The price of everything is going up, and I’m increasingly pessimistic about the long-term prospects for civilization (and, well, everything). With the supply chain disruptions and our culture’s constant obsession with Grievance Studies, it doesn’t seem like anyone serious is in charge anymore, and it’s getting hard to get stuff. People are sitting at home rather than working, further exacerbating the ongoing supply chain issues.
Anyone reading this blog is likely familiar with these problems. Just talking about them, though, doesn’t do much to solve the problems. Fortunately, there are some very basic things you can do to stock up and get yourself prepared for an emergency, if not the collapse of civilized society.
I love spaghetti. It is super easy to make and packed with calories. It can be eaten with a variety of sauces, or even just tossed in a little olive oil (or, infamously, ketchup and butter). Anyone can make it (perhaps I assume too much here).
It’s also dirt cheap. Sure, it’s gone up 10 cents a box from a few years ago, but you can still get a pound of spaghetti from Target for $0.79 (and possibly lower at other grocery stores).
When I realized—to my shock!—that my stash of spaghetti from the beginning of The Age of The Virus had run out during a winter storm a couple of weekends ago, I went ahead and ordered forty pounds of spaghetti from Target (I compared this after the fact to what I could have gotten at Sam’s Club, and the price was almost identical per pound; Sam’s might have been a cent cheaper).
Here’s a look at part of my stash:
My neighbor Bernard Fife brought me several old coffee containers (and even an old Tang container) to store some of the pot-sized spaghetti pictured here. That provides a more durable, moisture-resistant package than the cardboard boxes (FedEx somehow managed to get a few of the boxes wet, so I boiled those noodles right away), and this spaghetti should be shelf-stable for a very long time.
Sam’s Club was also running a sale on twelve-packs of Chef Boyardee ravioli, so I managed to pick up sixty cans for around $50. That also gave me the opportunity to test out my grocery store stock boy skills:
FedEx similarly dented quite a few of my cans, but I don’t think botulism is really a thing anymore (can someone more scientifically savvy confirm?) in the developed world.
My family expressed concern that all I am eating is Chef Boyardee. Rest assured, while I do plan on enjoying some cheap lunches with these cans of ravioli, I do eat a (somewhat) varied diet (I’m off my frozen Tombstone pizza kick). I buy bananas and oatmeal and all that good stuff, too, and love vegetables.
But back to that spaghetti: I bought forty boxes at $0.79 a box. Target won’t allow you to order more than ten boxes of any variety at a time, so I did ten boxes of spaghetti; ten of thin spaghetti; ten of angel hair pasta; and ten of pot-sized spaghetti. That got around their limits. With my Target RedCard, I got 5% off on those, so with tax I paid around $30.32 for forty boxes, or around $0.76 a box.
I also ordered quite a bit of spaghetti sauce. That’s more expensive—around $1.50 a jar from Target—but I also have lots of tomato sauce stored away, which I use to supplement and stretch store-bought sauce. I don’t usually brown meat with my spaghetti, but that’s easy enough to do, and in the summer, I like to dice fresh zucchini and squash into my sauce.
So, for around $100, I managed to stock up on spaghetti, sauce, and canned ravioli. A pound of spaghetti can last me three to four meals (I have a big appetite), so for around $2.50 I can eat three or four good meals (that’s around $0.63-$0.83 per meal).
Sure, it’s not Ruth’s Chris, but it’s filling, cheap, and somewhat nutritious. At a time when eating out easily costs $10—if you’re lucky—eating a meal for under a dollar is a blessing.
It’s also a blessing anyone can achieve and enjoy.