Sunday, August 10, 2008

Are You Related To Ms. M. Hubbard?

Do you remember, somewhere in the news recently, there was a rumor – excuse me- story of cupboard neglect, or actually animal neglect? What? It really was about your neighbor Ms. M. Hubbard and her dietary deficient dog? I bet it wasn’t the dog’s fault that he had to go hungry. Have you ever wondered why Ms. M. Hubbard had not taken advantage of the case lot sales on dog food? I’ve talked about the Hubbard family cupboard before. So today I start a campaign in order that history and this sad tale of cupboard neglect won’t repeat itself in your neighborhood.

A rumor recently being discussed on a lot of blogs (or news) is that there are some of you reading who have to go to the store on the way home from “where ever” in order to be able to prepare dinner – at least four times a week. Of course, that’s just a rumor!

Instead of discussing anymore about that Ms. M. Hubbard’s cupboard, let’s discuss another kind of cupboard, one that needs more than dog food on the shelves. Of course, if the previously mentioned cupboard resembles your emergency cupboard, it won’t count, even if the dog-milk bones are yogurt covered.

In today’s rapidly escalating prices the thought of being able to find additional money to stock a cupboard seems nearly impossible. Let me share a thought with you that hopefully will influence your actions. It is possible to create an emergency cupboard that holds the things that you need to sustain you and/or your family.

I need to set the boundaries as to what we really will be talking about – or not. This discussion is about a disaster preparedness cupboard, NOT, home storage, or long-term storage items or a having a ton of wheat under the stairs. In a serious disaster situation you will most likely be without all normal utilities, but still able to be in the shelter of your home.

Usually in a disaster situation, such as an earthquake, you will be living in a powerless situation. (Pun intended). The old stand-bys of dry, uncooked beans and grains could leave you mighty hungry for a long time. Even then, the drastic thoughts of chewing on grain leave a lot to be desired.

Balanced meals, planned menus and counting calories are not necessarily the main concern as you prepare to deal with a disaster scenario.

Just like the other sections of personal preparedness, the food you choose to keep on hand – just in case - will be based on individual factors. These factors make your selections appropriate for your own situation, and different from what your neighbors might select. There is no one type of food or food program that is “best” or better than all of the others for everyone! The best food choices for you are the ones that suit your needs. (And of course I always choose chocolate.)

Foods that require no refrigeration, little or no cooking and little preparation are a must. It is extremely important to assess the individual needs of your household members. Will you be providing for an infant, invalid, elderly person or someone with a severe allergy? (I’m not talking about simple hay-fever, but life threatening food triggers.) These considerations will make a huge difference as to what kind of food products you keep in your emergency cupboard.

Don’t be misled into complacency because you happen to have several candles and one container of canned-heat. Remember to choose food and food preparation methods that will get you through tough situations where you have to do without those essential services that we take for granted, such as power, running water, light and a supermarket on the corner to run to for supplies. In an emergency situation you may be limited to cooking on a Sterno-type stove by the light of a flashlight. Your fuel usage may be restricted, your water cautiously rationed, and you may be dealing with these in the middle of chaos. Your food choices should be a comforting relief not an added catastrophe. Note: Disaster relief should not be interpreted to mean the store on the corner has food.

And be sure to remember the goodies. During crises, especially on going ones, treats are not a luxury! The morale boosting power of something that tastes good and cheers you up is not to be underestimated. I guarantee chocolate covered wheat will not work. I would even suggest that you begin with your next shopping trip, and as you fill the emergency cupboard, consistently fill boxes on the treat shelf. They should be kept up high, out of sight and difficult to access. Label the box in bold letters, such as – Pepto Bismol or Tums or Metamucil. That will insure that there is something in the boxes when the need arises. If you buy chocolate, buy double, just in case you can’t resist the temptation. After all you are the only one who knows what is really in those boxes.

Oh yes, don’t forget the dog. I’ll know you and your cupboards are doing okay when I see you in the store with a large bag of M&M’s and an empty Alka Seltzer box in your cart. That is in addition to the box of yogurt covered milk-bones (Chocolate is not good for dogs.)

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