” for every six cans of tomato product. This serious imbalance concerned me so greatly that I felt it was necessary to use our scarce financial resources to purchase a .30-30 lever action deer rifle. I decided in a real emergency—one where I might actually have to kill a deer in order to make spaghetti with meatballs—the deer would be happier if the gun was good looking, so I spent the extra money to get the stainless steel model.

Until now I was feeling guilty about my lack of participation in the food storage acquisition process, but the purchase of the deer rifle makes up for my prior non-contribution to our family's well being. It’s an equal partnership now, she’s the gatherer and I’m the hunter. Who knew food storage could be this easy?