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A SNAP Card Gourmet Brunch

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 16, 2019

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After last weeks Sous Vide Short Ribs with Portabella Mushrooms in Cabernet-Teriyaki sauce, I figured a Breakfast meal this week would be a good choice.  The Breakfast ended up turning into a Brunch though, because I was pretty hungry and decided to smush my Breakfast & Lunch meals together as a "Brunch".  I do this pretty often because really 2 fairly normal size meals is quite enough for me to eat in a day, I don't need 3 of them.  I also don't need to spend the time with prep and cleanup 3 times a day either!  In fact, ONE meal that is worthy of posting up the cook on here on the Cooking Zone is generally more than I can eat in a day and I get stuck with endlessly piling up leftovers!  A piece of advice: If you are going to do an internet Cooking Show, it's a good idea to have a family or a supply of friends to eat what you cook up for the show!  As a Solitary Man, I don't have all those other people to consume the edibles, so I gotta eat as much of it myself as I can.  Most decent dishes you can't really cook up for just one person.  The quantities the food is sold in for one thing makes it about impossible, but there are other reasons also.  You can't make a good stew for instance in a quantity of one meal for one person.  A minimum size for a stew would be about 4 servings, but even that is pretty tight.  More like 6-8 to be a reasonable stew cook.

I do try to adapt though and utilize my leftovers in creative ways, in this case one of the dishes incorporated into the Brunch was made from leftover Dirty Rice, the Stuffed Peppers.  Not a leftover but EZ, cheap and quick to cook up, Scrambled Eggs.  Eggs are just about a requisite item to include in any Brunch menu, and in this case I wanted to hand off some tips on making really good scrambled eggs, which is slightly harder than boiling an egg to do right.  Unfortunately, my camera quit on me during this portion of the vid, so you got the scrambled eggs without seeing how they were done.  I made up for this later by doing scrambled eggs for another breakfast meal though.

As always, as long as you haven't fallen COMPLETELY off the economic cliff and/or you're eligible for a SNAP Card, eating well here in the FSoA right now is mainly a matter of choosing your foods wisely and not buying tons of junk food.  In this episode, I do go over in detail what everything costs, and really it's no problem staying under the SNAP Card budget, even including some Blueberries and Razzberies, which are pretty pricy items by the pound, but you don't eaat that many of them in one meal and they last at least 2 weeks in the fridge fresh.  Frozen ones, obviously longer and they come in cheaper too.  However, the frozen ones are only really good in stuff like pancakes or pies, not just defrosting them and then eating.  You need to cook them in some way.

Next week, we'll do another Instapot Pressure Cooker Dinner meal, this time with a super cheap (as beef goes) cut of meat, a Chuck Roast.  Besides the Brisket, so far this is the only other cheap cut of meat I have done in the Instapot.  I may try some Pork Baby Back Ribs next, although I like them smoked so much it's hard to take a whole rack and drop them in the Instapot instead.  May have to wait until I am snowed in again and can't go outside to the porch to do the smoking for that one.

Otherwise, don't miss Sunday's Collapse Morning Wake-Up Call for the discussion of the situation in Sudan and other Geopolitical clusterfucks, as well as a discussion of the ever expanding Student Loan debacle.  I'm joined by my old co-host from the Collapse Cafe, Monsta checking in from Jolly Old England. 🙂

SNAP Card Gourmet: Cooking Your Premium Steak

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Published on the Doomstead Diner Blog & Forum on June 24, 2018

