Way back in 1998 sweet husband and I were just getting serious about our food storage. That’s shortly before we had any kids. We had the opportunity to do some canning at the LDS dry pack cannery and so we sat down to figure out what to can.
Well, we didn’t have a wheat grinder and didn’t really know what to do with wheat, so that was out. I’m not sure why we ruled out oatmeal or sugar or whatever else, but we did decide we both liked white rice so we meticulously counted up how much white rice we’d need if we ate it for every meal for an entire year. True story. And that is what we canned. A whole lot of white rice. Now I know you’re all giggling at the fact that you really can’t live on white rice alone for a year without suffering some serious nutritional issues, but we were young and didn’t think through this very well.
So let me tell you what happens when you buy that much white rice. After a while of having it fairly often because it’s easy and we always had it on hand, sweet husband decided he didn’t like white rice anymore. We weren’t even eating it for every meal! He rarely eats white rice anymore.
It’s a scientific psychological condition called “appetite fatigue”. He has a mild form because he’ll still eat rice every so often especially if it’s doctored up like in rice pudding. But what can happen in a disaster situation if you have very limited variety in your food is that people can decide they’d rather not eat at all than eat that white rice again. Especially children and the elderly. Children just don’t understand that they need to eat to live and the elderly may just decide it’s not worth it. Most of us in the middle would still eat it because we understand that is all there is, but that brings us to the nutritional issues.
Every day we eat a variety of foods. They each add something to our diet. We need a lot of different vitamins and minerals in our diet to be able to keep ourselves in good health and functioning properly. Variety is good. 365 days of white rice for every meal is not.
So here are a couple of suggestions for adding variety to your food storage.
1. Don’t buy all one thing to start with. We could have just as easily gotten a variety of goods canned that day including dry carrots, beans, oats, wheat, etc. Then we could have made more with what we had. Once you have a little bit of a bunch of different foods, then you can get all rice if it’s a good price or a bunch of sugar if it’s on sale somewhere and you’re just adding to your stores.
2. Get some spices and flavorings in your storage. Even white rice can taste different than white rice if it’s spiced up a bit.
3. Learn to use what you have stored in a variety of ways. Like wheat can be sprouted, ground into flour and baked with, boiled either cracked or whole to use as cereal, grown into wheat grass, etc. Powdered milk can be used as a drink or made into cheeses, added to soups, etc. Just because you have a bunch of wheat doesn’t mean you have to eat a bunch of wheat bread. Get creative.
On a side note, we have not purchased rice to eat since 1998. I have purchased some more to replenish the storage, but we are still eating the rice we canned in 1998. We have at least 2 more cases to go. There might be more hiding somewhere. They are a reminder every time I go into the food storage room of where we started and how far we’ve come.
Keep preparing! Angela
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Practical Parsimony says
I have never understood the “appetite fatigue” that people can experience. Intellectually, I understand the concept. I suppose I was not factoring in the lack of spices or different uses of a food. The reason I did not understand is because children in third world countries will continue to eat rice day after day to stave off starvation. I suppose I am in the elderly group, but my will to survive is so strong I hope I could overcome appetite fatigue. Of course, my storage includes a variety even though it is not as large as yours. Nothing I have is in those huge cans. Too bad!
Your first storage venture was humorous. Your mistakes will help us all to store foods more knowledgeably. Have you ever ground rice to make cream of rice cereal? I use my little coffee bean grinder with blades to do so. Cream of Rice is something I have always loved and is a different way to eat rice.
Being half Korean my mom would cook rice with every dinner. She still does. I don’t make it nearly as often now, as my wife doesn’t like it. She grew up in an eastern european meat and potatoes family. I have no choice but to diversify our preps, otherwise one half of us would starve :)
I don’t really understand “appetite fatigue” either — growing up, my mom made the same 6 or 8 dinner meals pretty consistently, and I still enjoy all of them. When I was first starting out on my own and could barely pay my rent, I ate tuna noodle casserole 4-5 nights a week, and I still love tuna noodle casserole! I try to vary my menus a lot more than the same 6 or 8 meals, and try new recipes regularly, but if I had to eat rice (or pasta, or any other staple) at every meal, it would be fine. Maybe it’s a genetic thing — I know my grandpa had Wheaties for breakfast every day for at least 50 years and never got sick of them. :-)
J. Acevedo says
I find this post funny, but I understand the concept & the idea behind it. To me it’s funny because we in Puerto Rico eat rice ALMOST every day. Especially white rice. So, for our storage, my hubby & I bought tons of… RICE!!! cans from the LDS Dist. Ctr. Oh, yeah!! and beans!!!
Anyway, we have a wide variety of other foods, of course, that we eat.
You can see it on my blog.
Mr Ortiz says
Do you mean beans as in pink beans (habichuelas rosadas)? Do you buy them in bulk? In FL, all I can find are little 14oz bags.
I have been able to get pink beans from the LDS cannery in the past, although right now all they are carrying are black, pinto, and white beans.
J. Acevedo says
At this site…
Under “Home & Family”, and “Self Reliance”.
Stocking up on spices is definitely worth while. Shelf life is typically good, it’s small and easy to store, and it can really change any dish.
If you ever have to live off of your storage, spices offer a variety of ways to serve it up.
Thanks for sharing.
I read that the cultures who eat rice as their mainstay, also use lots of spices. Some people don’t like spicy food. But I imagine eating only from food storage.
Indian–Indian stew with garbanzo beans (curried) and rice and even some naan bread.
Chinese–stir fry vegetables over rice
Thai–more stir fry with coconut milk and curry and thai spices
I think the fatigue also comes from finding a single recipe that works and not finding new ways to use an ingredient, like rice.
Isn’t there a food storage cookbook that can help with variety?
Also, the rice from the cannery is blah. There are many varieties of rice to use and they each have their own texture and purpose–sushi rice (not sure what it is called), jasmine rice, basmati rice, brown rice, black rice, red rice.
I go to a very large Asian supermarket in my area and they sell many varieties of rice in all size bags, up to 50# bags. Since it isn’t from the cannery, you can use the canner when your church group is canning, or store it in 5 gallon buckets.
Caren with a "C" says
I found I had 36 cans of sugar and we weren’t using sugar that often and I needed space for other food storage items. So I donated some of the cans to the local food pantry so it would go to those who needed it.
Debra Bish says
We’re still using & rotating/replacing our rice from 1993–still good.