Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review of Progress: Food Preparation List

I think the Food Preparation List in Rawles list of lists is very poorly written.  He says you will need an oversize skillet and a huge stew pot.  You need several huge kettles because you will probably be heating water on the wood stove to use for bathing, dish washing, and clothes washing.  He then goes on to say you need more kettles, barrels, and 5 or 6 gallon buckets. Then he reminds you not to overlook skinning knives, gut-buckets, gambrels, and meat saws.

That's it.  You don't need anything else on your list.  I think you do.  Here's a small list for the kitchen.
Grain mill.  I have one that's from the 80s.  It runs on electricity and also has a hand crank.
Camp/propane stove.  Easier than wood, although not renewable.  The house runs on propane, the bug-out place runs on propane, so does the trailer, and the camp stove.
Propane tank. 500 gallon tank at home, 250 gallon tank at bug-out place (need to upgrade that one to a larger tank...perhaps underground), two 40-pound bottles, one 20-pound bottle.  All kept full.
Solar oven. If you can afford to buy one then do so.  I can't so we have a home made one.  It works OK but won't last like a Sun Oven would. 
Dehydrator (electric and a sun box) I have my 30+ year old Excalibur that works as well today as the day I bought it.  I also take the trays and cover them with cheese cloth and hang them from the clothes line to dry the food out in the sun.  It takes a few days that way but it doesn't use any electricity.
Ice chest.  Great for a cooking box.  Heat your food to boiling, wrap in blankets, put into the ice chest for the rest of the day.  Dinner will be ready on time. I have several ice chests of different sizes.  Plus, I keep one in the back of each pickup.
Dutch oven.  Mine's cast iron.  Unfortunately it doesn't have the flat top to be able to put charcoal on top.
Stock pots.  Many. 7 qt, 15 qt., 21 qt., as many as you can get your hands on. 
Cast iron skillets and griddles.  Smaller for everyday, larger for a crowd.  I only have 10" cast iron skillets.  I have 12 inch in the heavy aluminum.  I think there is one for sale at a local junk store that I need to check on. 
Lots of pots and pans.  I have quite a few.  The normal every day set is in the house.  Another set is in the trailer, and a third set is in the bug-out place.  I have some extras that are stored in the barn. 
Sheet pans.  These I get at Sam's Club.  I love them.  They come two to a pack for about $10.  I have six, even though I only have four oven racks.  They can also be used when you want to individually freeze items in the freezer. 
Roasting or casserole pans.  Most people have things like Pyrex or Corelle bakeware.  That's great for normal everyday use.  I have those.  But I also have the half size and whole size chaffing dish aluminum pans.  I got these at Smart and Final but they can also be bought from Sam's Club.  I've had mine for over 25 years.  They still look like new and work perfectly.  I've covered them with foil and put them on top of coals, used them in an oven, on top of the stove, and also in their holder being heated with a Sterno.  You can buy the throw away aluminum pans, and I have a stack of those as well. 
Cake pans, muffin tins.  You need something for treats.  If you don't have enough muffin tins but you have muffin papers (you can buy a huge box for only a few dollars) you can place the muffin papers in a canning ring and the ring will act as the muffin tin.

We haven't even covered tools and utensils.  Get as many heavy duty ones as you can.  Just because you can stir with a stick from your tree in the yard doesn't mean you want to.  What about hand tools?  If you have food storage you probably have cans.  How many can openers do you have?  I have three swing-aways.  One is getting old and isn't very sharp.  It is going to go out to the barn after I purchase another one.  You can get them at yard sales or junk stores for not too much money.  Scour estate sales.  You will probably be able to pick up a bunch of kitchen tools from the 40 and 50s.  They used to be the rage in the 80s.  Now they aren't and you can find them cheap.  I have scraping spatulas, turning spatulas that are metal and plastic.  Go down the cooking aisle and take notes of what you would like to have if you could never shop again and you'd have to do all your food prep at home.
Knives and sharpening tools.  Get the best knives you can afford.  Make sure they feel good in your hand.  If you don't know where to start, go to your local butcher shop and as the butcher about his knives.  You will get great advice from someone who uses them as their basic tools. 
Colanders.  I have some that you hold against a pot as you are draining the pot, others are plastic and still others are metal.  They have different size holes depending on what you are draining.
Salad spinner?  Not only can you take the water off your salad you can use this thing for other purposes as well.  If you hand wash clothes and you need them to dry more quickly just put them into the salad spinner.  This only works for smaller items like socks, underware, bathing suits, etc.  It will also work for little kids clothes.  Even home made feminine pads.  Maybe you'll want more than one salad spinner. 
How many mixing bowls do you have?  I have glass bowls and metal bowls.  You just can't have too many of these. 
Measuring cups and spoons.  I have several sets, plastic and glass. You can also measure using canning jars.  Learn how to estimate teaspoons and tablespoons.  It's not that hard.
Plastic containersTupperware?  Get the heavy duty kind, not the cheap dollar store types.  Those won't hold up. 
What about plates, glasses, cups, silverware, etc?  We use ceramic dishes for everyday but I also have lots of plastic and even more paper plates.  In my opinion, if we bug-in when the SHTF I don't need to spend any time washing plates or cups.  They can go into the fire place.   A bag of 750 can last two years for one person. 
Cutting boards.  I have wood and plastic.  I also have the roast/turkey cutting board which has grooves to catch the juice. 
Paper towels.  I don't normally use them for every.  A roll will last months...unless a guest is here and uses 5 at a time!  I have about 40 rolls, just in case.  I also have the brown folded paper towels.  They don't pick up liquid spills nearly as well as the paper towels on the roll but they have their place for covering, wrapping, or even drying off your hands. 
Dish towels.  I use the white terry towels from Costco.  40 in the pack.  I also use the white wash clothes as dish rags.  You can buy them for about 20 cents each from Target or Walmart.  We go through a lot of these each day and each week I have a load to wash.  I include 1/3 cup of bleach in the washer and also hang them to dry in the sun. 
The list can just go on and on an on. 


  1. Sounds right for a church kitchen or convention. Overkill for a family.

  2. Have you ever preparped a Thanksgiving feast or a Christmas dinner for your friends and family? Did you use more than just your daily two pots and pans and one potato peeler?

    Are you really just planning for your immediate family who lives with you right this very second? We only have three people here full time but between kids and grandkids there could be 19 people, plus some sisters, brothers, their families... it's starting to sound like a church kitchen!

    Most people I know buy new pots and pans, dishes, dish towels, and glassware every 10 years or so. I want a good quality and I don't want to replace stuff. I've lived 2/3 of my life (that can be distressing in itself!) and if I didn't ever have to buy anything at the store again I'd pretty much be set... other than food. It may be overkill, but if I have the room for it and I've found it useful then it stays.