by Kellene


Preparedness should have nothing to do with panic, dread, gloom, or doom

As I shared in yesterday’s article, our preparedness articles should have nothing to do with panic, dread, gloom, or doom.  Even though some may consider the Book of Revelations a bit “dark” it’s actually not if you read it in its full context. While it does outline what is going to happen it’s also emphatic in reminding the reader that this is what’s going to happen, but you can still avoid the anguish and desperation by being prepared and trusting in the Lord.  Knowing this aspect about preparedness is why I have a huge problem with “emergency preparedness” companies that manipulate and take advantage of people’s misunderstanding of what preparedness is.  These companies literally prey on the lack of knowledge and preparedness and confidence in what they sell.

Panic in the mail?

For example, I got my mailer from a local “emergency preparedness” company this weekend, and yes, they do use the name “emergency” in their marketing. I perused through it and was simply disgusted—as usual.  They are offering a “year supply of food” for a “special price” of $649.99.  To be clear, this is NOT a year’s supply of food, at least not in my house. While yes, my home is full of freeze-dried goods, I do not enjoying living off of many of the products which are contained in this so called “years supply.”  And frankly, I know that none of you do either. This isn’t a year’s supply of food. It’s a year supply of suffering. What are these kinds of companies going to sell next, powdered water?!

On yet another page they have a hand-cranked grain mill for “only $64.95.” In the description it states “a simple way to convert your stored grains into wholesome flour or cracked wheat cereal.”  Ok, Folks. I’ve operated this hand crank and there is nothing simple about it. Sure you just load and crank, but do you think anyone would buy this if it said “A difficult way to crank out your whole grains and make them more edible. Cranking only two cups of flour burns the equivalent of a half day’s worth of calories on a regular American diet.”  The same holds true of the “Wonder Clean Washer” which you operate by hand and which barely holds an entire outfit of clothes. I get just as grumpy when I see their so-called “comprehensive emergency kits.” Excuse me while you bleed to death. I have all of this stuff but dont” know what to do with it.”  They advertise freeze-dried items as “entrees” which are barely enough calories for one meal for one person. I nearly have a coronary when I see the page that says “Gourmet Year Supply” for one person “only $3,649.95”!!!


Now THIS is what I call cooking from a preparedness pantry!

Plan instead of Panic

Let’s compare for just a moment. I have nice, tender, juicy chicken meat in my basement—an entire pound per jar—for which I paid 98 cents for.  I also have some freeze-dried mixed vegetables which cost me about $1 per casserole dish that I make. And then I have some Bisquick and some Shirley J Universal Sauce that I can mix up to go with this dish at a cost of about .43 cents total (with this month’s special group buy pricing, I can get it even cheaper than that!). When I’m done whipping this dish up, I’ve spent a total of $2.41 and it’s SO yummy—not just tolerable.  The same can be said of my Coq aux Vin, my Pork Green Chile Carnitas, my super sourdough pizza with all of the fixings, and my truly Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese that has horseradish and freeze-dried cauliflower in it. It costs $3.70 each week to make two beautiful loaves of bread (in my solar oven, even!) one pizza with all of the toppings, and one batch of cinnamon rolls! To boot, I can do it all in less than an hour without breaking a sweat!

The other day I was asked by one of my class attendees what I thought about buying “mixes” or taking the time to pre-make them and then storing them.  In my typical blunt fashion I told her that I thought they were ridiculous if you already have everything handy to make what you need.  Sure, I can see buying sourdough bread mixes, for example, because I don’t want to take the time to find or create a starter. And sure, I like my Shirley J Universal Sauce because I can use it instead of my butter, milk, and cheese sources.  But if a mix is simply a “white bread mix” or “cookie dough mix” in a bag, I’m not going to stock up on those items for any other reason than to provide a bit of physical respite should I become ill or disabled.  Otherwise, how hard is it to measure some flour, oil, yeast, salt, sugar and water?  I really think that some people work awfully hard and spend a lot of energy in the name of making their life easier.


Who can afford "emergency food" at these prices?

In spite of all of this, I see this business and many others like it thrive. They are thriving on ignorance, apathy, and laziness—the very same attributes which will destroy a community over the course of a few years of every day living, and in a matter of minutes in the event of a disaster. I feel ashamed that these kinds of companies are competing against panic rather than product convenience, quality and nutrition. So the uglier the picture of the anorexic, desperate child is, the more products they sell. Businesses like these make me fume because it’s no wonder more people don’t get prepared! With a price tags like this and miserable amounts of work involved to get the gadgets to work, who in their right mind wants to “be prepared?”

