Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 88 Final Thoughts

In two days our family will have gone 90 days without at major trip to the grocery store. We failed at making it all the way without any trips to the grocery store due to a shortage of formula and some deodorant. Nevertheless, we have gained valuable experience and friends along the way for which I am grateful. In one of my searches I encountered the idea that the best way to prepare for calamity if you live in Montana is to carry a gun or know a Mormon; Mormons have food stored in preparation for Armageddon. I chuckled, it is good advice. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, as they prefer to be called, does know a lot about storing food. They have been so counseled for over a 100 years. If one has the desire to learn and there are Mormons around, make friends. If there are readers of this blog who are LDS, make friends with the neighbors. God is no respecter of persons in times of plenty or of want. I am most grateful for my Hindi neighbors who taught me how to savor Indian dishes. The curried potatoes and okra was the best dish we tried. I am grateful for the Mexican, Japanese, and German dishes that added versatility to our menu. Beyond preparing food, one is in great company when sharing cultural beliefs, traditions and values that encourage stepping out of the world. I gained a valuable ally when I read the thoughts of a Jewish father sharing his gratitude for Kosher Dietary Law which helps his children internalize the need to set themselves apart from the selfish, narcissistic, entitlement mentality of pop culture.

The failure to have faith on oneself to do hard things (including cooking from scratch) is a curse. The failure to believe in others is a greater affliction. Government policies that provide goods and services requiring nothing in exchange destroy the individual, families and nations. The living standards of the Native American Nation on reservations is evidence of this plague of the dole. Building self esteem by building self reliance to live off food stored at home is perhaps the most effective way to combat this evil. Quickly faith in oneself translates to a belief that others too can provide for themselves without government intervention. The curse of laziness is lifted.

This nation is at pivotal crossroads. Storing supplies in ones home goes far beyond protecting against natural disasters, unemployment, pandemics, and world financial collapse. I have a far greater hope for America. No other nation on the Earth has embraced a democratic republic form of government encouraging a capitalistic economy. This form of government works great as long as people govern themselves with moral courage to defeat greed and selfishness. The great number of little league sports teams that are sponsored by private business is a single indicator to me of the generosity of the human heart if given a chance to succeed. The great Universities in our state, Hospitals, and the Museums of Art have resulted and are maintained because of the philanthropy of individuals. Certainly the incidence of giving far exceeds greed. As a nation we can protect the American dream if we can keep ourselves from crawling to governments for aid. When we ran out of formula, I felt that pinch. Would I go to a government agency to get nourishment for my baby? The alternatives weren't working. Hunger will drive people to compromise principles. Power hungry rulers induce hunger by increasing dependence. Let's preempt evil, power and greed starting with feeding our families providently.

Beyond national economics, let's protect ourselves with a diet that diminishes risk of Cancer, Heart disease, and Attention Deficit Disorder to name a few. Let's invest in relationships. Some of the best moments we have shared the last three months were rolling out bread sticks, flavoring the tomato sauce and tasting our cooking experiments together. Physical and emotional health benefits are innumerable when eating a diet that is based on whole foods.

Of all the food on our shelves, I was most grateful for basics of wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, and legumes. Topping my wish list is to increase the variety of those grains - quinoa, buckwheat, couscous, more brown rice, and others. These basics are part of our normal diet and ensure that I always have something to cook. Next, it is comforting to have bottled, dried or frozen vegetables on hand. For us tomatoes are a staple. With tomatoes and grains we can eat pizza, spaghetti, tomato soups, lasagnas, and macaroni dishes in any number of forms: calzones, empanadas, miniature or grande, salad combos and hot entrees. Having meat is a luxury and I want to have meat. I am freezing and bottling meat. All the other items from butter and chocolate chips to spices I will continue to purchase when the price is right according to our preferences. It is entirely feasible to live off one's shelves for months without missing the grocery store.

Breakfast: Whole wheat cinnamon rolls with cheese melted on top
Lunch: Tuna sandwiches and tuna salad
Dinner: Dirty Rice with taco meat, tomatoes, onions, leftover rice, spiced with extra cumin, salt, and chili powder. We topped it with mozzarella and green onions. Delicious.


  1. Crystal, I am so glad that I found your blog and it has truly been fun each day to read about your adventure. You have inspired me and I feel happier knowing that people like you and your family are in the world.

    I hope you will find another excuse to keep blogging. Thanks for your words and your example.

  2. what a perfect wrap up! thank you for sharing your journey. You are a celebrity and a hero to our family!

  3. Crystal, This has been fun to read. You have done a marvelous job in writing this blog. What an undertaking. We love you. Ralph and Margaret

  4. Thank you for all your cheers, comments and encouragement!

  5. I have so enjoyed your thoughts, musings and creativity throughout your experiment. I also loved how your family was on-board with your experiment - kudos for them!

    I loved the comment about, “or know a Mormon” when it comes to knowing about food storage. The sad thing is that the LDS church has stated that only about 15% of its population is actually prepared with a year supply of food storage (the amount that is recommended). Kind of scary.

    Generally my family only goes to the store once a month and we try to cook everything from scratch because it is healthier, tastier and just too darn expensive to buy everything already prepared. I work full-time and so it saves me time to not have to go shopping so often or worry about what I am going to fix for dinner. We shop for food in our basement and replenish our “store” from the retail store when sales come on (we call it R&R – rotate and replenish).

    Just to let you know, the LDS church also has dry pack and wet pack canneries that everyone can use, even if you are not a member of the church. You can check out what our leaders recommend at these links: for Emergency Preparedness and Response or for Family Home Storage,11677,1706-1,00.html

    I also have a website ( with food storage worksheets ( and calculators to help you figure out what you need to store for three months, six months or a year that is geared to how you and your family wants to eat. These are not the regular calculators that you find everywhere on the internet, but these are worksheets that, when you are finished filling them out, can help you figure out exactly the amounts of each and every item you need to store of the foods that your family eats – everyday! When you get done, you will have a personalized family cookbook that you can print out and you will know exactly what you need to have in your storage, what shelf stable items you need, and you will have a realistic idea when you have achieved your goal.

    Good luck and thank your for your persistence and dedication to a very worthy cause – taking care of and building our families!

  6. Thank you! I loved exploring your blog. I can't wait to try substituting beans for oil. What wealth of information! Thank you for the support.

  7. I am a Mormon and I do constantly try to convince my neighbors here in California the value of storing up some food and supplies.

    Mostly it falls on deaf ears. Most people just can't conceive of a time when they will not be able to go to the grocery store, or that FEMA wouldn't be at their door with food should something terrible happen.

    Thanks so much for blogging your experiences AND your opinions. It is comforting to know that there are so many kindred spirits in our great land who desire the freedom to succeed, or fail, on their own.