Well, I went to the local Walmart to get some prices on my Two-Week, Two-People Emergency Food Storage thingy, hereafter called the Tub o' Grub (T.O.G.). I spent more time in the convenience food aisle yesterday than I think I've spent in my entire life. I have to admit, I was pretty amazed. You can buy just about ANY food item in a plastic pouch now, most of them are the "Just add Water" types and you don't even have to go to a camping store! And because of my new found knowledge of this plethora of Almost-Ready-To-Eat items, I did a bit of tweaking on my original post to include some of these items.
The cost for the new two-person, two-week menu was approximately $135 (before tax). I bought generic brands when available. This does not include water or the actual storage tub for your grub. I'm was almost tempted to purchase all the items on my list just to see how large of a container one would need to keep the food, but in all honesty, we just don't eat most of that stuff. This little exercise was for my sister Christine, if you remember.
So now that we have the menu, the shopping list and the costs, how are we going to cook all this stuff? If you're at the point where you have to actually open up and use your T.O.G., you may also be in the situation where there the flow of energy you use to power up your microwave or conventional oven (electricity or natural gas) has been interrupted. So how do you heat up all those meals?
Well, most of us have an outdoor grill. But do you have enough fuel to get that grill going? Make sure that you always have an extra, and full propane bottle (or three) immediately available. Our propane grill has a handy-dandy little side burner, something that I would highly suggest looking into if you are currently in the market for a grill. During the summer grilling season, I would use that side burner to heat up things like baked beans and not worry about heating up the house by turning on the kitchen stove. During an emergency, the side burner would be much easier to use to heat up water than having to use the entire grill. The grill will also be used as an oven to bake the various muffins in your T.O.G., just place an upside down high-walled cake pan over the grill grate and then put your muffin tin on top of that. You'll have to monkey around with the burners to keep a somewhat constant temperature though. And avoid the temptation to open the grill lid often when using it as an oven, you'll lose heat and waste fuel! You'll also need an oven-proof pot and a large oven-proof (i.e. no plastic handles) frying pan to boil water and cook/heat up meals.
Another way to cook your meals is to use a Coleman Camp Stove. This way you can cook indoors (although make sure you have adequate ventilation) without worrying about attracting undue attention to yourself (Hey, look! The neighbors are grilling, let's go over there and ask them to share their food since we didn't bother to prepare for ourselves.) or having to deal with unfavorable weather conditions.
A fellow blogging friend of mine, Mike Yukon over at ---Living Prepared---, has done several great posts on the Coleman Stove and the handy-dandy Coleman Oven that can be used with it. If you are considering getting one for yourself, check out these posts: Camp Stove Oven by Coleman and Camp Stove Oven Improvement as well as his DIY post on refilling the mini-propane bottles normally used with the Coleman Stove, Refilling 1-lb. propane cylinders. His blog is filled with real-life, personal reviews on lots of products that one might purchase to round out their camping gear or keep at home for emergency use.
The Coleman Camp Stove is around $60 and the oven attachment is $35. You can get the small 1-lb. propane bottles at Walmart or camping store. There is also an attachment that you can use to hook up the Coleman Camp Stove directly to a larger propane bottle.
In the very near future, I plan on doing a few posts using some of the items listed in Christine's T.O.G. and actually making them on the outdoor grill or on the Coleman Camp Stove. Just to show her it can be done!