The next things to add are powdered milk, rolled oats and cooking oil. Add some bulk herbs and spices – in an emergency you can use what’s already in the kitchen, but it’s good to have a proper reserve too. Don’t forget the most important seasoning – salt. Get at least five pounds of that. As you move forward you can add pasta, dried vegetables (this is a great excuse to get a dehydrator and vacuum sealer) and of course more rice and beans.
After 9/11, my dad filled a duffel bag with some energy bars, a couple gallons of water, some penicillin, and a map. Amid scaremongering headlines about imminent anthrax and “dirty bomb” attacks in the city, he wanted to have some supplies on hand in case we needed to get out of Brooklyn fast. Were he to assemble such a bag today, he’d likely stumble on a number of companies promising a more wholesale brand of disaster preparedness: a box full of shelf-stable freeze-dried meals, to be revived from their dessicated state with the addition of boiled water.