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REMINDER:  The Summer Solstice inaugurated our Fundraiser here at the Diner to keep this establishment open after I croak (any day now…). We raised $150 last week which is not a bad start but we have a long way to go to reach the $2000 goal.  For those of you who have not yet coughed up some FRNs, this would be a good week to do it.  The longer it takes to raise the money, the longer I will drop these annoying pleas at the beginning of my articles.  Just take the pain and get it over with!  It costs MONEY 🤑 to maintain a good websie!  I have been footing the bil for over 6 years, but I will not be alive forever,  Both members and guests often send me emails stating that the Diner is their FIRST STOP across the Collapse Blogosphere for the latest in Doom News.  If we don't get a revenue stream going, after I Buy  My Ticket to the Great Beyond the lights will go out on the Diner before the entire Internet Goes Dark, and you wouldn't want that, would you?  We have no Ads and no Paywall, so if Diners don't kick in to fund it, this ship will head to the bottom of Davey Jones Locker shortly after my meat package is Fish Food.  Don't be CHEAPSKATES!  I know several Diners live on limited budgets, and I don't expect any contribution from them.  They Dine for free here on the Diner.  However, numerous other Diners are still making plenty-o-money, and if they can't see their way clear to donating a few FRNs to keep this place running, then they are definitive CHEAPSKATES!   Cheapskates are even lower on the evolutionary ladder than Lurkers!  Don't be a Cheapskate!  Donate to the Diner today!

OK, without further ado and begging for money, lets move onto today's Brunch offering, a SNAP Card Gourmet Video episode of how to cook your premum meal of the week on the SNAP Card Budget…

OK! after a couple of weeks of vids on just how to get your premium, Prime Beef (USDA ranking) Ribeyes prepared for cooking, today we will finally get to some COOKING! 🙂  I actually enjoy the prep part of putting together a meal as much or more than the actua cooking of it, but many people find that part tedious.  Still, in terms of the final outcome of the meal, the prep is often as important or even more important than the cooking.  I also used to love the EATING of the meal when all was said and done and you served it up for consumption on the dinner table.  Unfortunately, eating has become one of the biggest problems for me since my accident.  About the onloy part of a meal I never enjoyed and still don't is the CLEAN UP.  Now that is truly tedious and thankless work.

If you are a regular watcher/reader of the SNAP Card Gourmet or you are reasonably experienced with BBQing Steaks on the outdoor grill, none of the cooking in today's episode will be new to you.  It's really more about how to use and arrange your mobile kitchen and how you budget your meal plan, the cooking of the steak is more of a prop here than an actual primer on how to BBQ.  I also talk about some of the social issues involved with food, the lack thereof in the post-SHTF environment and how to deal with your own personal failing economics now if you lose your job  or become crippled like me.

I also want to reinforce what I mean when I say "homeless".  I do NOT usually mean a person living out of ahopping cart sleeping in a refrigerator box under a highway overpass, although I talk about those folks occassionally also.  If you are that far off the cliff you generally have no mens of cooking your own food at all, about the best you can do is heat cans of Campbell's Chunky Soup or microwaving a frozen food dinner in a convenience store microwave.  Really though, at this level (the  real bottom before you go to the Great Beyond) you mostly will get your food in Soup Kitchens run by folks like the Salvation Army or in fast food joints where you can also get some warmth for a while and sometimes even some sleep before they kick you out.

Who I AM generally talking about are people more recntly fallen of the economic cliff, but still does have some form of housing to maintain some possesions, have some spce to do cooking and so forth.  This could be anything from Section 8 housing in a one room Bates Motel to living out of your Stealth Van in Parks and Campgrounds and maintaing a Storage Unit to safeguard your personal possessions.  You do need SOME income for this, or at least realize you are headed in this direction and begin to conserve what money you have to make it last before you end up a Street Person.  It's not that much, around $100/week can keep you at this level quit a while if you aready have the stuff you need for homeless living.  You can make this money y begging if need be, although it is usually still possible to find a part-time Min Wage job which will pay you around $10/hr 20 hours/week for $200.  You can live quite well out of your Stealth Van on this moneuy, at least as a Single Person.  Families have their own set of problems that are much more intractable

.Far as the actual cookinghere goes, this video only covers the outdoor grilling method, not the indoor skilelt/oven method for steaks.  There also won't be a one of those for a while, because I dcided to save the second one for  a meal with my friend and Executor of my ill Brian so no video on that one. I'll get to such a recipe, preparation adcooking in due time I am sure, as long as I am still above ground level myself anyhow.

Until then, I hope you enjoy this recipe for Ribeye on the Barbie,  Be sure to pay atention to your temperatures amd cooking time, you don't want to ruin a beautiful prime ribeye ovrcooking it and turning it into leather more worthy of the soles of your shoes than your palate.

