I am a recent (6 months) reader and learner from the SurvivalBlog and I really do appreciate all the work and information that you have shared with the world. Thank You! My survival preps are going slowly but steadily, and thank God I purchased a few cases of 308 for my M1A before the prices went ballistic.
Now for the meat of the subject. I notice that you have a ton of information on retreats but something that I notice is a lack of kitchen information, which is a must. If you don’t have good cooking utensils, then all of your food preps are worthless.
Having spent 28+ years in the restaurant industry, I can recommend a few items that I think everyone should have in their retreat.
1) Good stainless steel chef, boning, serrated, paring and carving knives. These are readily available in any restaurant supply store for $10 to $30 each. The stainless is for longevity, ease of cleaning, and rust resistance. I also recommend a plastic handle for the same reasons (except rust of course). A good standard readily available knife brand is Dexter-Russell. I recommend the Sani-Safe line of the Soft Grip line. In my years I have seen the Sani-Safe knives take an unbelievable amount of abuse from untrained employees and keep right on going.
2) A good set of cast iron cookware. You know, Grandma’s old skillet that is 60 years old and the best no-stick one out there! No, these are not the latest titanium nestling pots and pans for your BOB, but a very necessary basic need for your retreat. I say retreat because they are a little too heavy for the bug-out bag (BOB). I would include several of them like large skillets with lids, a Dutch oven, a variety of small sauce pans, and there is a wide selection of corn bread pans. The reason I recommend cast iron is longevity with minimum care. Once they are properly seasoned, they will literally last generations. I am a fan of the Lodge brand, probably because I have been to their factory in SE Tennessee. They can be found at www.lodgemfg.com and are a great source of information on cast iron. The fancy no-stick teflon that you probably have at home if fine but it can and will wear out, and how well will that thin bottom pan hold out in a camp fire? Cast iron can and will handle anything you can throw at it and even be used to bake bread in a campfire with the dutch oven and a good bed of coals. Remember [your time in the] Boy Scouts? JWR Adds: Lodge cast iron cookware is available from Promised Land Products in Montana. (One of our former advertisers. These are good folks with fair prices.)
3) A good pepper grinder with metal gears and a supply of pepper corns, and large granule salt or sea salt.
4) A mortar and pestle for grinding herbs, salt, and anything else that you might need to grind up finely.
If you have addressed these items in previous discussions, then my apologies, but I know some folks out there will bring their very expensive Calaphon cookware out to a retreat and be in trouble in a very short time if they have to cook over an open fire. Just my .02 caliber of information. – Mark C.