Eight years ago the leaders of my church suggested I keep a store cupboard. Hurricanes and earthquakes were becoming more prevalent, and flooding was affecting whole villages within hours. The store cupboard was suggested as something to fall back on – a few months’ food in case of disaster. I live in a small village in Derbyshire. It’s rural. And with five kids I have to be prepared for everything. I thought it was a good idea.
Call ahead to the meat dept.of your store and ask them if they can hold suet or fat for you, what days they ate most likely to have it in inventory, and whether or not it has to be special ordered in the quantity you need. You can also ask for meat trimmings as that is the extra fat that gets cut off the cuts being packaged for the sales floor. There’s often a lot of meat attached to these, and you can get them cheap.
When I was 17, Nasa announced the discovery of a far-off planet. News reports hinted at the prospect of the Voyager being deployed, but I never got to hear what the probe actually found. The excitement eventually dwindled and I got on with my life, but the discovery sparked an ongoing interest in space and exploration and, later, in the environment and geopolitics. About 18 months ago those interests led me to prepping.
Still, these extraterrestrial-looking foodstuffs seem to be having something of a moment: For the past four years, Costco has been selling pallets of shriveled vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats that promise to feed a single family for up to a year—and if you’re not a member, you can purchase similar survival kits, many of which boast a 20- to 30-year shelf life, at Walmart and Target. One top seller, Wise Company, saw its sales nearly double over the past four years, reaching around $75 million, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story last November. The company’s CEO, Jack Shields, told me he estimates the industry as a whole generates between $400 and $450 million annually in retail.