Today’s article comes from regular contributor, Kosmo.
My family is at near-lockdown stage at this point. A week ago, the kids were in school, my wife and I were both working from the office, and we were set to go on a long weekend trip to a local indoor waterpark. The trip was the first to get scuttled. Late on Thursday, my company gave us the option to work from home for two weeks (which has since been changed to indefinitely). My kids aren’t going to have school for at least a month. My wife is hoping that her group’s work from home request, currently mired in red tape, approved today. If not, she’s going to burn vacation waiting for the approval. At that point, none of us are leaving the house/yard for a while. The vast majority of Iowa’s cases are in my county (thanks to an Egyptian cruise), so we’re being cautious with our human interactions.
We usually have a good supply of food on hand, but enough to last 4-8 weeks? Probably not. Over the weekend, I made a trip to the grocery store. What did I get?
- Canned tuna – I hate tuna (and pretty much all seafood), but the rest of the family likes it. The stuff’s good for a couple of years. I also bought a couple of jars of Miracle Whip to mix with it
- Other canned meat – I bought some canned chicken and ham. There aren’t going to be anyone’s favorites, so I’ll push them to the back of the pile. But if we need protein, they’ll serve nicely. Easy recipe: make Stove Top per the recipe on the box. Then add canned chicken, cheese, and a splash of A-1. Not everyone likes the resulting casserole, but I do – and it’s very quick and easy to make.
- Peanut butter and jelly – A couple of larger containers of both. While peanut butter doesn’t have as much protein as the meats, it does have some. We’re going to run out of bread before too long, so I also bought crackers to spread it on.
- Dinty Moore beef stew – My wife likes the stuff, so I bought several cans.
- Beef vegetable soup
- Hormel Compleats pot roast – I eat these pretty often for a lunch at work, so I grabbed several of them. Should keep things feeling fairly normal for me.
- Summer sausage – It’s good for about six months and doesn’t require refrigeration until opened. My daughter and I both it quite a bit
- Chef Boyardee for the kids.
- Pop – I’d go crazy without my sugar and caffeine
- Spaghetti (unprepared)
- Tomato soup – To make spaghetti
- Microwave Mac and Cheese – Velveeta shells and cheese
- Ramen noodle – I’m not sure these things ever expire
- Fruit cups – The store was a bit picked over, but there were still some peaches
- Raisins – Fresh fruit that lasts virtually forever
- Pudding – Name brand stuff was gone, but Hy-Vee (grocery chain) will be fine.
- Bread – It won’t last long, but it’ll keep things feeling normal for a bit
- Hamburger – The most versatile of meats.
- Hot dogs and brats – immediately threw them in the fridge to stall the clock
- Cheese – We like cheese a lot. Blocks of cheese had expiration dates a few months out, so I bought a half dozen blocks. Colby jack for the rest of the family; non-jacked Colby for me.
- Deli meats – Bought some Hillshire Farms 9oz tubs of ham and turkey. The expiration dates are a couple of months out. They’re good for about a week after you crack the seal.
- Bananas and apples
As you can see, there was a lot of focus on protein-rich non-perishables.
Note that we already had a stocked freezer before this whole situation started. So we already had plenty of frozen pizzas, pot pies, hot pockets, TV dinners, as well as several pounds of hamburger.
We’re also stressing food conservation to the kids
- We WILL eat leftovers. Eat yesterday’s leftovers today, so that you don’t have to dip into the reserves.
- Avoid waste by taking only what you know you will be able to eat. If you’re still hungry, have some more. But avoid having uneaten food on your plate at the end of the meal.
- Be wary of expiration dates on perishables. Once you’ve started the clock ticking (opening the deli meat, for example), focus on that item for the next several days until it is gone. Don’t allow food to spoil.
The food conservation tips are always a good practice, but we’re not always as diligent about them, especially when something even more tasty is just around the corner at the grocery store or restaurant. There’s no longer such a thing as a quick trip to the grocery store. Every outside interaction is a potential exposure. While we should avoid panic, we should also make smart choices and minimize outside contact as much as possible.