Amateur Prepping

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:

Lots of Spaghetti

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:

Ravioli Pyramid

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.

Happy Prepping!

—TPP

47 thoughts on “Amateur Prepping

  1. Tyler, speaking as someone obsessed with both food and cooking I salute you. My personal motto is: Never Knowingly Undercatered. A friend of mine from years ago used to say, “when the war starts I’m going to Ali’s”.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Mmmm, pasta. I could eat it with everything and probably would if Tina let me. Cheap as chips and like you said, goes with everything. It’s a good staple for students saving beer money – a plate of pasta with either a tomato sauce or something else (grated cheese) on top can fill your stomach for a day, handy if you want to line it later with alcohol! Alys will probably call me a sick puppy here (what’s new? I get the same from Tina!) but gravy is nice on pasta. After all, all it needs is a sauce.

    Best food for prepping? Pasta, rice, tinned stuff, biscuits. Lasts ages. And I love Ravioli! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Costco has these emergency meal kits for about $79 which have 28 servings and a shelf life of 30 years. That’s about 2.5 dollars a serving I think. There are more expensive and extensive ones if you google Costco emergency food supplies. I’ve considered them, just in case.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. As one Southerner to another – you may want to find a cool dry place to store the pasta; those little dark specks in the pasta box are weavils. I don’t know that a cabinet on an exterior wall is the best place to store them.

    Suggesting meat things as well – such as corned beef hash in the can and other meat-based products. Man does not live by pasta alone, my friend. They are still relatively inexpensive so get them now. I normally keep them on hand for hurricane season, anyway.

    If you have an electric kitchen, you might consider a small outdoor grill. Also, the internet is replete with videos on how to make camping ovens – easy, quick, and cheap. If AOC gets her way, we may have to learn how to rub two sticks together but it’s wise and prudent to buy multi-pack units of the old-
    fashioned stick matches. I keep them on hand for h. season as well, for lighting candles and my stove, which is gas but with electric ‘ignition’ – when the power goes out, I’m still able to cook hot meals using the matches to ignite the flame on the burners.

    Keep in mind that not everything has to be stored in the kitchen, almost any closet shelf is good or a corner in a room rarely used – the boxes and cans don’t have to be unsightly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, my neighbor Bernard Fife gave me some plastic coffee containers to use for storage. They work really well for the pot-sized pasta. Those are stored in a cool, dry cupboard. I will eventually transfer all of the pasta into plastic containers for the very reason you mentioned.

      Thank you for the meat recommendations. Corned beef is something I’d love to have on hand, as well as any other canned or tinned meats.

      My kitchen is all electric, but I do have a good propane grill. Bernard has been trying to convince me to buy a propane heater in case we lose power during the cold months; it’s something I will do when funds allow.

      Thanks for the tips, Audre!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have food stored under the bed, mostly marmalade at the moment and some apple butter I made in my slow cooker before Christmas but also some tinned stuff and dried fruit. Well, you never know this time of year when it might snow (she said hopefully), the country grinds to a halt because we have a couple of inches of the white stuff and anyone over forty is too scared to go out in case they slip and break a hip or something.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for bringing up the weavil issue. There can also be moth problems with pasta, rice, grits, and if you find one weavil or moth check every thing made from grain. I learned last year they also like bird seed.
      We keep emergency rice in a fridge in the barn.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Little tiny moths??? I wondered where they were coming from! I’m going to have to do something with my stash, then. Thank you for the head’s up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I had no idea moths could be a problem with grains. I am in the process of transferring my grains into solid, plastic containers. The idea of putting rice in a spare refrigerator is also very clever. Thank you, Aunt Marilyn!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My go-to is MREs, varied menu, lots of both protein and carbs, and if necessary self-heating. About 2000 calories per, as I recall. And store anywhere, I used to keep a couple in the vehicles for blizzard use. The only real downside is that you need a fair amount of potable water, not a problem in blizzards, but otherwise a water filter is indicated, something better than dehydrated coffee would be nice. But a bag of Black Rifle and a pourover fixes that, I’m not an infantryman that has to haul it on my back after all. Price, don’t know anymore, Bought a bunch 5 years ago, about a month’s worth, so haven’t checked the market. Wonder if the pizza slice one is on the market yet! I seem to remember paying about $75 for a case of 20-25, but could be well off. Fort Natick for the win.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Let me know when you will be in Aiken and I will bring you some canned goods from the garden. I have green beans, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, fig jam, and more.

    From your fellow Prepper’s wife

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not sure you can ship liquids. When I mail to my children in Washington state I always have to sign that there are no liquids in my box. So I wait until we fly to take them my canning products. The TSA probably hate me. Every time I pack these items I end up with a note from them in my luggage. I wrap my jars in bubble wrap, then a ziplock bag and stuff them in my boots. Haven’t had one break yet. 😂

        Liked by 2 people

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