By Julie Murphy
When my children were younger, I remember standing in front of my pantry and thinking that I couldn’t get very many good meals out of it if I weren’t able to get to the grocery store to supplement what I had. It was then that I decided to be more deliberate in my emergency meal preparedness.
As a mom, I knew I was responsible for my two little ones and they wouldn’t be too excited with a can of beans or a pouch of tuna as a meal. I started creating recipes using items from my shelves, and once in a while, I would sneak a “pantry meal” into the rotation to see how they liked it. In case of an emergency, I didn’t want the food I served to make my family feel even worse in the situation we were experiencing.
My next step was to keep printed copies of these recipes and set aside the ingredients in the pantry for easy retrieval. If the power were to go out, I didn’t want to be searching too far for a needed item or be distressed because I couldn’t look up the recipes on the Internet. You just have to take the time to think through each situation and plan for it.
I looked beyond the pantry for other steps I needed to take to be ready for an emergency. I made sure I had plenty of charcoal for my grill, wood for my fireplace and water, water, water. I live in a suburban area and do not have a source of fresh water near me. I decided to turn a small coat closet into a water storage closet. I keep plenty of water in there but also tuck cases of water around the house in places that aren’t in the way such as under the bed or in our clothes closets.
My interest in emergency preparedness has spilled over into my job as an elementary school teacher as well. At school we have a small organic garden where we plant a fall and spring crop of kid favorites – carrots, potatoes, beans, radishes, and broccoli to name a few. We harvest the vegetables and talk about food preparation and storage. We have made pizza box solar ovens, fermented cabbage for sauerkraut, and this year we plan to dehydrate fruits and vegetables. I think it is important everyone know how to grow, prepare and store food at all levels of expertise.
My journey into preparedness started when I stood in front of my pantry that day. Your own journey can start with great resources from GEMA/HS and Ready Georgia and a desire to plan ahead. We don’t know what is in the future, but we can all rest a little easier if we know we have done as much as possible to plan for the wellbeing of those in our care.
Julie Murphy is a Fayette County elementary school gifted teacher. She is the winner of the first ever amateur No Power? No Problem! Recipe Contest, where her salmon pie recipe beat out other competitors. She’s currently competing against some of Georgia’s top professional chefs for the best recipe using non-perishable foods in the second portion of the contest. Visit the contest to view all the recipes, vote for your favorite and get a chance to win prizes!