Friday, November 7, 2008

It's about the basics

I got a link to this article the other day, in an e-mail entitled, "how sad." It talks about "Mother's Cookies", which are, if you remember, those little circus animal cookies that were frosted in either pink or white frosting (usually) and covered with fun little sprinkles. We have (very) occasionally eaten these cookies as a special treat, (our rarity of purchase probably didn't do much for their sales numbers) and they were good. It is a little sad on that level. What bothered me more was why they won't be on the shelves anymore.

Apparently, the company went out of business in October, and in a paragraph detailing the reasons for the closure, you can find this statement:

"They blamed a variety of economic factors, including the rising costs of fuel, flour, butter and sugar."

"Mother's Cookies" may not be a staple in your dietary menu. However, flour, butter, and sugar are needed for a lot of basic food items, and their prices appear to be going nowhere but up. You can make your own food, even if you can't make items as fancy as said cookies, if you have the basics. The more you have in storage now, the more you can avoid higher prices later. Fortunately, the price of fuel has gone down (yay!) but remember what they say about "sticky prices" in the food markets.

Ok, so you decide that you are going to get the basics, if you haven't already. Flour is good, and will last awhile, but not as long as wheat will. If you want even longer term storage and the ability to make your own flour, get some wheat and a grinder into your food storage supplies. I have hand grinders that I need to get using, but they are there when I need them, and that is the first step. It seems like almost every time I write something in this blog, I remember something that I should already be doing... :)

Third on their list of reasons for closing in the cited quote is butter. Over at Johnson Family Farm they have recently canned butter, and have a link to another site for directions on how to do it yourself. That. is. cool. Who would have thought of canned butter? Storing your butter without need for refrigeration will come in handy, and it will apparently last for quite awhile. An added plus for me at this point is there is not a huge amount of equipment needed (I still need to get a pressure cooker one of these times--but one is not needed to do this), so it looks pretty straightforward. Check it out if it interests you--I'm pretty excited to know that this method is so simple and efficient.

And this reminded me personally that I haven't done so well in the storing of sugar department. I do have some honey, however, which to my understanding pretty much will last forever. Sugar is found in a lot of recipes, and hey, let's be honest, some of the things that make people the happiest in terms of food are sweet. Who doesn't want a little more happiness when you have to deal with emergency conditions?

I do find it sad that "Mother's Cookies" had to close down. No one really "needs" the cookies per se, but they were fun and tasty. I'm sure that some people lost employment as a result of this business decision. The fact that they name the cost of such basics as flour, butter, and sugar as an important factor in their decision to close should probably send off warning bells to us all. Please get the basics into your food storage as soon as you can do so in a financially responsible way. You don't have to go into debt to get prepared, but if you do what you can little by little, it will add up. To borrow the title of the e-mail, "how sad" it will be if we find ourselves without the basics, and nothing to feed ourselves and our families in an emergency situation, when we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves now. It's a continual process for me, and I keep reminding myself that every little bit counts...


Anonymous said...

It is truely sad that the cookie company went under. But your post is very good.

If there is a honey producer close, they usually can sell the Honey in 5 gallon buckets, Combined with a Gamma lid make an excellent sweetner storage system.

Carl In Wisconsin

The Scavenger said...

Marie, that is sad, we love Mother's Cookies and still have a bag or two in the pantry. We found them on sale a while back and ofcourse bought several bags. I had no idea they went out of business. Have you tried canning butter yet? Wait until it's on sale and stock up. It's so sad that basic items that we all use on a regular basis have priced themselves over our budgets.

EJ said...

National Center for Home Food Preservation says:

In conclusion, with no testing having been conducted to validate these methods, we would NOT recommend or endorse them as a safe home-canning process, let alone for storing butter at room temperature for an extended period.

Marie said...

Carl--I'll have to look around here and see if they sell honey in that amount--it's a great idea. I also need to learn more about the gamma lids--thanks for your comment!

Chris--I would definitely need to wait for a sale before I could stock up on butter like that! It is a sad thing that even the fundamentals are getting hard on the budget--some are going up in price faster than others, it seems like--cheese is one item that gives me sticker shock. I appreciate your comment!

EJ--Thanks for providing the link. I'll be sure to put it in my next post so that people will be able to gather more information and decide for themselves. Thanks for the info!