Don’t let the prospect of panic alter your sound, logical knowledge. There will inevitably be events in your life that will force you to change your everyday habits, but for the most part, we all have a lot more control over how we react to our financial and our food and water scenarios than businesses like this give us credit for.  The difference between you paying three grand for a years’ supply of food, and paying less than 4 bucks for three meals for a family with lots of leftovers is knowledge—pure and simple. Knowledge gives you just as long of a shelf life, better taste, more security in knowing that the food was prepared safely, and more money in your pocket.  Storing up your preparedness pantry in this manner allows you to purchase the really important things in life such as a solar oven, pressure cooker, or reinforcing the roof on your home, etc.

In closing I just want to say that I find it ironic that resisting the urge to splurge on unrealistic foods and gadgets in the name of a panic-induced emergency preparedness is critical for us to truly be prepared. We’ll be more sound financially, have more confidence in using what we’ve got because we use it everyday already, and we won’t be quite as stressed if we ever have to see our years supply of bogus, yet highly expensive, “gourmet foods” get sucked up in the mouth of an earthquake.



Clarice · February 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Kellene, I was just in that very store the other day, 🙂 and I know exactly what you are talking about. My friend “ordered” her foodstorage from them. Don’t worry, I am helping her understand that she better start adding real food to her foodstorage as well. She said to me just the other day “I know I have all of my food storage, but I’m still coming over to your house when an emergency happens!” I said thats fine, just to bring her extra toilet paper with her and I would trade her something for it. She was speechless for a few seconds. Yes it truely is a way of life to be properly prepared.

Louise · February 17, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I agree with your statements and wish more people were aware of this. When I first started looking into getting some grocieries ahead I looked at Freeze dried meals. I like there quality, but if you look at what they call a serving and try to live off of three servings a day while being active, you are going to be hungry.

Greg · February 18, 2010 at 12:32 am

Dear Kellene,

I enjoy your column, and understand you important point raised here about BEING prepared as opposed to trying to buy preparadness.

However, I’m a little lost in your math:

“The difference between you paying three grand for a years’ supply of food, and paying less than 4 bucks for a meal with lots of leftovers is knowledge—pure and simple.”

$4/meal x 3 meals/day x 365 days/year = $4,380/ year.

Granted the food is better, but still costly.

    Kellene · February 18, 2010 at 12:53 am

    You know what Greg, you caught a great typo. That should read $4 for meals for a day. I’ll correct that. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

Paul · February 18, 2010 at 12:38 am

Hey Kellene, love the blog! I agree totally that companies just love to scare people into buying useless things that aren’t focused around quality and use. The one thing I’ve been thinking about is using stored grains to make bread because the nutrition is so high. The one I also see advertised so much about it’s long lasting and ease of use is the Country Living grain mill. Have you ever used it or recommend any other grain mill? I’d really like to grind my own grains fresh for the taste and nutrition.

    Kellene · February 18, 2010 at 12:55 am

    I like the Family Grain Mill that’s hand cranked. But otherwise I use my Nutrimill. That and my food processor are probably the two items that I will generate electricity to use. It’s simple enough to do and dramatically conserves my own physical energy that way.

Mike · February 18, 2010 at 12:39 am

I have read your blog for a couple of months and have learned some valuable information. It now seems that you feel the need to be critical to newbies and our “ignorance” and competing companies for their marketing(panic).

What may seem nonsensical to you, a professional prepardedness expert with over 10 years of experience, may be the best a newbie can do budget wise or availabilty wise. I have been prepping for 6 months and learn everyday from reading blogs and forums such as yours. We have to learn, compare and absorb in making our decisions that fit our personal situations. I think you would agree that even “ignorant” prepping is better than none at all.

I purchased “hand-cranked grain mill for “only $64.95.” and it takes me 10 minutes to grind 2 cups of flour. I do not think that I use 1,000-1,200 calories in doing so. If I did, a new diet craze is in the offing…..

Your work is appreciated but a more tolerant discourse would be beneficial IMHO. Thanks for your efforts.

    Kellene · February 18, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Gosh Mike. I never in a million years meant to come across as critical to any one who is on any level of preparedness. Understand though that ignorance is not stupidity. It’s a lack of knowledge. There is a big difference. Very few people utilize knowledge when they are in a panic. It requires discipline…which is what I’m writing about on Friday.
    the point of my article though Mike is that buying these kinds of gadgets and fancified foods is NOT the best you can do–in the name of food preparedness or financial preparedness. In fact, buying into the panic hype simply causes you to spend more and to have a false sense of security in what you’ve purchased.

    I personally do not believe that ignorant prepping is better than none at all any more than I believe that someone owing a gun is better than nothing. Because simply owning a gun and not knowing what to do with it is a disaster waiting to happen on so many levels.

