Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feeding your family and how much to store

A best seller in the 1970s was How I Feed my Family on $16 a Week.  This was part recipe book and part inspirational book.  It had some very good ideas for eating inexpensively, although in my family we would have all starved to death with the small portions (3 ounces of spaghetti noodles and ¼ pound hamburger total for the main dish for four people). 


Many of the recipes and tips could be used in a survival or home storage diet.  The book encourages you to make use of sale items, make a menu for the month, and to make food from scratch.  All these are good.  The book blows it for the survival program when it states that you are never to vary from your list.  You don't need to stock up for more than the month because it will go on sale by the time you need it next month. And so on. 


I'm sure the author Ms. York never had more than a week's worth of food on hand other than a couple of sale items that were purchased to be used later in the month.  This would not do for any of us.  While I also feed my family on the cheap, we aren't starving, we eat snacks, and we have between one year and 5 year supply of food, depending on the item. 


I do like making a menu.  It's not so we can be regimented each day to only eat what is listed but instead to help plan the type of food and the amount of food that needs to be stored for future use.  One of our favorite weekend breakfasts are eggs, potatoes, and fried bread.  If we raise the eggs and potatoes (and peppers and other veggies that are included in the potatoes), we only need stored food for the bread.  This includes one-two cups of flour, herbs, seasonings, yeast, salt, and oil or grease.  During the week we may eat oatmeal, packaged cereal, or if I don't have to hurry out the door in the morning, perhaps toast and eggs, pancakes, or waffles.  The kids like the sugar junk cereal and I will mix this with cheerios, rice krispies, or flakes.  For cereal we use ½ cup of milk (powdered after TSHTF).  Now the kids drink either milk or juice with breakfast and adults have coffee and juice.  The juice is home grown and canned.


If I'm planning a month menu I'm not going to put on the first we eat …, on the second we eat…, etc.  Instead I'm going to plan something like this: 6 breakfasts of eggs, potatoes, and bread, 5 breakfasts of cold cereal, 8 breakfasts of oatmeal, 4 of toast (depending on my baking mood this is raisin bread, bagels, or plain toast), 4 of pancakes, and 4 of waffles.  If I'm planning for four people, then I'd need to multiply the number of days by the amount of food needed for four people. 

Egg breakfasts

6 X 2 cups flour


6 X 1 tsp. herbs and seasonings


6 X 2 tbsp. oil

Cold cereal

5 X 6 oz. cereal (1 ½ ounces per serving)


8 X 2 cup oats


4 X 2 cups flour


2 X ¼ cup raisins


2 X ¼ cup sugar


2 X ½ tsp. cinnamon


4 X 4 servings of mix (Pancake/waffle mix)


4 X 4 servings of mix (Pancake/waffle mix)


30 X 2 servings


30 X 2 servings


If I add all of it up to figure out my monthly breakfast items, I need one five-pound bag of flour ($1.00 at Winco), 30 ounces of cereal ($2.50 at Winco), 32 servings of oatmeal (I buy the 100 serving box for under $6 at Costco or Sam's.  The raisins I make in a good grape year, otherwise I'm using ½ cup raisins in the raisin bread (or even more if I put it into cereal).  Pancake and waffle mix is more expensive because I like the more expensive brand. Still, the 80 serving bag of Krusteaz mix is $6.50.  Coffee depends on your brand and how much you drink.  We hardly use any in summer and more in winter.  We also drink tea.  Milk costs the most, 3 gallons a month of fresh (or dried equivalent) ($7.50) Breakfast all totaled comes to under $25 a month to feed four people. Aside from the cost, it gives me a good idea of what needs to be stored per month.  Multiply this by twelve months and it's easy to figure out how much to store for breakfast.  Of course, it's always nice to add extra stuff to have treats, but this is the basic with a good variety of food.


The following chart is supplemented by home grown eggs, fruit, and vegetables.  If we had to purchase those as well the list would be more extensive and more expensive.

    One year – Four people for Breakfast


60 pounds


Bagged Cereal

12-15 bags



4-5 boxes (100 servings)



2 pounds (more are always better!!!)

$  4

Krusteaz mix

5-6 bags



5-10 pounds



3/4 gallon a week if fresh,

<1/2 gallon per week if instant



3 or 4 cans


1 comment:

  1. Figuring it out like this seems much easier than just buying a bunch of stuff. You won't overbuy or underbuy this way.