 

NOTE:  Yes, I know the lighting is still fucked up.  I'll fix it…eventually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SNAP Card Gourmet: Steak Edition

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Published on the Doomstead Diner Dlog & YouTube Channel on June 10, 2018

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The SNAP Card Gourmet is BACK!

It was touch and go as to whether I would get back to doing these vids, but after getting out of hospital a couple of weeks ago I worked up the energy to get going with it again.  Before you get on my case about the poor lighting in this vid, I AM working on it!  Anyhow, you don't really want to see my Grim Reaper ghoulish appearance these days anyhow.

One thing I do want to address today is the criticism I periodically get inside the Diner for my food obsession in a thread I maintain daily called "The Diner Menu".  In that thread daily I feature different recipes for Diners to drool over while they are contemplating doom.  "What does this have to do with collapse?" the critics bellow!  To me the reasons are obvious, but some Doomers are so focused on their own interests in Collapse they can't fathom them, and then make a nuisance of themselves by complaining about it.

To begin with, Food is probably the #1 concern of people who see Collapse coming down the pipe.  "Where will I get it when the shelves go empty at Safeway?"  You have your Doomsteaders and Permies all trying to create subsistence farms they can feed themselves with.  Then you have your Survivalists who are going to go out into the bush and hunt and fish up their sustenance.  At least if they are doing this on their own, both groups are doomed to failure.  You can't produce or gather enough food on your own, it takes at least a small tribe to do it.  A FEW really expert survivalists like Cody Lundin can make it for a while, but even they would eventually succumb without a tribe working together.

Related image The next reason is it demonstrates many of the things we take for granted, primarily JIT delivery of food from around the world.  You can't walk in a food superstore and shop without being overwhelmed by produce from Mexico, Fish from Thailand, Olive Oil from Spain and Wine & Cheese from France.  It's going to be mighty hard in the post-SHTF Day world to be cooking up a Gourmet Meal without these goodies.  So enjoy them now while they are there, because it won't last forever.

Third, it provides a respite from the constant stream of Doom Newz we are inundated with on the Diner every day.  "The World will go up in a Nuclear Fireball on July 19th!  The Chinese will take over the world and Amerikans will be their Slaves!  The Dollar will crash and the Petro-Yuan will be the Reserve Currency of the World!"  etc, etc, etc.  I doubt any of these predictions are accurate, but that doesn't stop Diners from pasting in articles every day to justify their POV.  It's nice (at least for me and other Diners who enjoy the thread) to get away from that constant stream of Apocalyptic Predictions and  enjoy reminiscing about great meals we have eaten or cooked up.

Finally, I am a lifelong "foodie" who has been frequenting various types of eateries my entire life, from cheap recent Greek immigrant street vendors of Souvlaki to the best restaurants in NY Shity..  Besides eating in them, I worked as a chef for a while also.  I love to cook for family and friends.  I also have great concern for the homeless and for those who are trying to get by on a tight budget provided currently in the FSoA by SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), so I created the SNAP Card Gourmet to demonstrate how you can eat very well on the current SNAP Card allowance, if you shop carefully and watch your pennies.  You can even afford to eat Gourmet Meals with Premium Foods a couple of times a month, even once a week if you scrimp the rest of the week.

With that in  mind, in this installment of the SNAP Card Gourmet we go over a couple of ways to prepare PRIME Ribeye Steaks. 😋

