Coffee heat rising

Planning Ahead: The NEXT Covid Epidemic

So…as all of us already knew (except apparently the eager beavers intent on turning a few bucks by lifting the quarantine before it made sense to do so), we’re being told that by this fall we can expect a second wave of the covid-19 plague. From the git-go, epidemiologists have been predicting this — and suggesting it’s likely to be even worse than what we’ve seen so far.

While the dust is partly settled, anyone with half a brain should be preparing for this. A new flare-up will entail even more frantic stockpiling and hoarding, and even worse shortages of food and household goods than we’re already seeing. Now is the time to learn some lessons from the Mormons and build a stash of frozen and nonperishable foods to last at least three and preferably six months.

Basically, what they suggest is that you build up your cache a little at a time: when you go to the grocery store, buy what your family needs…and then some. In other words, if you would normally buy one week’s worth of food, buy two weeks’ worth. That is, buy an extra month’s worth of storeable rations every 30 days. Once you have enough to cover a year, keep it fresh by using a little and then replacing it with each shopping trip.

I think this is a good idea, but…we don’t have that much time.

What we here at the Funny Farm do have is $1200 stuffed in our pocket from Uncle Sam. I propose to use that money to begin building a store of food and necessaries that will last at least six months.

First off, it seems to me we have two categories of goods in this department: one is household items, and one is food items.

We know that when the panic buying began a couple months ago, the first thing people ran for was paper towels and toilet paper. Soooo…. Now that those things are available again, clearly they should be at the top of the list of things to stash in the storage closet. To that I would add batteries, propane, laundry detergent, dish detergent, window cleaner, soap, shampoo, disinfectant.

So, calculate how much you use over, say, a month, and buy six times that much. I personally don’t use all that much of these goods, so a single Costco junket could fill up the garage storage closet with enough  to last for half a year. If something is being rationed, then it’s a matter of visiting several stores a number of times, accruing as much as you can and stashing it in storage.

Don’t have enough room in your home to hold a six- to twelve-month supply of household goods? Well…what’s to stop you from renting a storage unit? Paper towels don’t have to be refrigerated, and neither do foods that are not fresh or frozen — that is, canned goods and dried foods such as rice, pasta, and beans. Find the space to keep the stuff you know you’re going to need in the near- and middling future, and get it now, while things are relatively quiet.

Now…food is somewhat more problematic. I have a chest freezer that, organized properly, will hold a fair amount of stuff, and of course the refrigerator in the kitchen also has a small freezer. I would be surprised if these two, together, would hold six months worth of meat, vegetables, and other perishables. But I sure intend to try. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll buy another freezer. Better to spend a chunk of your government dole on food ahead of time than have to thrash around to get your hands on enough to provide a decent diet. Or enough toilet paper… 😀

Too, consider that you don’t need perishable foods to create meals that provide protein and nutrients to keep you healthy, especially if you supplement your stores with some salad greens & veggies from the garden. A combination of legumes (such as beans or lentils) with rice produces the complete protein that you get from meat, chicken, or fish. My plan is to continue doing exactly what I’m doing now: alternate vegetarian days with meat-eating days. This means that instead of having to buy 180 days’ worth of meat and fish, I’ll only need 60 days’ worth, which even my small trunk freezer will hold. Creative vegetarian dishes are good to eat and usually cost a fraction of a meal with a meat entrée.

Especially now that the cost of meat has gone through the roof. At one local grocer here, I saw beefsteak on offer for $22 a pound!

Pet food would also need to be stashed. Early on in the covid panic, I made a grocery-store run for friends who were in their 90s. They were concerned, among other things, about getting their cat’s preferred chow.

Couldn’t find even a tiny can of it on the shelves of two supermarkets. Had to substitute…and with cats, heaven only knows if the critter will eat it. Soo…. In the course of stockpiling human food, it would be wise to build a store of pet food, too.

To feed the corgi for six months (she eats just under 1/2 pound a day), I’d need 13 or 14 large rolls of fancy commercial dog food….or 6 to 12 packages of Costco pork shoulder (depending on the package size) and 12 packages of boneless chicken thighs.  If you feed your dog kibble, you’d need to extrapolate 6 months’ worth from the amount you feed per day. I use kibble as treats, and so would probably need only one small bag.

So. This is going to be a project. Obviously I can’t bring that much stuff into the house in one swell foop. I’ll have to buy a little at a time over the next few weeks. Costco is rationing meat, so I may have to put my son up to buying pork shoulder and chicken thighs for the dog food.

A-n-n-n-d….just as I get this all figured out and a long-term list organized, Excel goes into a Spinning Mandala of Death! Dayum. I hate computers!


Recovered most of it.

This is a project I need to start very soon. Step one, though, will be to clean out and organize the freezers!