Thursday, 26 August 2021

Two is one and one is none!

My MinL was a lovely lady but when I first took note of her pantry, I thought she was a bit overboard. She had two of everything she used and as soon as she started one, it went on her shopping list.

Being young and relatively naive I always assumed you could just go to the shops whenever they were open and thought it a bit of a joke to have a spare of anything. Indeed, when shops were completely closed after 5pm and on Sundays, it proved a bit of a pain if you ran out of anything. Boy, have I changed my thinking.

None of us know what is around the corner be it a pandemic, ill health, terrible weather (an increasing threat), loss of job and/or income. Loss of a partner and potential loss of money because of it, especially if you are living on one wage/pension.

Whilst I got caught out early on in the pandemic by lack of flour, yeast and toilet paper (of all things), I have made up for it.

When I first married, shops just did not operate a 'just in time' policy. They all had large storerooms and even larger warehouses, where many months of food were stored. They had large cool rooms or refrigerated warehouses to keep fresh food fresh, for weeks or even months. Those cool storage warehouses may still be around but long term storage in superstore attached warehouses has gone. The advent of computerized stock taking changed everything. This 'just in time' shopping is impinging globally due to the current pandemic, Brexit for us, resources, cost of transporting and lack of lorry drivers.

It is no use storing items, of food in particular, that have a long storage date, if you don't eat it. Can you make several meals out of what you have or do you have 10kg of pasta and only 2 tins of tomatoes. 

What frozen/canned/dried/home preserved meat, vegetables and potatoes do you have? Corned beef can be added to potatoes and beans for hash. It can be made into a pie if you have flour and fat. We are now stocking tinned steak and tinned chicken (after trying them to check we liked them). We hate tinned potatoes but are fine with Smash, if it is made with hot milk and butter. Tinned fish can be made into 'pies', fish cakes or pasta based dishes.

Do you have cereals, tea and coffee but no milk, sugar or sweetners. It is all well and good having frozen milk in the freezer but if the power went out for a day or longer it would thaw. 

A tip about UHT milk I learnt early on was to step down to get close to the right flavour. For example if you drink whole milk, buy semi-skimmed. If you use semi, buy skimmed. UHT milk by its nature is more creamy.

Puddings such as tinned rice, tapioca, sponges, jelly, tinned fruits etc. Don't forget tinned custard, evaporated milk or long life cream. If you have babies/children, have at least one tin of milk powder if using it, any other packets/tins of food they are eating, nappies and other items. List and rotate everything so they don't go out of date

Create emergency meals occasionally to get older children used to them. It is all very well being a picky eater or living on takeaways but if you can't get out/have a lower than expected income for some reason, those won't be available.

Pets. Do you have spare pet food and anything else they will need. DS and DDiL have a large amount of food put by, rotated so it doesn't expire but they have 4 dogs.

Medications for us and them. We can stock up on over the counter items but prescription items are harder. Try ordering slightly earlier for yourselves each time to see if you can store an extra week or two. 

Petrol/Diesel. Always keep a full tank. Free standing gas heaters/cookers/camping cookers, keep spares if possible. Batteries, you will need more of these than you realise, torches, lights, candles and matches.

I am sure things have been missed here so let me know. Soon for us, winter will be here. Judging by what is happening weatherwise everywhere else, it could be hot, warm, exceedingly wet or freezing. Are you ready?


16 comments:

  1. I keep a fairly well stocked food cupboard, also plenty of toiletries and cleaning materials, and dog food. I've now also got a reasonable amount of tinned & packet food (kept in lidded plastic boxes) in the caravan - if we arrive late at the caravan or the weather prevents us from going shopping for a day or two, I can always make a meal from the contents of the cupboard. Can't store too much in the van though, space is limited! I've discovered that tinned potatoes, tossed with herbs/spices (I use smoked paprika and sage) and a splash of olive oil, then roasted, are actually quite nice. They're also ok fried or used in a fritatta. Like you, we don't like them simply boiled or cold with salad.

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    1. Thanks for the potato tip, we will try another tin cooked in that way.

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  2. My Mum always did the same thing and so do I. As One open and at least one in the cupboard. It can help in a lean period too. xx

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    1. Very true. I used to do it when possible when we lived on war rations but Brexit stirred me into it again.

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  3. Good list of ideas. I'd not seen empty shelves anywhere until the other day when I went to the nearest small Co-op and their freezers were more or less empty.
    I ran down the cupboards with the moving in March but am gradually building up again.
    As I could quite happily live on peanut butter on toast - my stock of emergency is Flour,yeast and peanut butter! So I'm OK unless the electric goes off for too long - but as everything here needs electric (going to miss my woodburner and LPG hob) I'm going to be in a muddle without electric for everything anyway.

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    1. We have one of those flat single gas canister camping stoves, has been very useful in the past for making hot drinks and soups etc.

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  4. It's a standing joke in my family that I'm short of nothing. If anything runs out, I always have another one upstairs in the attic. I have multiples of items in the cupboards and more stored in my Brexit box and cupboards. I've been the same for around 30 years, since a very bad time when it was just before payday and I had no idea what we were going to eat. I searched every bag and pocket and luckily I found a £5 note that I'd forgotten about. I cried when I found it and vowed I would never be in that situation again, and I haven't been.

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    1. Thank goodness for that £5 note! During the hurricane of 1987, we had no power all day and evening. DS was a baby but we did, luckily have a coke fire. I was able to warm water for his bottle, invite neighbours around for warmth and toast. Luckily we had a mobile chippy due that day, he turned up around 8pm and we were all able to eat a hot meal.

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  5. I usually keep 2 of most things like your MinL did. I buy another when I start one. It wouldnt surprise me if panic buying for Xmas stuff starts soon - the newspapers seem to be whipping up a frenzy!! I'm a convert to UHT milk - I'll try the s/skimmed next time as I usually buy whole and like you say, it's very creamy.

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    1. Yes, newspapers don't help do they but I think you might be right about Christmas shortages not that that will affect us much as we tend not to buy too much.

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  6. I keep a very well stocked food and cleaning cupboard. I wasn't caught out at the beginning of the pandemic except for bread flour and a friend fetched that for me from a local loose goods store. (25 kg bags were easily available, 1.5kg bags were not.) I keep an inventory of tins too as I am quite liable to buy too much. I think it comes from now having lived anywhere near a food shop for well over 25 ears.
    I have been buying groceries on line more since the pandemic started and make up a shortfall of the value of an order by buying tins or cleaning materials which is why the supplies of them have got a little out of hand.

    Interesting post. Thank you.

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    1. You are welcome. I make my cleaning materials and washing machine liquid, which only require a few items (except polish). My flour was way out of date but I used it. I now keep some wrapped in plastic in the freezer, just in case!

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  7. I keep a stock of dried milk - always useful in cooking if supplies of fresh are running low - plus I put a spoonful into every batch of homemade yogurt to thicken it. I also always keep porridge oats in store, for breakfast, for thickening soups/stews etc, and for adding texture to home made bread.

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    1. I blend oats to make oat flour for thickening, other than cornflour. If toasted before blitzed, they make a better alternative to ready break.

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  8. I try to have at least 3 extra's of certain things. Makes shopping in the pantry so much easier. I have trouble finding UTH milk but love having that in the pantry when I can find it, especially for baking.

    God bless.

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    1. It isn't always so popular but I do have a couple. Unfortunately, the best before date is always a bit short but I will just sniff and use if okay.

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