Image result for prime ribeye steak Anyhow, all that being said, the Steak Edition of the SNAP Card Gourmet premiering today on the Diner is a Premium Foods meal which was inspired by a great find of Prime Ribeye Steaks at my nearby food superstore of 3 Bears, which has the best meat department around here, far superior to Walmart, Safeway or Kroger.  Well, a small butcher Matanuska Meats has better meat sometimes, but never at the prices that 3 Bears offers up periodically.  Prime is the top designation by the USDA on meat, signifying extensive marbling of fat and tenderness of the meat.  Prime Ribeyes from online purveyors of top quality meat like Chicago Steaks or Omaha Steaks can run $30-40/lb, I got these two little beauties for $12/lb.  So one of them got cooked up as I generally most like a Ribeye done, over the fire on an open grill, and the other one I did as an indoor cooking method braising the meat in a pan and then slow roasting in an oven.  There are several episodes in this series to come which include not just the cooking but the preparation aspects as well and the importance of your cooking tools, especially for the homeless or near homeless person.  A simple question to consider here is where are you going to get your high-carbon stainless steel cooking knives from after SHTF Day arrives?  They won't be arriving on a Bunker Fuel powered container ship, that is for sure.  Pretty hard to do any decent cooking of anything without a good knife.  If you don't have some good ones in your preps along with some backups, now would be a good time to stock up.  A good Barter Item as well.

Intro done, now have fun watching the vid!  Again, apologies for the poor lighting.  This will be fixed!

SNAP Card Gourmet: Soup Ammendation

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Published on The Doomstead Diner January 1, 2017

Miso Soup- No Ammedation                     Miso Soup- With Ammendation

Miso-1  Miso-2

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In my last Snap Card Gourmet article, I wrote about Pizza Ammendation, which is the technique of taking a fresh commercially produced Pizza available at the Deli Counters of most major food emporiums, and then adding to it various extra ingredients of your choice to make your own custom pizza, practically as good as the great pizza you remember from the small family owned Italian Pizzerias that were sprinkled around NY Shity in the 1960s & 70s.  My particular favorite from my youth is the Mushroom Pizza, but I have been experimenting with some more exotic ingredients like Hearts of Palm and Smoked Salmon.

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Even including the exotic ingredients, the price of a freshly baked Take n' Bake Pizza meal comes in extremely cheap.  For the Pizza, I buy the "medium" size 8" Pizza which comes in at Walmart at $6.  I divide that into 1/4s which I each bake separately for a Pizza meal, so the basic cost is $1.50.  Additional ingredients can cost as much as $1, for expensive stuff like Hearts of Palm.  1 Can of those, usually imported from Brazil generally goes for around $5, but I get usually at least 5 if not 6 pizza meals out of one can, so slightly less than a dollar there.  So for $2.50 or less, I come in with a scrumptious freshly baked pizza slice, which along with some sausage and eggs for breakfast is usually plenty for me to eat in a day.  I stay well under my SNAP Card budget of $5 for the day.

http://bellpub.com/images/ugcoverphotos/UG_201107_CoverPhoto.jpg For the person still with their own roof and fully equipped kitchen, this is excellent, cheap and quickly prepared food.  It has a big problem though as far as a Homeless person is concerned, which is that you need some form of conventional oven (not microwave) to bake it in.  At least a Toaster Oven for this, but they are electric and homeless people don't usually have accss to electricity, nor can they be toting around a toaster oven even if they can pirate electricity somewhere.  Homeless cooking is generally confined either to small camping stoves with a single burner, or to open pit or trash can fires with a cooking grate over it.

If you are just working with a single burner, you are generally limited to two types of cooking, Boiling or Pan Frying/Sauteeing.  The two main foods of the homeless as a result are cans of soup or vegetables which can be boiled, or eggs and bacon or sausage which can be pan fried.  Rice also can be boiled or steamed, Potatoes boiled and chopped up with an onion for home fries in the pan.  A big combined scramble or omellete also possible to do in one pan, although given I have more burners I don't usually do that.  This is really all the cooking a homeless person needs to do, otherwise you mostly eat prepared foods at fast food joints or if you are the more healthy type of homeless person, fruits, nuts and vegetables which can be consumed raw with no cooking at all.

For today's topic and Recipes, we are going to talk about another type of ammendation, Soup Ammendation.  What soup ammendation does is take a comercially produced packet of soup mix or canned soup, and adds to it more ingredients to make it more hearty and robust as a meal.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51pvCUupZVL._AC_UL320_SR240,320_.jpg The main one I will talk about here is Miso Soup, a favorite of mine from the many Japanese restaurants I have frequented over my life, usually for a sashimi lunch.  With the lunch special, you always got a cup or bowl of Miso Soup, which varied from average to excellent, depending on the restaurant.  The main ingredients in a Miso soup are the Miso (a type of fermented bean curd), Tofu, Seaweed and green onions.  In a good Miso soup, there were a decent amount of all the ingredients in there and a rich broth with plenty of Miso added, in the average ones they were thin on the miso and cheap on the amount of tofu in the soup.  Kinda thin and runny.  Rarely though at a restaurant did I get a truly bad Miso Soup.