    Again, if you interpreted any growling in my article today, I assure you it was intended at those who manipulate and press the panic button and not those who are trying to learn.

razr · February 18, 2010 at 1:45 am

I can understand what Mike is saying…..However, I do not think Mike is listening……..On one hand I do understand. I stumbled into your site about a year ago. Like most it made sence to me. Not really knowing what I was doing ,I searched and one of your readers was kind enough to tell me about a years worth af food at Costco,which I purchased… Then I started going to other sites, looking and learning. More about nutrition,sanitation,water equipment etc…………..I have bought books,read contantly and am learning exactly what you are trying to teach us …to be independent! It seems to me that anyone with any get up and go would want to learn more and more about their own survival….I always come back to your site…but now have many that I go too….and I am having fun learning. Have been watching all of your Webinars and find them great….have signed up for the next 4 or 5. I don’t think that you are grousing at all. I think that you just want us all to think about our sutuations and act accordingly, so that we may be stress free and independent no matter what!!!

phillip pinales · February 18, 2010 at 2:59 am

OK if the freeze dried is not smart give us a list we need to start on in our stock room You may have already shared a list but alot of us are just now joining in on your mission .Preparedness Pro THANKS FOR YOU .

    Kellene · February 18, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Ah, but you see, I didn’t say that freeze-dried wasn’t smart. In fact, I use a TON of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. I don’t think that relying on freeze-dried MEALS is smart or frugal. I LOVE, love, L-O-V-E freeze-dried fruits and veggies though.
    I get a lot of my freeze dried goods from Blue Chip Foods, Home Storage Basics, and of course, my husband’s business, Five Star Preparedness–all of which can be accessed online. (if you’re local in Utah, I get a lot of what I need from the Macey’s Grocery Store)

Scott · February 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Kellene – funny timing. I just emailed the company you’re referring to today. I audited their “30-Day MRE Supply” for calorie content (okay, I like numbers and spreadsheets…). It contains about 1800 calories per day. I need at least 2200 calories per day for moderate activity, to not slowly starve. Their 30-day supply is barely a 25-day supply. In my email, I asked why they won’t post my review that lists the calorie content. I said it was irresponsible and unethical and could cause a catastrophe in a true emergency. My review was posted later. Most of their gadgets, tools, and kits are cheaply put together and lacking essential items. Not what you want in a crisis situation. I do periodically purchase some MREs (as a bachelor, I like them. Seriously…), along with a variety of #10 cans and water barrels. I’m going to try my hand at sprouts this weekend and will be re-familiarizing myself with gardening this spring (it’s been many years). When you asked “who can’t mix some water, flour, oil, etc.”, I saw my hand come up as I began to blush… I’m trying to expand into preparation methods you describe. In the meantime, I audit the calories of what I buy and make sure I’m accounting for the needed food groups (also have 2 years worth of vitamins and supplements that I rotate). Love to find a good woman who can cook – can’t seem to find one that doesn’t freak out at 55-gallon water barrels (hard to completely disguise). Just think if they’d see the larder… There should be a… 🙂 A great day to all! Learning a lot and love your work!

    Kellene · February 18, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Ok. With that bit of humor medicine, I’m going to have a GREAT day–even if I had to call off an entire weeks worth of me teaching on the road just so that I could attend jury duty! harumph! 🙂
    you and me, me and you–we need to teach you how to cook the basics. 🙂

Scott · February 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Cook the basics??!! Does that mean using that thing with the four round circles on top and a door that opens? (that space is great for storing MREs, by the way…). Agreed – and I do want to learn to use a solar oven for… something… I got a reply from that company: “In the case of an emergency, 1800 calories per day is completely adequate. Most Americans consume more than 1800 calories per day, although this is not the case worldwide.” Grrr… I don’t think I can continue to patronize them!

jamie · February 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I get the excuse “It’s to expensive to prepare” excuse all the time. Yet, these are the same folks that get $4.00 lattes nearly everyday, just bought a Hi-def 55″ LCD TV and spend $50.00-$100.00 a week having dinner and drinks with friends. They mock me and their friends that are frugal and prepared.
If they prepared they would have to change and they don’t want that, so when an emergency does come up they panic and make poor choices when they do try to shop for what they need.
I find that being prepped saves money. I cut my grocery bill in half and I always have plenty food in the house. Now I buy flour instead of whole grains (though I’m starting to get whole wheat grain)for my bread and stuff. I always buy “sale” items, because I already have the basics on hand.

@Scott On MRE’s, I ate way to many in the military. I’d rather have Ramen. Good luck using your MRE storage device. Check out Kellene’s Recipes, Cooking good food doesn’t take long if you have a pressure cooker.

Sharon McGuire · February 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I am just getting into food storage and love all of your information. I am trying to put together recipes for my 3 months storage to start with and was wondering if you have recipes that you share. It sounds like you have shared some that you cook in a pressure cooker. Any help would be appreciated.


    Kellene · February 21, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I have all kinds of recipes scattered throughout the last year of this blog. Simply do a search on “recipes” and you’ll find lots.

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