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  1. I love this article. And I never make comments. Thank you so much.
    This gives me much food for thought. Preplanning is a must. You can’t work from a nonexistent pantry. The little things will matter.

  2. Your article reminds me of our “forgetfulness” about how our parents and grandparents where able to provide from a less bountiful pantry. We have many things to re-learn – hopefully, your article will get readers thinking and evaluating their food choices. Thanks!

  3. Nice article. I have two thoughts to share:

    1. The amount of iron you get from cooking with cast iron depends a lot on how well seasoned the pan is and what kind of food you are cooking. If the pan is well seasoned, you get very little iron, if any, from it. Acidic foods and liquids boiled for a long time will yield more iron.
    2. B12 is one of those essential vitamins, and it only comes from animal sources or supplements. PrepSchoolDaily dot blogspot dot com has a post on it, as well as those at highest risk for deficiency and what to do about it. Just put B12 in the search bar on the right and you’ll go right to it.

  4. This is a great article. It gives a good look into a way of life few people enjoy these days.

    My mother (who can’t cook her way out of a wet paper bag) was the Queen of Everything Canned. Growing up, we ate lots of Spam, and corned beef hash (and how I lament that corned beef in a can is NOT the same anymore!) Canned chicken made awesome casseroles, dried beef with flour gravy over toast (known by many names) macaroni and cheese with tuna and peas was a staple. And then came Hamburger Helper. I think she thought she’d died and gone to heaven.

    Basically, if it didn’t come in a can, bag, or box, my mom had no idea what to do with it. And when I moved out, I swore I wouldn’t eat that way all the time, nor feed my kids like that either.

    As soon as I moved out, gardening and canning became a way of life for me, though I still do enjoy the occasional nostalic meal, and my pantry is well stocked and well used.

    We raise rabbits, and canned they are a very versatile meat which is nutritious and yummy! I find them far easier and cleaner to raise for meat than chickens, and it surprises me that more people don’t raise them.

    Stretching hamburger: I use oat bran, oatmeal, and other hot cereals. We raise beef, and my two grown kids (with more kids) have our cow butchered, cut and wrapped every year, and we split the meat three ways. They have both commented many times about how glad they are not to have to pay store prices for beef.

    I get comments from people all the time, along the lines of “You’re living the dream, I wish I could!” to which I always say “So do it!”

  5. Thanks for the ideas to extend and add taste to canned meats. In lean times a hearty ,good tasting meal will help to lift one’s spirits at the end of a hard working day. We also like corned beef hash and roast beef hash.

  6. currently the only meat I can afford on fixed income is the polish sausage ring when it goes on sale 2 for $5, cut into 4 inch pieces and sliced lengthwise, coated with Hawaiian or sweet and sour sauce. makes 10 pieces which when fried crispy and eaten 2 at a time will last almost all week. These can also be added to cannellini (white kidney) beans or with cabbage and an onion will make a filling meal. Where I live celery is $5 a bunch (ridiculous!) and I just noticed that the smallest size cheddar cheese blocks have decreased in size again with no corresponding price drop. My mother had lots of tales about making do being one of 6 kids on the farm, anything can be stretched by the addition of noodles or rice.

  7. Thanks for the memories!! I grew up with SPAM and tuna fish casseroles on a weekly basis. Canned ham or canned chicken casseroles were “Sunday dinner” specialties! Fresh chicken or beef mixed with pasta were special occasion dinners. I still stock my pantry with all these basic casserole ingredients but my kids and grand kids turn up their noses at them. They are so spoiled with the wide availability of relatively cheap meats, fish and poultry; they will have a hard time adjusting when it is not available.

  8. Food preservation skills would be in high demand if for any reason we end up in a non-electrified society. Brining, pickling, dehydrating, butchering, and canning knowledge would be vital to any family or group for long term survival. We should all have general skills in many areas but this would be a good specialty area of expertise, and raise one’s value to a group. It would also be a good idea to have hard-copy instructions printed out.

  9. Thank you for the great article. We eat what we prep here, so that means fried SPAM and eggs for breakfast occasionally, SPAM and green pepper pizza, lots of cowboy beans, and red beans and rice. Leftover cowboy beans and leftover red beans and rice can be used in tacos, or in burritos.
    Cowboy beans- 2 lbs. pinto, kidney, great northern beans. 1 large can baked beans, liquid smoke, chopped green and red peppers and onions, bacon, breakfast sausage links cut into 1/2 inch bites. Taco seasoning, Water. Optional: little smokies cut bite sized. Cook in pressure cooker.

  10. I loved your article. So many good ideas. If you want even more variety you can learn to pressure can and can your own meat. If you can’t raise it get it on sale or when the meat department marks it down (usually early morning). Make friends with the local butcher and he/she will give you a heads up. I have used my canned meat after 10 years. Just make sure that the seal is intact.

  11. This article was a breath of fresh air. Thank you for the great ideas and it reminds me to practice by using up some canned meat that is older.

  12. In our society we are currently very blessed. Most of us can pretty much afford to eat anything we want within some reason. Even the poor who frequent food banks can walk away with pretty decent groceries.

    I remember stories from a different time. Older people than me (I am 57) speaking of lots of oatmeal with sugar policed to only one teaspoon to save money. Children getting in trouble for using too much ketchup. One moderate piece of meat and one only for each member of the family. No leftovers because the meals prepared left everyone slightly hungry to begin with. Stretching one pound of hamburger to feed six sizeable people. If you were still hungry, there was a stack of cheap white bread in the middle of the table to fill up on.

    And the descriptions above were for those who were doing ok. For some they were just plain hungry.

    When I eat a pickle I often think of a passage out of “The Grapes of Wrath”. Can’t quote it but as I recall, there is this young man who has been hired by the rich guys to plow up the fields acquired for a song at the expense of all the small farmers. Sometimes he would get little bonus for knocking a house off its foundation. He is not very popular but he is happy because in his lunch box he has a sandwich…and a pickle. The way Steinbeck wrote the passage, it always seemed to me as if that pickle was a big deal to him.

    And to think now we have an epidemic of diabetes and other illnesses from over eating.

  13. I really enjoyed your article. Raised on a farm, I’ve not experienced a lack of meat; however I can see it becoming problematic. I have been experimenting with meatless meals, but never considered tinned meats. I’ll give them a try. Most importantly is the reminder that sauces and flavorings are so important. I need up gather some recipes for them before they are needed. Thanks

  14. Great article! Spam, canned ham, tuna, chicken, potted meat, vienna sausages and even salmon last a long time. I would caution about the “chicken” vienna sausages. I have had those go bad in a relative short amount of time compared to the original vienna sausages. They have definitely come in handy in hard time situations. True, not the gourmet meal but definitely filling.

  15. “Just think how Chick-Fil-A revolutionized chicken nuggets with their Polynesian sauce.”

    Ahhh, another devotee. For the small canned hams try 4 packages of C-F-A Polynesian sauce as a glaze with a quick run under the broiler. Or even better 4 packages of C-F-A Polynesian with 1-2 packs of C-F-A Texas Pete’s hot sauce. One day my son and I will complete our C-F-A/SHTF mashup cookbook

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