Thursday, May 7, 2009

Emergencies: Inconvenient by definition

Well, the title of this post is pretty much just my opinion, but I would be surprised if there are that many people who disagree with me. What happens if the emergency is that the adults in a household are ill, and the children in the household need to fend for themselves? This idea is not original to me, as you will find, but such a situation is definitely something that I should think about before it arises....

After reading the e-mail in this post over at Prepping 101, I decided that teaching my children more skills around the kitchen would be a really good idea. So I pulled out an old friend of mine: Top Ramen. That's right--those compact squares (or is it rectangles?) of dried noodles that require little more than boiling water and about 3 minutes of your time. Thanks to my best source, (Mom) I had picked some up one of the times I was visiting, so I had some on hand.

I don't know about anyone else, but back in the day I actually ate a lot of Top Ramen. The directions tell you how to make noodle soup out of the oh-so-inexpensive packages with their little flavor packet, but I've always been more partial to making them just as noodles. The difference comes when I drain off the water and just add a small portion of seasoning to mix around in the noodles. It probably just about took me longer to write this paragraph than it would to actually make Top Ramen. So you can see why I started with this particular little meal idea... We decided to have our children learn how to make it themselves, and we found that:

--People always joke about not being able to boil water, but boiling water is the skill required here, and it's not quite as funny when you are putting children in charge of the stove burners. That said, my children did a good job of getting the water to boil and placing the noodles inside.

--An added benefit to the Top Ramen meal option is that the directions say to boil for 3 minutes, so you aren't walking away from a project that takes 20 minutes only to return to find that you forgot to set the timer, or didn't add enough water, or your boiled food of choice is now stubbornly affixed to the bottom of a no-stick pan. Even if 3 minutes turns out to be long enough for a child to get bored, they won't be bored for very long...

--We added veg-all to the Top Ramen water--one of my favorite ways to eat it when it was more of a menu staple. Of course, any canned vegetable along the lines of corn or green beans would work, but only if you can open the can, so practice with the manual can opener was in order. And will be in order until it becomes a really easy thing to do...not every canned item has a tab for opening.

--Well, with my brilliant idea of eating it as noodles, I ended up draining the water for them. We will have to let them cook it as soup so that they have the option of letting it cool down and then dishing it out for themselves when it is safe to handle. Live and learn--hopefully ahead of time...

So, our little experiment went ok. The good news is that my children like Top Ramen (it was their first time trying it), which is extremely inexpensive, requires little fuel and cooking time, and is versatile because of all the add-in possibilities, like vegetables. Not a whole lot of bad news, just the necessity of teaching them to cook a few other things in case there is a situation where they need to provide their own meals. Cold cereal would only work for a little while... :)

Of course, there are things like canned soup and pastas, etc., if you have them on hand. Hopefully even if parents were sick at the same time, they wouldn't have to stay in bed for extended periods of time. But it's better to have a back-up plan, even if it's only necessary short-term--emergencies are not convenient, whether it's in the actual definition or not, and you never know who might have to do the cooking...

7 comments:

preparednesspro said...

Top Ramen is a great place to start! I add an egg, some lettuce and green onions to mine for extra oomph. Your kids could totally handle that I'm sure :) I bet Chinese 5 Spice would taste awesome with the noodles, too... http://tinyurl.com/c5jjqe

HermitJim said...

Marie...
I think this is an excellent idea for any household having small children.Hopefully, like car insurance, you hope the need neer arises but at least if it does...well, being prepared is a good thing!

Great post!

Anonymous said...

what does your husband think of all of this?

Wanting to know.

Ginger said...

Marie, Nice post. My first thought when I read this is that I'm glad my kids are grown. But I have a grandson, so this stuff is still very important to me. Two of my three daughters had to make do for a few weeks without electricity, tap water and phones after a recent hurricane. I'm glad they prepared some (living and learning, they are) and made it through ok.

I'm baffled my Anonymous's post above...

Marie said...

Preparedness Pro--Your egg idea sounds great--I don't recall ever trying that, but it would be a great protein addition. I'm not familiar with Chinese 5 Spice, but variety is key. Thanks for your link and your comment!

HermitJim--Like you, I really hope that they won't ever have to use skills like this in an emergency situation, but it is better to be prepared--couldn't have said it better than you did! Thanks very much for your comment!

Wanting to know--I don't know exactly what you are referring to, so I will try to give you a little information:

--If you are talking about the food, (say, Top Ramen or Spam) my husband definitely doesn't like them as much as the children do, but he'll eat just about anything, so I don't really worry about him eating my food storage recipe attempts...

--If you are talking about food storage, we feel the same way about how essential food storage is and for the same reasons--we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and our main reason for food storage is mentioned in my May 23, 2008 post entry under the milk group-- our Church leaders have counseled us to have food storage. I probably haven't given him as much credit as I should, since he has gone to the Church cannery more often than I have during our marriage, and picked up a lot of our food storage himself. (Nonmembers can also go to the cannery if they are accompanied by a member, so if you know a member, you can ask them about it, or look in your phone book under the name of the Church and call and ask for assistance.) So, our goals and on food storage and its importance are mutual.

--If you are asking about his worry level about emergency situations, my worry level is definitely (wish I could use italics or underlining for definitely :) higher, but we work on getting our emergency supplies together.

--If you are referring to blogging about food storage, he is most definitely not interested. In fact, I asked him if he wanted to respond to your comment, and he said I could do it. I will let him read this before I publish it, however, so you might not see the original version if he wants to add/delete something... :) Hope that helps!

Ginger--I'm sorry that your daughters had to go through that, but glad that they had prepared so that it was easier for them. I try to get prepared, but imagine that when I actually have to go through something, I will think, "Why didn't I think of adding (insert emergency preparedness item here) before?" I guess you can only do the best you can, and hope to make things as easy as possible...
Hope I covered Anonymous's question somewhere in my response... :) Thanks very much for your comment!

The Prudent Homemaker said...

Here's our food storage meal with Top Ramen: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/stirfry.aspx

When our garden has sugar snap peas, we use those in it; the rest of the year we sprout mung beans to put in it.

It costs less than $2 to feed our family of 7 with this meal!

Marie said...

Prudent Homemaker--This recipe looks great--thanks for the link to it. And you can't beat the price! I don't know much about mung beans, so that's another thing I need to look into...thanks for your comment!