Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wish we'd all been ready

There is not just one way to respond, nor is there a single answer to the world's food problem. It may not be within our capacity to effect an answer. But it is within our capacity to search for a faithful response.--Doris Janzen Longacre, The More-with-Less Cookbook, 1976
I sit here eating homemade whole wheat toast and looking at the morning paper--there's a photo of a local Asian grocer with a big bag of rice. They've had a run on rice in that store, even though the price is up--and they're having trouble getting more.

I don't think even Mrs. Longacre could have foreseen that coming in her eat-more-simple-foods-like-rice cookbook. Rice was supposed to be the last standby when we couldn't get meat...

But rice, some people think...who cares? who eats rice? Maybe when we get Chinese food...
"They see the reports and they are panicking,'' said [the store employee], who emigrated to Canada from Cambodia nearly 20 years ago.

Rice is a staple for Asian families, he said. At his home, his family of five, and his parents, eat an eight-kilogram bag of rice in two weeks.

"We eat two meals of rice a day,'' he said.
And if that doesn't wake people up, the cost of wheat flour is going up too.

Of course, some people--how this is possible, I don't know--don't seem to see a connection between "wheat" and "bread" and "flour" and everything else they eat that has grain in it. Did you ever hear that joke about bread rationing during WWII, about the lady who said she didn't care if bread was rationed because all they ate was toast?

These are some of the things I would like to keep doing during the threat of strange, tough times--or start doing, or do better.

1. Go back through some of my old-fashioned, '70's or earlier "frugal books," especially cookbooks; mark and use ideas that would still work and that I could pass on to others. You know, it's not the first time some of us have seen tough economic times; even the early years of our marriage (the early '90's) we dealt with very high food prices. Wedding rings were cheap, broccoli was not.

2. Encourage our family--everyone--to accept more low-cost foods--like hot cereal, beans, brown rice, homemade soup--and not to waste what we have. This is a big issue for us because we do have picky eaters.

3. Keep Peter Menzel's book Hungry Planet within reach.

4. Get better at creative/alternative baking.

5. Point anybody who asks towards some of the great money/food-saving blogs out there.

6. Use our pressure cooker to save energy, and the crockpot to save time.

7. Plan some no-cook warm weather suppers.

8. Focus on the non-commercial aspects of holidays.

9. Keep older things out of the landfill by continuing to use them, or "repurpose" them if possible.

10. Eat more potatoes.


Sebastian said...

For someone who emigrated from Cambodia the prospect of food shortages would be more than academic.
I've drawn my pantry way down because of a bug incident. But I'm thinking that I do need to have a bit more onhand. Good to have a bit of a fallback in staples in case of another earthquake or hurricane anyway.

Birdie said...

Kind of scary. We already eat a LOT of potatoes, though! ;)

Aimee said...

I loved this post. Thanks for the list and reminders of ways to be wise.

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