In trying to make my own Miso Soup at home back in the day, the best I could find was dried package soup sort of like Lipton's Onion Soup, which is still the main one available although there is one other variety I picked up a while back.  Basically the same though.  In both cases, the Miso Soup you get by adding a cup or so of boiling water to the packet is beneath bad, it's awful.

Not that it tastes bad or anything, it does taste like Miso Soup.  However, it is incredibly thin in texture, and the amount of dried tofu and seaweed that reconstitutes is miniscule.  You can pretty much drink it like you would a cup of tea or coffee, or a cup of beef broth.  It's not a real "soup experience".

So, even back then what I did was to buy a Tofu block and cube up some of it to ammend this soup, along with buying a package of dried seaweed and some fresh green onions to slice into thin disks and add to the soup also.  This filled it out nicely, and was a good facsimile of a Japanese Restaurant Miso Soup. The miso broth though was still kind of thin.  Recently though I found full quart size packages of miso paste in the refrigerated section of Carr's, which is the local variant of the Safeway chain.  One tablespoon of this paste thickens up your home brew miso soup and with all the ingredients added, is now BETTER than any miso soup at even the best Japanese restaurant!

At the top of the page you see Before & After photos of Miso made at home in the digs here.  Which one looks more appetizing to you?

https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.caloriecount.about.com/images/medium/house-foods-tofu-firm-101552.jpg In addition to the normal ingredients, I also add some canned mushrooms, which have a great texture and are a terrific addition to the normal recipe.  So, how much does the ammended Miso Soup cost me?

The initial packet of Kikkoman comes in packages of 3 for around $5, so that is $1.66 per serving.

A block of firm tofu comes in around $2.50 average here, and I get about 4 servings from one block when I cube it up.  About $.60 for the tofu.

The seaweed comes in at $1.20 for a small package, which gets about 6 servings. $.20

The Miso Paste comes in at $6 for the quart size, but I get at least 20 servings out of that for $.30.

The green Onion come in at $1 for a bunch of around 6, one per serving for around $.16

Total cost for the Gourmet, Rich and Beefy Miso Soup, slightly under $3.  However, I have now found that I can substitute for the expensive package of dried Miso Soup from Kikkoman the much cheaper generic dried Onion Soup mix similar to Lipton under the store brand.  Utilizing this as base, I take a full dollar off the cost here and the result tastes practically the same and the nutritional value is exactly the same. You get fabulous nutrition out of this soup, tons of protein in the Miso and the Tofu and Vitamins in the seaweed and green onion.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51nKFKrsPWL._SY300_.jpg Far as the homeless person is concerned, this is all easy to boil up in one small pot (my next Snap Card article will cover lightweight and portable cooking gear) and very amenable to homeless cooking.  However, it does have the refrigeration problem, both the Tofu and the Miso need to be kept refrigerated until you actually use them.  This problem can however be resolved with a Cooler and Ice, if you have a semi-permanent tent arrangement in a Homeless Encampent, aka Obamaville.  If you dispense with the Miso paste and brew up the soup with just the fresh Tofu, then if you share with 3 other homeless people you go through the whole block in one meal, so no refrigeration necessary.  It's unfortunate Miso Paste isn't available in small packets like ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, that would get rid of the storage problem you have for a large quantity of Miso paste.

