Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
Yes, it’s true. The flat broke foods can be made by simply adding water and a heat source. Think about it. The beans are obvious. Add water, soak, then simmer till tender. Rice – add water and simmer till done. Wheat flour – add water to make pancakes. Pasta – simply boil till tender and eat. Even the cornmeal can be made into mush by adding water then simmering until it becomes thick.
So it is true, you really could survive for a few days with just four food items, water, and a heat source. The food would be bland but you could survive. Combinations of the four starches make the meals into a variety. Beans and rice. Beans over mush. Grits and gravy. Are you beginning to see the possibilities?
Add salt and pepper to the pantry and you will be able to make the bland foods more palatable. If you really can’t afford any flavorings you should at least keep salt in your pantry.
When money is available you should add some oil or fat to your pantry. The difference between a fat and an oil is that fat is solid and oil is not. Type or flavor of oil doesn’t really matter because any of it can change your diet possibilities and preference will vary by region. There is olive oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, palm oil, soybean oil, pumpkin seed oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and a whole bunch of others to choose from. There is also butter, ghee, and lard. The solid fats can be of different types. Pork lard, beef lard, chicken lard, bear lard, deer lard and others. It would depend on your area and source. Is there such a thing as camel lard or water buffalo lard or alligator lard? Never mind. I was just wondering that’s all. Lards and oils are simply renderings (processing out) of the fat from plants or animals. Butter is fat from milk.
When you add an oil or lard to your pantry there are many different things you can do with your four basic survival foods. Fried mush (polenta), bean burgers, rice pancakes, hoecakes, and dumplings are a few I can think of right now. There are many others though.
Now if you were to add milk, eggs, cheese, and baking powder to your pantry then your recipe selections are increased many times over. Biscuits are what I think of first. Grandma Mama taught me that if you can make biscuits you will never go hungry. Grandma Mama made biscuits several times a week in lots of different flavors. I did love her cheesy biscuits and her onion biscuits but in my opinion the plain were the best of all.
If you want to save money on milk then I suggest you buy the powdered kind. Not many folks like to drink powdered milk. This is good. No one will be tempted to drink it before you have a chance to cook with it. The less money you have, the more important it is to have milk in your diet. Ok, the vegans out there will disagree with me but I am NOT a vegetarian. If you want a diet without animal products, you’re reading the wrong blog. Are you beginning to see the possibilities of having only a few basic items in your pantry?
Buying these basic items should be a matter of thinking ahead and planning ahead. Why wait until an emergency happens when it can be so easy to prepare ahead of time. Buying 10 pounds of rice may take a bite out of your budget, and you certainly wouldn’t want to eat plain rice everyday for a week. But, if you buy 5 pounds of rice one week, 5 pounds of flour the next week, 5 pounds of beans the third week, and so forth, it won’t take long to build up your pantry. Add a dollar or two to that and you can stock up on some dried spices and herbs.
Too expensive you say? Ok, is there a dollar tree store near you? Dollar tree sells everything for a dollar and they sell food. No dollar tree? What about some other type of dollar store? Even in rural areas you can find dollar stores. In the area where I live it feels as if there is a dollar store every four blocks. Our area has lots and lots of cheap processed food and very little in the form of fresh foods to be found. It’s getting better though.
I hope I’ve shown you that a pantry stocked with a few emergency foods is a possibility.