Life has been weird for a while now. We started in 2020 with some health issues, which we do not need to discuss, we are all too familiar with that year and all it brought to us. We are still affected by that year with masks needed at medical facilities and some family members who still want to isolate and wear masks. I sometimes wonder if we will ever be able to truly move past it all, something none of us really thought would happen when it all started to unfold.
Now, as that is easing a bit for most of us , we have so many things going on. Unreal prices, on gas and goods, groceries are going up on a weekly basis and now talk of home prices dropping over the next year by as much as half, at least on new homes. There is also talk of food shortages and even diesel shortages, it is all so unreal and unnerving and even a bit scary.
What can we believe, what can we trust ? That is the true question and I really do not think anyone knows the answer right now. We are being told to prepare, stock up, and make sure we have everything we need , just in case. So many people do not know what to do, or if they should do it and if so, what to stock up on , and how to store it. The questions go on and on.
I have always keep a few extras of the items we use every day. I started doing that when we were at a friends house for dinner. She announced to me she was out of parmesan cheese. I thought, oh great, now we will have to go run to the store. What she did next was eye opening. She reached down, opened a cabinet door and there were two bottles of parmesan cheese. What ???? I was blown away. She explained that she always keep a few spares of the things she uses every day. I thought that was brilliant and started doing that. Was I always great at it, no. There were still times I ran out of things, but overall, yes, I started doing this and still do it to this day.
So, if you are not sure about prepping, and are not sure what to do. Just figure out the things you use every single day, things that can be stored easily, not so much perishable things, and always keep a few extra on hand. Catsup, mayo, mustard, the parmesan cheese I mentioned, those are some ideas of things you can keep a spare of. If you love a particular spaghetti sauce , salad dressing , soup , or salsa or any item like that, pick up a few extra to have on hand.
Lets face it, most of us have not got the space to store a years worth of food, and do not want to spend that kind of money. But if you like beans and rice, and white rice, not brown, you can pick up a big bag of each and have them on hand for emergencies as those last for ten or more years without going bad. Brown rice has too many natural oils in it and will go bad , so I store any extra in the freezer but always keep a big bag of white rice and a big bag of pintos. We love them and they will get used.
If things get hard to find for a while , until this current situation is over, if you have some of your favorite foods set aside, it will just make things more pleasant for you and a bit less stressful. You can just buy an extra thing or two every time you shop and just make it a regular habit. That way you never have to worry about not being able to make a recipe you want to make, and never have to make an emergency run to the store. As far as perishables, you can buy some dried milk for emergencies when you are cooking but honestly fresh dairy is always best and that you have to buy as you need it. However, you can store milk in the freezer but I would recommend reading up on how to do that properly.
The meat situation might get rough, both in availability and price, so learn to cook with a bit less meat and more veggies and starch to make the meat stretch longer. When we were raising our four kids , I would make a huge pot of spaghetti and put in a half or even a quarter pound of meat in that big pot with lots of Italian seasonings and a ton of veggies. We made a lot of beans and rice, again using spices and herbs to make it taste great and using tortillas and a bit of sour cream and cheese to add some flavor.
Just be willing to experiment if things get a bit scarce and use your internet and find new recipes. I love the site All Recipes because , at least they used to, have a place to put in ingredients and get recipes with those ingredients in them.
This is a time to be frugal , cook at home, and experiment . We can get through this time and eventually there will be more food again, they will plant more grains, raise more animals, and things will get back to normal. We just have to get through some uncertain times and learn some new skills. But never panic buy, or panic at all, just do your best to get through this year and next year should be better. I choose to believe that, even if others think I am naive to think that way. If we are calm and prepare the best we can, we will be in a good place no matter what.