Miso Soup is not my only Soup Ammendation recipe, I have another big favorite which is Southwest Blackbean soup

Now, if you want to make Miso Soup for yourself at home (or homeless), it's not so EZ as just cracking open a can of Campbells Chunky Soup.  There are no canned Miso Soup varieties available here in the FSoA I have ever been able to locate.  There are any number of quite good canned soups coming from both Campbell's and Progresso, although in both cases I have seen deterioration of the quality and "chunkiness" in both brands of soup.  The Clam Chowder in both cases has taken a really big hit. A lot thinner now and less clams and potatoes.  A lot of ammendation is necessary to get a decent bowl of clam chowder now from either company, but not going to cover that ammendation here today, I'll stick to just the Southwestern Black Bean soup for this article.

https://gianteagleproducts.blob.core.windows.net/images/376/00041196458930-GE-20150804095304.jpg The SBB soup is a very tasty one from the Progresso folks, but like all the Chunky varieties from Campbell's, they aren't so Chunky anymore.  These soups come in around $2/can now up here on the Last Great Frontier, although I usually wait for sales and stock up when they come in at 3 for $5 or so, $1.66 each.  By itself with no ammendation, a single can of this soup is good for 2 meals, in combination with a bagel or a part of a Subway Hero.  Ammendation though makes the soup a meal in itself, and in fact transforms it from a Soup to something more like a Gumbo.

To ammend a can of SBB soup, I usually add 1/2 can of Seasoned Black Beans, which come in at around $1/can.  Then another 1/4 can of sweet corn kernels, coming in around $.90/can.  The soup is now a whole lot thicker and richer, and there is a lot more of it.  I'm not done yet though.

For fresh veggies, I add some chopped up and sauteed green peppers and a diced habanero pepper to make it spicier.  Then I pan fry or BBQ an Italian Sausage or Bratwurst and cut it into thin disks to add to the soup, which adds animal protein and fat to up the calorie content.

The mixture is so thick and rich now that although you can still eat it solo with some sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese on top, what I usually will do at this point is steam up some rice and and ladle it over the rice pile.  Now, instead of 2 meals out of the original can of SBB soup, I have more like 4 meals of Gumbo over Rice.

The original can comes in at an average price of $1.75.

1/2 Can of Seasoned Black Beans, $.45.

1/4 Can of Sweet Corn Kernels, $.25

1/4 Green Pepper, $.50

1 Habanero Pepper, $.50

1 Sausage, $1

Total cost for the base Gumbo, $4.45.  Divided by 4 approximate meals (I usually get more though, like 6), that comes to around $1.11/serving.  This gets ladled over the rice, which costs very little, maybe another $.30.  It's a huge, tasty and filling meal for under $1.50.  Adding some cheese and sour cream to it you might drive the total cost up to $1.50, but no more than that.

As with the Miso Soup, the big problem here for the Homeless person is not in the cooking, but in this case the refrigeration of the leftover soup from the initial preparation.  You have a pot of soup you need to keep refrigerated for at least 4 days, which also means eating the same soup for 4 days straight.  As tasty as it is, by day 3 you are ready for a change but the more days you eat something else, the longer it is leftover in the cooler, and by about the 6th or 7th day, your really don't want to eat it.  It might still be OK biologicaly speaking and not make you sick with Tomane Poisoning, but even so week long leftovers are not very appetizing, even if well refrigerated.

So in this case once again you are best off to work in at least a small GROUP or TRIBE of similar Homeless people, and all share the meals and the costs together.  Then the entire preparation can be consumed in one sitting.  A group of 4-6 people is ideal for this, a family or a few refugee buddies.  However, once you start to cook in bulk for more than just yourself, now you start to need some cooking gear beyond a persoal aluminum or stainless steel mess kit that can handle larger cooking taks for more people.

I will cover the nature of such cooking gear and how it should be used in the next installment of the SNAP Card Gourmet.

Cook-kit

SNAP Card Gourmet: PIZZA!

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on October 16, 2016

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I've been writing Snap Card Gourmet articles and recipes for over a year now, with at least 8 articles on the topic of eating well and eating cheap.  As a former Chef, I love to cook, and as an Epicure I used to love to eat too!  My own concoctions and stuff served up by fine restaraunts, whatevah, eating was a great pleasure for me over the years.

https://s3-media3.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/3DbU-KM7Ib0ecr1Mns_Tgw/ls.jpg I was pretty good in terms of controlling my total intake and never got ridiculously obese, although in my trucking years I did load up an extra 40 lbs or so on a relatively small frame, so I was kinda fat then.  Long days behind the wheel with little physical output of energy required, followed by a stop a some truckstop buffet with an all you can eat buffet tends to put on the fat layers, even if the food is not all that good.

