Well, for this post, I am going to be liberally cutting, pasting, and linking. I will start out with a large portion of an e-mail that my best source (Mom) sent out recently, that underlines the importance of having the tools you need to work with the food and other items that you store. After all, food doesn't cook itself, and clothes don't come with self-mending mechanisms... :) The following is an excerpt from said e-mail:
"I know most of you will have most of these. However a large number of you may never have cooked EVERYTHING from scratch so may be missing some of them or not know where they are among the wedding and shower gifts that have never been unpacked! :) This is just a check list to get you thinking of what you need...ESPECIALLY THE NONELECTRIC ITEMS.
Anyone who can add to this list of "indispensible items" please let me know and I will update it!
Please make certain you have GOOD QUALITY basic tools for preparing food:
Two or three pots/pans with lids
At least one skillet, preferably two, one small and one large
Large soup pot with lid
Cookie sheets and cake pans
Two or three mixing bowls of graduated sizes
Egg beater for use if there is no electricity
Potato masher (Yes they still exist!)
Sturdy spoons for mixing heavy dough (wood or stainless steel)
Sharp knives of several sizes Make at least one a serrated one for slicing soft veggies
Cutting board that can be easily cleaned and sanitized
Some type of chopper/ shredder and grater that is nonelectric (think nonelectric food processor)
Vegetable peeler ( I always have two so I can get help to make a tedious job go faster!)
Sewing/Mending Items These can be acquired very inexpensively a few at a time with the sales and/or discount coupons at the fabric stores (Be sure to use a coupon for the scissors)
At least a dozen assorted needles ...both sharps and ballpoints
100-300 pins Choose some sharps and some ball point
One or two large spools each of thread in black, navy, white, brown and cream colors (watch for sales)
One or more regular sized spools of favorite colors for family's clothing
Seam ripper (As ye sew, so shall ye rip) This will save a LOT of time
GOOD cloth scissors....hide them in your sewing supplies so no one will ever cut paper or plastic with them
Pin cushion.... so you don't lose the pins and needles
Sewing ruler with slider to make hemming easier You may have to shorten or lengthen pant legs or skirts.
A few buttons, snaps and /or hooks and eyes and maybe some velcro
Lots of safety pins in several sizes (my favorite emergency tool)
A few zippers in favorite colors to replace broken ones
Several packages of "universal fit" sewing machine needles...for yourself if you have a machine or for whomever you ask to help if you don't have your own machine.
Most experienced seamstresses will be happy to help or show you how to do something, especially if you have your own tools.
Thank you for preparing. "
End of e-mail excerpt.
I would welcome any suggestions in the comments--and hey, I'm pretty sure my best source reads my blog :), so if you have any input on basics like this, it will probably be shared far and wide.
My first priority is to get the food supplies in stock, and then I try to figure out ways to use them. If you have read my blog in the past, you will likely have noticed that I have had varying success with how these little projects turn out. However, having good tools to do the job makes it easier, and practice can only improve my skills. My latest purchase? A new wire whisk has been ordered, and will hopefully be a little more sturdy than previous utensils of that nature that I have owned.
Riverwalker, over at Stealth Survival, recently had a post on food peelers, and pointed out that if you have a good peeler, you eliminate a lot of food waste. I also appreciated his post, Eating--A Necessary Adventure, where he asks crucial questions about what we will do if our food supply is cut off for whatever reason. Things to think about and prepare for--hopefully these things won't happen, but it's always good to have a plan B. Or to reconfigure and/or supplement our plan A...
Finally, I like this idea, found over at Today While the Sun Shines, taken from the "Weekly Wisdom #8" section:
" Timely Tuesday – Today is a day to think and make a list. What I am going to do today is write a list of all of the skills I believe my children will need in the future. And then attempt to check off that list as I teach them. I believe that our days of "normal" education are no longer adequate for the lives our children will live. They need to have real life skills, survival skills, back to basic type skills, as well as education, high tech skills, and low tech skills. Skills to deal with economic trials, and leadership skills. I do not like to knock the public school systems, but the reality is, they don't teach all of these kinds of things to our children, and we as parents have that responsibility to do so. So today make that list, think into the future of your kids / grandchildren and try to imagine what they may need to know, (I know that is a tough one) and then get to work teaching. Make use of those family home evenings, and any teaching moment. Teaching something is also the best way to really learn it."
I love this idea, because you have to know what you're doing with and/or how to supplement your supplies, (at least you should know :) and why not enlist your children to help you by teaching them ? And if you are just learning, (in many cases, like me) why not have more people learning at the same time? I definitely need to make a list of this nature--and then work on it.
Food storage will be better used if we try to use efficiency in our efforts. We can have more efficiency if we use the appropriate tools. We will be more efficient in taking care of our needs food-wise if we learn the necessary skills. And we can be more efficient if we work together. Food storage goes beyond just stockpiling the food, and I need to work on my efficiency. It'll likely be a lot of work, but in the end, if our food supply is better for us, lasts longer, and can be perpetuated, what's not to like?