Friday, April 21, 2017

FLAG's Food Storage Journey

My journey with food storage began many years ago. While on this journey I have made some mistakes, discovered and have created many new recipes, come to understand the importance of grains and beans in a diet and have gained a great appreciation for the nutrition and health benefits that come from using them.
I started putting some food storage away before I got married and would attend classes with my Mother. At first I was just storing red wheat and white rice. As I became exposed to distributors of these products, a whole new world opened up to me. I am excited as trade has continued with other countries, some of the ancient grains have become available in our country. Besides their nutritional value, they taste great.
I guess one of the hardest parts of working with whole grains and beans was getting my husband (Burn), who grew up on meat and potatoes, to entice his taste buds into exploring new territory. This was not only a challenge for my husband but also my first 4 children. They loved the homemade bread, which is another story in itself, but they didn’t care for some of the taste and textures of the grains.
Beans were also a challenge. I grew up with my Father making bean dishes. I loved them. All my knowledge of cooking with beans came from him. He started my love of beans and my knowledge of them has grown over the years. But this too was a challenge when I was first married because my husband didn’t eat a lot of beans growing up.
I decided that my family needed to learn to eat what I stored because there was no point in storing it for emergencies if they couldn’t enjoy the blessing of it on a daily basis. If all of the sudden, I exposed them to grains and beans because there was an emergency, I would be dealing with a grumpy family. Plus I also needed to be familiar with how to cook with them, what spices I should store to enhance their flavors and what grains and beans my family preferred over other ones. (Editor’s note: I think it’s amazing that someone who did not grow up with food storage understood that you must eat what you store. I sure married well!)
This process was not an overnight success. I bombed a couple of times on making bread. Didn’t knead it enough, put too much flour in the dough. Eventually I got down the technique by hand and had a great success. It was the same with beans. I decided that twice a month on my menu I would make a bean dish. This did not go over well with my family and some of my kids went to bed hungry. My husband would eat a small bowl to set an example for the kids. But once they were in bed, he was in the kitchen grabbing what he called “real food”.
It was the same with grains but a little easier. I started to add a handful of millet, quinoa, or barley in soups and stews. If I made hamburgers or meatloaf, I would add grains into that too. Breakfast with grains were my easiest. The kids loved cream of wheat and oatmeal. I can’t say that every meal went forward without a hitch but I didn’t give up. I kept moving forward, DETERMINED!!
Now I can say that my struggling with learning, experimenting and changing my family’s taste buds has worked. My older children were my experimental team. My younger children are benefitting from their older siblings trial and error era. Beans are one of my husband’s favorite meals. Five of our older children have moved out of the house. They include grains and beans in their diet and are always calling home to get advice how to use them in meals and cook them. I have helped them to not make some of the mistakes that I have made.

I find it comforting to know that dealing with my family’s attitude as I exposed them to the world of food storage has finally paid off. My son called from college the other day. He was wanting recipes for beans, a crock pot and a rice cooker. His first few years in school he ate whatever was quick. A lot of frozen products. He is now missing real food and is working on how he can use beans and grains fast during the school year. He is using the summer to learn and experiment so that this coming school year will be more satisfying as far as eating goes. As the conversation came to a close, he said, “Mom, I understand why you bought your food storage in bulk”. He is discovering how much more expensive it is to purchase in small quantities. But the truth about ordering in bulk is that I live in a small town, hours from a big city. So I do a yearly grain order so that I can get the items cheaper and not have to leave town to purchase them.
I am hoping that my writing will help you on your journey with working with food storage. The challenges will still be there with dealing with complaints from your family. But don’t give up. I promise in the end you will be successful. This is a wonderful journey. I have been doing this for over 30 years. I still get excited as I make up a new recipe, try a new one out that I found in a magazine or on line. Most of the time when I find a recipe, I say “What can I do to make this healthy and add food storage items?” So I do a lot of tweaking with recipes to meet the needs of my food storage program.
My food storage program is used daily. It is an integral part of our life. We eat what I store always. So now if there is an emergency in our lives: financial, natural disaster, etc., if we had to live off of what we have stored, our family would not know a difference.