Saturday, 1 March 2014

Emergency Store

Andy follows a blog called My Foray into Food Storage. It is written by a lady who lives in a part of America that is prone to earthquakes and in preparation for being cut off for a few days in the eventuality of aforesaid earthquake, she, well, stores food. Lots of food. I mean, lots. No really - lots. Tins and packets and jars and boxes. She has one seriously impressive emergency food supply. Or one serious OCD problem. 

So I got to thinking about what I would put in an emergency food storage cupboard given that a) I don't really have a lot of kitchen space available for emergency food storage b) our cupboards are generally well stocked so that if we couldn't get supplies for a week or so we wouldn't starve anyway and c) previously, at say the mention of a bit of snow being on the way, my idea of emergency storage is to make sure we have enough flour for breadmaking, milk for the freezer, tea bags,  tins of beans and toilet rolls. I believe these to be the essential items to tide one through a few days trapped inside one's house. 

Andy said that years ago his Dad had an emergency items storage box put aside especially for the arrival of nuclear war. He stored it in their loft. Probably not the most sensible place to store emergency goods, really, given that in a nuclear explosion the first thing that is likely to go sky high is the roof of your house, with that tin of corner beef so carefully put aside ending up two miles away up a tree or some such nonsense. Cellars is what you need for these occasions. The first house I ever lived in had a cellar. Scared the pants off me, the whole 'underground' thing. I planned to hide under the table, put my fingers in my ears and hum really loudly. 

Most years, as we enter Winter, I think, 'Shall I store away a few tins and packets, just in case? Just for a bit of variety? Just so the troops don't say, on Day 5 of the Great Snow Chaos of 2022, 'Not beans on toast...AGAIN?' Then I could whip out some noodle and tinned pea concoction and say, 'No! Tonight it is 'Pea-Noodle Beans on Toast!' And wouldn't THAT be a surprise?!

'We have an emergency food storage cupboard,' says Daisy, who has dropped by to ask advice on her ISA investment for the tax year 2013-14. 

'Really?' I say. 'What do you keep for emergencies?'

'Well, we don't bother with bulky items like loo roll for a start,' says Daisy. 'We have other methods of keeping the poo tube clean and tidy...'

'...which we shan't go into here,' I say. 'Folks might be eating.'

'Are you sure?' says Daisy. 'I didn't think people were still squeamish about bidets in this continentally enlightened day and age.'

'It is a well known fact,' I say, 'that the majority of Brits who own a bidet use them for washing their feet and keeping aspidistras in.'

'Oh,' says Daisy. 'Odd...'

'So what do you keep in your emergency cupboard?' I say.

'Hobnobs, obviously,' says Daisy.

'Of course,' says I.

'And shoe polish, jelly, custard powder, a Wainwright's Guide to Fell Walking, Marmite, brioche and onion chutney,' says Daisy.

'Interesting choices,' I say.

'...and dried seaweed, coconut in a shell - none of this desiccated stuff - and Sugar Puffs, pan scourers, Lucozade Original, toothpaste, Scrabble, cheesy oatcakes, those tiny pasta shapes you put in minestrone soup, artichoke hearts in a can, pickled cabbage and meringue nests.'

I wait. There seems to be a lack of staple items along the pasta, pulses, rice and tinned tomato front.

'Is that is?' I say.

'Yup!' says Daisy. 'What else would one need in an emergency?' And off she goes to book an appointment with her financial advisor because it turns out I am rubbish at knowing stuff about ISAs. 

So here is my Question of the Day ( in the absence of anything more exciting to talk about) - What Would YOU - yes, YOU - put in a cupboard as essential emergency storage supplies? 


Countryside Tales said...

Well, I like the idea of brioche and onion chutney- can you buy it in Waitrose, I wonder?

I am a sucker for a fresh vegetable so would really be grumpy if I couldn't get those, but my mainstays otherwise would be rice, pasta, baked beans, cheese, rice cakes, rapeseed oil, herbs, salt and pepper and a tub of bouillon powder to make soup with. I would add lentils but while I love them, they aren't so keen on me :-(

If things were looking really dire I'd make sure I had books, pens and paper and probably a pack of cards as well. A bit like being laid up in bed poorly :-)

Denise said...

Well, yes I know I would definitely miss fresh fruit, veg and salad if I couldn't get them. And plenty of notebooks and pens goes without saying! Oh, and my blanket shawl. I have had it for donkey's years and have given strict instructions that I am to buried in it when I am gone.

Countryside Tales said...

Cripes! You know what we have both forgotten Mrs? (and this is unforgiveable):what about knitting needles and wool????!!!

Countryside Tales said...

And you've changed your photo! Is that a very small Flora I spy? x

rusty duck said...

iPad charger.
Electricity generator (to enable iPad charging).
Perhaps a bit more wine.
Oil for generator.
Charlie Bighams chicken kiev (with apologies to Daisy)
Heston's Hot Cross Buns, the new ginger ones are delish.
Did I mention wine?

Denise said...

Jess, I am surprised - I was convinced you would have wine in your emergency store cupboard!

CT, knitting needles and wool AND my entire arty crafty writing room. But I would need to install a small shower and loo and some sort of cooking facility. Apart from that, I think my entire life could be managed from 10 square feet of space! And yes, that is a teeny tiny FBM you can spy. The photo was taken the day she arrived with us - notice the sun streaming through the window? Last July! Last July it was sunny. Seems sooooo long ago...sigh...

Olly said...


Olly said...


Countryside Tales said...

Was it really last July she arrived? Goodness, where has the time gone.

I'd also forgotten Champagne for the emergency list (nudged by Jess's wine and Olly's chocolates, which I would also take) As well as a Chinese takeaway and several dvds of Jane Austen and Mrs Brown's Boys (and a TV to watch them on, and the dogs and Cleo.

Denise said...

Two lots of chocolate, Olly? Or were you just making sure?! And can you be more specific re: 'chocolate' please, because I would be pretty miffed if I dug into my chocolate store and found a Nestle's Milky Bar.

CT, again, can you be more champagne specific? I know nothing about drinkies because I don't imbibe and never have done and I wouldn't want to get the wrong stuff. And Mrs Brown's Boys? Really????? REALLY?????????

Of course I, too, would take my cats, and the hens. And probably Andy, too, as he makes really good brioche. Not fussed about TV but I think a radio is a must. With a CD player. (Hark at me being all retro!)

Olly said...

Oops, double-posted - although two lots of chocolate wouldn't be a bad idea. Green & Blacks Maya Gold, or Morrisions Sea Salt Caramel I think.

Countryside Tales said...

Moet & Chandon, of course.

And yes, definitely Mrs Brown's Boys. It makes me laugh like a drain nearly every time. M doesn't fully understand the appeal either, so if we all get stranded together you and he can leave the room while it's on. And watch University Challenge instead (although, I warn you- he shouts out the answers before the question's really begun, which is infuriating). x