So…my wife and I were sitting watching TV the other night. We decided to get up to speed on a couple of issues and watched a number of reports on the food supply chain, food production (i.e. farming), and food availability outlook for next year. Yeah, call it a date night!
I wrote some time ago how we completely revamped our pantry and organized it much better. That led us to assess the quantities of some of our items and improve in that area a bit. But, we now started talking about the probability of “severe” food supply chain disruptions and its potential effects on us. We felt pretty good about our situation but it made me think of the crazy question, “What if we knew that everything was going to fall apart (i.e. grid-down) and we had only one last trip to town to buy food supplies with our pick-up truck. What would we buy?”
What a wonderful conversation to have in the evening between two people who love each other while on a date at home. I must say…a truly romantic evening!
As I like to do (i.e. OCD) I had to set parameters to work with, so they were:
- The most needed items.
- The least ability to produce or the most difficult to procure.
- Current supply of each item; includes freeze dried, frozen, and pantry supplies.
As we talked it started to become clear that it was:
- Salt – It is needed for all kinds of cooking and preserving. We have no way to produce salt and no idea where a local supply would come from. Remember, throughout history empires where built and fought over based on salt alone.
- Sugar/Honey – OK, I would just roll over and die without sugar (i.e. chocolate chip cookies). Seriously, we have no way to produce sugar on our own. Yes, I understand about locally supplied honey. But we don’t know anyone in the area that has hives and sells honey. And even if we did, can local honey producers produce enough honey for the area populace and what would the cost be? Could we survive without sugar? Maybe, but it would be a dull world.
- Fruit – Ever hear of “scurvy”? Eating fruits gives you a long list of nutrition that can’t be provided any other way except pills. Yes, we planted fruit trees…and no idea if and/or when we will ever have a crop. While there are some apple orchards in the general area…none of them are commercial in size.
- Cooking Oil – Used a lot in baking and cooking. No practical way to produce it and no known source of procurement.
- Flour – Used to bake things like biscuits, pancakes, bread, and most importantly…chocolate chip cookies.
- Milk – Great source of protein/nutrition and great with chocolate chip cookies. And yes, used in baking and cooking. No way to produce it and no known source of procurement.
- Peanut Butter (nuts) – This is a great survival food due to it’s a great source of protein and oils/fats. It tastes great and stores a long time. I included nuts with this because it is fairly easy to make peanut butter from nuts. No practical way to produce nuts and no known source of procurement of nuts…and/or peanut butter.
- Jelly/Jam – Great in combination with peanut butter! Source of fruit and energy. While we are starting a berry patch, we have yet to harvest and no idea what a harvest will look like or when.
- Protein Bars/Granola Bars/Trail Mix – GREAT source of quick, easy to eat food packed with protein and energy. Can be eaten without preparation, can be eaten on the move, and is simply a great food. While we can produce it and can procure some of the ingredients to make, it is a great food to have on hand for a rapidly deployed source of food.
- Cocoa Powder – This is a sub-category of a primary food group…chocolate. It essential for life to continue on earth, without it all life on earth will perish. We obviously can’t produce it and it can’t be grown anywhere near us…maybe not even on the North American continent. This is a must have for the survival of the human race!
- Multi-Vitamins – Self-explanatory. This can help fill in the blanks when eating a less than balanced or healthy diet.
- Canned Beef Stew – First off…I like it…Dinty Moore is unbeatable. And it has meat and vegetables in it already…along with a really tasty gravy. Serve it over rice and it goes a long way. Serve it with biscuits and it is hard to beat on a cold night. While it can be made, it is very convenient to have a supply on hand for ready meals that are very comforting.
- Canned Meat – Hard to beat source of protein. While meat may be able to be procured, don’t count on it. And while you could raise meat animals yourself, it uses up a huge amount of resources to do so.
- Maple Syrup – Pancakes are easy to make and helps prevent food boredom. And to eat pancakes a person MUST have maple syrup. And yes, it can be used in baking and cooking. No practical way to produce it and no known source of procurement.
- Pet Food – I don’t want my animals to starve. I don’t want them eating my beef stew or chocolate chip cookies. Table scraps and food preparation scraps may not be available in sufficient quantities for them. And you may be keeping a potential alternative food source alive by keeping them fed.
So there you have our list in case we are forced into a last minute shopping spree. And it is in priority order. The quantity of each is another subject altogether. First, are the items even on the shelf? Next, do we get greedy or not, vs “need” alone? Then comes our ability to pay for the items. And lastly, how much space is in the truck vs the sheer quantity of the items being purchased.
Only you can answer those questions. For us, we can’t control what items are on the shelf but you can bet your bottom dollar that if we don’t see them, we will ask someone who works there for them. Who knows for sure if we can pay for them or not is a big question. Are they still accepting cards? Did we bring enough cash with us? Do we need to bribe the manager with gold/silver to get the deal done? We would keep buying until the truck was stuffed full.
I purposely avoided one of the questions…”do we get greedy or not vs ‘need’ alone.” That is a tough one. I would hope that we would buy what we felt was absolutely needed…maybe a bit extra. I would hope and pray we would live our Christian faith and not buy simply to be greedy or to take advantage of others later. I would also hope we wouldn’t buy for bartering or trading later. There would be families with immediate needs and my future business (barter/trade) doesn’t trump their need to survive. I would hope for reasonableness and humility…I wouldn’t want to see anyone’s kids starve while my carts were packed to the max.
We would go to multiple stores…and we would definitely include Dollar General, Family Dollar, etc.
And one more thought…I would try to have a 4-person team to do the shopping:
- One person to watch/guard the truck and have it ready to move once we were done and ready to load. Yes, armed…with a sidearm and a long gun such as an AR, possibly a shotgun.
- Two shoppers working the list in coordination with each other. Both armed with a sidearm.
- One person to guard the shoppers while shopping and while moving the carts to the truck. Their sole job would be SA and protection. For sure a sidearm, and if appropriate a long gun.
- In the parking lot no one would be allowed to approach the shoppers, the carts, or the truck…especially during loading and departing.
Well, there you have it! Now, will you and your spouse, maybe your whole family, sit down and do the same…come up with your “last minute food shopping list”? I sure hope so!
Feel free to share what your list contains if you feel so motivated.
If you would like a printable PDF shopping list <click here>
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