Friday, February 20, 2009

All substitutions are not created equal

Well, if I were in the mood to tell stories on myself, I guess I could talk about the time when I was living overseas, and:

--because there were no varieties of Rice Krispies, a decision was made to use puffed wheat instead in a variation of Rice Krispie treats. The result? The result was not good. Conclusion: puffed wheat is not a good substitution for Rice Krispies in the recipe for Rice Krispie treats. Bad substitution. Bad, bad, brick-like substitution.

--because there was no mixer available, the decision was made to try to make "no-fail divinity" in a blender. The chances of success? Hopes were high, I mean, look at the name of the recipe. The result? You may be surprised (or not) to hear that the results were not good. Conclusion: a blender is not a good substitution for a mixer when it comes to making divinity. Bad substitution. Bad, bad, total mess of a failure substitution.

Now, I'm obviously not against trying new things, (at least if you look at the above examples) but in an emergency situation you might not have the luxury of trying new things--either because you don't have the resources, or because the information is not available. And I'm not talking about fun things like rice krispie treats and divinity--I'm talking about things like eggs and white flour. However, if you know what substitutions can be made for common items in cooking, you can not only stock up on needed supplies, but you will know how to use them if the need arises.

Wendy, over at iPrepared, recently put up an excellent comprehensive list of many common cooking items in this post. I have not tried these substitutions as of yet, but I did make myself write them down in my emergency notebook before I let myself write this post. It took quite a while, but now it's in there! I am especially glad to know how to substitute for eggs, because as of this post I have no chickens on my property.... Many thanks to Wendy for putting so much valuable information up for all to share.

Just a note about this week's poll--lots of times, as I may have mentioned before, I put up questions that I'm thinking about that apply to my own situation. If I had to pick one of the options on the poll that is worrying me particularly at the moment, I would say it would be the one about time. I'm hoping things will still be available and affordable by the time that I am able to get all the provisions in that I want to get in. If you have the means, please get emergency supplies in as quickly as possible for your family. If you are already in an emergency situation, I hope that things get better for you soon.

I haven't said this in a while, but really, one of the reasons that I started this blog is because I don't want my children to go hungry in a crisis situation, and I don't want anyone else's children to go hungry either. We may not be able to get everything in storage that we would like to get, but everything that we can get in will end up being a big plus, emergency or not...


Wendy said...

Marie - Thanks for the thanks! And you're welcome.

Joseph said...

When I went to cooking school some years ago, there was a piece of advice that was frequently heard from our chefs: you have to know what the rules are before you can break them.

I don't know that this is truer than with substitutions. I'm sad that your crisped cereal did not work out. But be aware that there are several off-the-shelf cereals that it works beautifully with.

But divinity in a blender... that one was destined to fail. But that doesn't mean it was a lost cause. Did you have a power drill available? Perhaps something with that and a whisk could have worked. I keep wanting to say that a good whisk and a strong arm could have done the job, but... well, I wouldn't wish that on anybody.

Keep up the substitutions. If you don't know what the rules are and don't have a good reference, there's only one way to find out. And if it fails? Then you learned, and that can't really be counted as a failure.

Marie said...

Wendy--That is a great list--I am going to have to try the substitutions out before I absolutely have to so that I'll be used to using them. Hope that many take advantage of your post--thanks again!

Joseph--You make a lot of good points, and you made me laugh with that power drill and whisk idea--I don't think I would get that adventurous just for divinity. I especially like that at least you gain something if you're willing to try--even if it's only a lesson in what not to do again. Thanks very much for your comment!

Anonymous said...

marie, have you looked over at the Today? Rawles has a guest post from a family struggling to prepare.


Marie said...

Carl--I checked out that link, and that family is very thorough in their preparation! It also gave me a couple of ideas...thanks for pointing it out so that I could read it!