In our church, we are counseled to build up a reserve of food, water, and finances so that we are able to ride out the unanticipated economic adversity in our lives. Often, when I talk to other people about food storage, there is a wide difference in reaction between men and women. If you’ll excuse the generalization, women talk about canning, wheat recipes, and gardening. Men often talk about disaster scenarios and the topic of firearms seems frequently to creep in. I think the argument goes that if you are going to the effort of stockpiling food for some kind of disaster scenario, you’d better have a way of protecting it, because thousands of other unprepared people are going to come and take it. Although the conversation is usually interesting, I think our church leaders had a different strategy in mind. I prefer to think that our response to anyone that wants some of our food storage is supposed to be, “Everyone’s welcome. Take what you want.”
There’s a church website called Provident Living that gives a lot of guidance on what to store and how to store it. Several years ago, when we first started accumulating food storage, wheat was the only food item on the list that was good for 25+ years. (Now there are other “Life Sustaining” foods that are recommended with shelf lives over 30 years.) Since we started before this “new list”, we have big plastic buckets full of wheat in our garage.
But Don, should you really be advertising on the Internet that you have all this wheat in your garage? I don’t think it matters. Maybe in a disaster scenario, someone might come wandering to our home to see if they can take some of our wheat – maybe even by force. They’ll likely run into very little resistance. In fact, after they see the wheat they might have second thoughts about taking it. We often equate wheat with bread, but there’s a lot of stuff that needs to happen before wheat turns into bread. Not only do you need equipment like a mill, but you also need the other ingredients and the skills to actually make wheat into bread. And if you’ve never made bread before, I guarantee you’re not going to be able to make a loaf of Wonder™ bread. I tried once to take a few cups of wheat, grind it, and follow a recipe to make some bread. And you would think that this super-fresh bread made from whole kernels of wheat would be absolutely delicious – like something you’d buy at Panera. But, it was not. It was the opposite of delicious. I don’t think I know how to properly use yeast. There’s some magical step that I’m missing because it didn’t make my bread nice and fluffy. It didn’t even make it a little fluffy. I could not believe how much effort I had to put in to make something that tasted so disgusting. This is why I think we’re safe. If you’ve got a gun, go hunt for a rabbit down on the Interurban trail (I saw about 5 of them on my bike ride), and put it on a rotisserie. Because if you use it to take some wheat from a Mormon’s food storage, the jokes on you.
I couldn’t imagine going through the effort of making another piece of wheat dough cracker bread, then trying to get it down with some bleach flavored water. And if you look at the recipe pamphlet, the other recipes don’t look that much better. In a disaster, my guess is that I’ll probably revert to the “Thermos Wheat” recipe because it’s easy. It’s kind of a “college guy recipe” for wheat. You put a handful of wheat in a thermos, fill it up with hot water, then eat it the next day. By about day 2 of this, I’m pretty sure I’d be looking for people to share this meal with. Mostly, to hasten the end. And if someone showed up with a firearm to try and take it by force, I would hand him (or her) a big sample bowl of the wheat gruel and ask with a smirk, “Are you sure? Because you can have as much as you want.”
For those with the mysterious skill of being able to make wheat into edible bread, you will be in high demand, and I personally invite you to come live at our home in the case of a large-scale disaster. It’s like you can turn water into wine in my book.
Until then, we’ll be crunching away on our lukewarm Thermos wheat. Maybe on special occasions, we’ll pop some “Roasted Wheat Kernels” (A wheat version of Popcorn… or Popwheat as some may refer to it.) And likely, we’ll be praying that the food supply runs out quickly.
An exception to this is canned peaches. To me, canned peaches taste just as delicious if not even more so than fresh peaches. A few years ago, my wife canned several boxes worth of peaches. It was so amazingly delicious. But, it ran out within about a month. Our family can tear through peaches like nobody’s business. In a disaster scenario, you’ll probably come too late for the peaches. We’ll be eating those for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack – dreading the day we have to crack open our thermos.
Now, it is possible that over time we might actually figure out how to use some of our food storage in a way that does not sap our will to live. Even in this scenario, my reading of the scriptures seems to imply that we’re compelled to share until the end. So, everyone’s still welcome, and you can still have what you want. (You’ll probably want the bread, though, and not the wheat kernels).
If you’re interested in starting your own food storage, Tenille will be attending a women’s seminar on canning on July 19th and another one about the LDS cannery, Food Storage, and budgeting on August 30th. Give her a ping, and she’ll be happy to give you the info or go together. I highly recommend starting the food storage as there is so much interesting, basic information to learn about food preservation. As for the firearms to go along with the food, you can decide for yourself, but probably not necessary in my opinion.