My Westfalia Pantry
I put some thought into what, and how much, I could carry in my “pantry,” or, as my sister and niece like to refer to it, the “dry larder.” Then I realized that I was reinventing the wheel, so to speak, because Jon and Robin Robertson did a good job in their book Vegan Unplugged. They outline a “five day food box” that fits perfectly in a standard plastic tub and fits a five day meal plan they created. Such a box could serve as emergency prep, or a camp box.
But not everyone will be pleased with their version. So it is useful to consider your own tastes, and try to provide as many ingredients that are shelf stable as possible to make different meals. The book relies mostly on canned ingredients, and I have not really cooked much with canned veggies except for tomato products. But they are very shelf stable. Another way to get your veggies is with dehydrated veggies, like the ones I bought from Harmony House. There are many starches that can be made shelf stable, so, with the addition of some spices and condiments, many great dishes can be made without refrigeration. If you have access to some fresh or frozen ingredients, you can dress them up even more.
Since I follow the starch based diet of Dr. McDougall, I think in terms of first having a few of my favorite starches that I can easily prepare while camping. Then, I think of the various dishes and flavors I like and find the common veggies and stock up on those. Lastly, I think of the spices, seasonings, and condiments to make a variety of my favorite dishes.
instant mashed potatoes (Bob’s Red Mill)
noodles (w/w spaghetti, soba, rice, ramen)
small shape pasta, like penne
Success brand quick cook brown rice
Pre cooked polenta
Beans: pinto, black, white, kidney, garbanzo
Chinese veggie mix
I have a large spice box because I love cooking with lots of herbs and spices, and I like a lot of different cuisines. So I have spices for Asian, Indian, Mexican, and Italian dishes. I have them as individual spices, like turmeric, and as blends, like curry powder. People with simpler tastes could get by with a few basics and a few blends. For me, it takes up almost a whole cabinet. I thought about using smaller containers, but I actually go through a lot.
My pantry takes up a lot of space. To save some space, I could repackage some bulk items into smaller containers. Also, bags are easier to stuff into odd spaces than cartons, cans and boxes. But since this trip is an experiment, I’m keeping original containers for their directions and ease of use. It also means I usually have a partial bag of groceries taking up cargo space.
All of this would be easy to store at home for a disaster. To be uber prepared, package it all in a big plastic tub that you can take with you. Be sure to periodically rotate and use the food, because even shelf stable food does have a shelf life. Drinking water, a stove and a couple pots are all you need to be ready to live without power for several days.