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Particularly for those with limited funds, I find MRE's to be a complete waste of money. Granted I kind of hated them in the army, and know my wife would never touch them...her palate is far more refined than mine.
You're going to be really miffed with yourself if you find yourself in a place where your stuck with fairly high priced food that no one wants to eat. My go bag and bug out box contain the same things that sit on the shelves in the kitchen and that we eat regularly. Each also contains water and a pot to cook in. I'll admit that I'm lucky in that I have a wood stove and hate to cook with gas, so I have a charcoal grill that can function just as well with wood. If after sitting down to a family meal of MRE's you find that you don't mind them, then full speed ahead, otherwise, you might be a lot better off with a pair of manual can openers and lots of chef boyardee. Even in the field with guys who were used to the stuff, you see people get the runs, or constipation, and guys always trade back and forth to get rid of the ones they can't stand for something they might like. Throw some hot sauce, ketchup and spices into your pack, you'll be glad you did.
A little forethought here can save you a lot of time and money. Granted, I could live off of them again if I absolutely had to, but I plan to not have to.
Your post is one of the reasons it is good for us to communicate thought the forums. I have been doing the shopping for the house lately, and with all the types of canned goods I have been picking up extras of, chef boyardee (I have to buy the cheap kind, but it tastes alright) is one I have completely blocked out. I have three kids that love this stuff, even the picky three year old will eat it, I will eat it with some bread to cut the taste a little.
Luckily my two oldest are boys so they will eat just about anything you put in front of them, the three year old as I said before is a touch picky. She will eat mac and cheese, there are a lot of easy to make types of this out there, it may not be the greatest health wise, but in some situations just being able to feed the kids comfort foods may be the healthiest thing we as parents can do, at least that is what I tell myself.
This is a good place to talk about what to do with a picky kid who won't eat the same thing you eat.
You can wait until TSHTF or you can do it now, When they turn down the meal and refuse to eat it, just divide it up between the rest of the people in the family and announce , " Jeffy isn't hungry, anyone want some more ? "
I guarantee Jeffy will not starve to death before he decides he likes it !
That was an excellent point David. I have never eaten an MRE and heard all the horror stories of the crap in a pack from my buddies when overseas. I figure stocking up on the same food we live on currently is a better deal as we are most likely going to have to survive in place like they say.
I purchased a butt load of Military MRE Main Entries from Emergency Essentials for $2.40 each when you buy them by the 18 pack. They had 24 different entries and I ordered 18 of each of them. They shipped me 4 huge boxes w/ 432 entries. The entries were all mixed up and took awhile to sort out. Purchased 12 Boxes size 12x12x12 and stuffed 2 types in each which worked out great. Cost a little over a grand but I have food. The date codes on the Entries were no more than 2 years old, I checked each and every one of them too. I was satisified with what I got from them.
Another cheap food is those Ramien Noodles at .20 cents each, I have a huge butt load of them also. I like the Mountain House freeze dried pouches, easy to make, no mess but kinda expensive. If anyone knows a source cheaper than Wally World let me know.
With the cost of diesel fuel and gas going up like is, and the problems in Mexico lately food prices will sky rocket soon. Being a Truck Driver I can assure you if you don't start stacking up on things now, you will be paying alot more for alot less.
Another idea is to get yourselves a copy of Peterson's Guide to edible wild plants for about $20 bucks. It's a great source of information should things really go wacky.
I've used the small propane bottles numerous times over periods of time between several weeks to over a year and as far as I could tell they had as much in them as they did the last time I used them. I've been buying them in 2 packs at Walmart or Academy whichever they were cheaper and have never seen any that "lost fuel" as an earlier poster said. I do have 2 other sources of fuel, but not because I think the propane will leak out of the bottles.
I have a couple of quick items to point out. If you live with woods around the property, build up a reserve of firewood. You can build a suitable fire pit for cooking and heating using concrete blocks. To gain as much heat as possible for coking and warmth, take a metal trash can or barrel, split it in half and set it in the rear of the fireplace. Even in bad weather, you can set up a tarp (prefer the silver colored heavier ones) as a shelter/lean to in front of the fire to protect it and to stay warm. Have a supply of all kinds of fuel available. Public gas utilities will shut down about 72 hours after the grid is down. They can't regulate the pressure fluctuations after that so for safety reason, it'll be gone. Small bottled propane for smaller heaters and Coleman like burners are great. If your house is going to get so cold that the pipes will freeze, shut off the water at the main line and drain the pipes (and save that water). Just because you have comfortable bed, when it gets that cold, have all family members sleep in the same room and seal it off with plastic sheets as this has been a long standing practice. Be sure to have sleeping bags that will more than ward off the cold. Try using the double sleeping bags as extra comforters and have enough inflatable mattresses which retain heat and insulate better than cots in a house.
When purchasing bulk food, I recommend ordering it from Costco and pick it up at the store or Sportsman's Guide who ship in standard boxes. Both are less conspicuous; same for water storage equipment. Don't forget farm suppliers (Tractor Supply) for a variety of equipment.
If you purchase ammo - keep it because when the EVENT happens, you may never get around round - expect government limitations as well. (Note for reloaders – it has been brought to my attention that you can use the powder and bullet of Russian made ammo to make cheap reloads.)
Make sure you have a well supplied medical kit and plenty of bandages, antiseptics, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and always baking soda and vinegar, which have a 1001 uses.