Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Have you seen a 1/4 cup lately?

When we were down at my parents' for Thanksgiving, one of my children was messing around with a little plastic scoop. You probably have seen the type--it looked like it came out of a drink mix container of some kind. Not very big. As I was talking to the child about it, my mom said something to the effect of, "I have a scoop like that in the storage room with some plastic sandwich bags, and if things get bad, when someone needs food I will give them one scoop of rice and one scoop of beans and send them on their way."

All of the sudden the scoop was worth looking at more closely. I use 1/4 cup measuring cups when I cook/bake, but when I thought about how many beans would fit in that scoop, it didn't seem like much. You may recall that in earlier posts I have talked/quoted about survival amounts of food--the absolutely bare basics, which are 3/4 cup of rice and 3/4 cup of beans daily. Thing is---the 3/4 cup serving results from cooking 1/4 cup rice, and the 3/4 cup of beans results from cooking 1/4 cup of beans. What you start out with looks like a lot more after you cook it--always a good thing when you're hungry.

This little reminder could be looked at two ways. I was thinking how I would feel if I needed food and someone handed me those scoops worth of food. I'm thinking off the top of my head that it wouldn't look like very much, and frankly, I'm not sure I would be that happy about it. But what if you looked at it like this, especially if you have little to no food storage in place: I could get a survival amount of food by buying an amount of rice and beans that would give everyone that I would be responsible for 1/4 cup of rice and 1/4 cup of beans daily, and move on from there. Repeating some statistics found in previous posts--here, and then here-- this is basically how to figure out how much you would need:

Well, using my best source (aka Mom), if you have no food storage in your house today, and decide to get a 25 lb. bag of beans and a 25 lb. bag of rice tomorrow, you will have approximately:

Beans 325 3/4 cup servings of beans (13 servings per pound)

Rice 300 3/4 cup servings of rice (12 servings per pound)

If you want to buy in even larger proportions, the results would be thus:

50 lbs of rice will give you will give you a 3/4 cup serving for 600 days.

50 lbs of beans give you a 3/4 cup serving for 650 days. (Cost today is less than $30.)

Is this the most fun menu ever? No. But it is something, and having a few bags of rice and beans on the shelf might help motivate you to put other stuff up there with it. Over at Johnson Family Farm, there is a list of sale items that are a lot easier to prepare than rice and beans, and which also are low-priced. The list is useful not because those particular prices and items are available to everyone, but because it is a good example of easy things to store, and shows that many times things go on sale that are inexpensive, easy to store and to prepare, and then all you have to do is get them and walk away until you need them. Maybe you just need the supply of rice and beans to remind you that if you have nothing else, rice and beans will be all that you are eating in small quantities. Of course, in the end, you could alternate the easier items with the rice and beans, or if you run out of the easier items, you would still have a survival amount of food. Whether you get the rice and beans as a survival back-up, or get them to motivate yourself to buy other items, it is a win-win situation--either way, you'll have more food in storage.

In my last post I mentioned having mentally put aside some of my storage to share. There are some excellent points made in the comments that I hope you will read, about how to urge other people to prepare, and about how we can share only so far. My purpose in starting this blog was in large part to help/encourage other people to prepare, because I don't want them or their children to go hungry, whatever the emergency scenario might be--economic, weather-related, personal, etc. I hope that everyone who has the means will get more in storage, and that the situation improves quickly for those who don't have the means. And I hope that anyone who goes looking for food and receives a sandwich bag with 1/4 cup of rice and 1/4 cup of beans per person realizes that it is actually a lot of food when there is nothing/little else to be had--enough to survive another day, for either the giver or the receiver...


The Scavenger said...

Marie, thanks for the link. I just wanted to say Thank You, thank you for making this information so easy for anyone to understand. I would have never guessed that there was that much in a 1/4 cup of beans or rice. Just goes to show that you don't have to break the bank to have good food storage for your family and others that may be in need. A 1/4 cup, who would have thought...


Marie said...

Chris--If this were the only thing you had to eat, you would definitely still be hungry, but you would survive. And if you are surviving you can hopefully go about adding to your resources as well... Thank you for the list in your blog--seeing the familiar types of food that are low stress and low cost to store will hopefully encourage people to get some, and that would definitely enhance the rice and beans diet if people get some in store. The survival amount of food would not take a lot of room to store, and the kind of things that you list could be stuck anywhere--closet shelves, under the bed, etc. Wouldn't be great if everyone had enough so they wouldn't have to go in search of someone else's sandwich bags of beans and rice? Everybody wins... :) Thanks for your comment!