I shaved off most of that fat though in the years following the life on the road, and balanced out at a reasonable set point of around 165 lbs.  Not my trim weight of around 145 from my 20s-30s, but not unreasonable either.

In developing the Snap Card Gourmet series, I focused on many of my favorite foods, mostly EZ to cook up recipes created from fresh meats and veggies which shouldn't strain your budget and also have good nutritional value.  I have encountered problems with this menu recently though, due to artifacts of my spinal injury.

http://www.restaurantnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Ruths-Chris-Steak-House-Surf-Turf.jpg The main problem here is first off I have little to no appetite most of the time and actually have to FORCE myself to eat these days.  Nothing really "tastes good" to me anymore, I can hardly taste the difference between a Big Mac from Mickey D's or a Prime Cut Fillet Mignon  & Lobster Tail Surf & Turffrom Ruth's Chris or another "Fine Steakhouse".  The main difference is the price, around $5 for the Big Mac and around $100 for the Surf & Turf.  In both cases, I have trouble finishing the whole meal as served, usually the best I do these days is get through about 1/3rd of what is on the plate and the rest comes home as leftovers.  I can't eat a lot all at once, that makes me nauseous.  So normally these days I just eat a few bites of some food in my fridge a few times a day, then I take a vitamin or two or three of different types to make sure I am getting my vitamin requirements fulfilled.

There is a secondary problem to not being able to eat much when you want to buy fresh food, which is the size of the packages of meat, which usually come in the smallest package size of around 1lb.  I never ate a full pound at one sitting exept maybe a few times with a big ass Porter House steak in my teens and twenties when males of just about any size can eat through an entire refrigerator in a day.  Even a "Quarter Pounder" Burger is a lot for me to eat now, usually I eat about half and then the other half as leftovers, or it gets thrown out.  Cooking tiny portions is a complete waste of time, you have all the same prep time and cooking time as with a large meal for 2-4 people, and who wants to bother with that for just yourself, particularly if you are not getting any great enjoyment out of the eating?  So I have this same problem with leftovers whether I cook at home or go out to eat.

What's the solution here to this problem?  I want my food to be cheap & relatively nutritious and I want it in small quantities but relatively fresh when I eat it without long stays in the fridge as leftovers.

http://www.bellisiofoods.com/files/cache/5ca99f92c5238cfa1f2c84379335aec0_f360.png The small cheap frozen food dishes that Michelina's and Banquet puts out ALMOST fill the bill, they come in about $1 each and are just about the portion size I can eat at one sitting.  The problem with them of course is they are not nutritious in the LEAST.  I do resort to them now periodically though.  I have however come up with some somewhat more nutritious and tasty (insofar as I can taste them anyhow) alternatives to this diet of frozen foods, which not only are tasteless but have the consistency of soggy cardboard.

My first and current favorite are the "Take & Bake" Pizzas on sale near the deli counter of most major food stores these days.  They come in 3 usual varieties, the 5-Cheese pizza, the Pepperoni Pizza and the Supreme Pizza, which has sausage, pepperoni, onions, green peppers and black olives on it.

When I buy such a T&B Pizza, I don't bake the whole thing at once, I cut it into 1/4s and bake each quarter slice on its own in the toaster oven.  The smaller 8" size is big enough and runs around $6, so that is about $1.50/meal for just the pizza, but I do add-ons sometimes.

http://images.bizbuysell.com/shared/listings/115/1157689/5f881a57-9669-402f-b209-d4c71701fbb2-W640.JPG When I was a kid in New York Shity, there was a small Pizzeria on just about every block, wedged into the ground floor Store Space of the typical NY Walk up tenement style building of the 1900s-1930s or so.  These places were all laid out the same, narrow and long.  They had to fit the about 20' wide storefront and they went back probably 100' or so.  There was a door in and a Window/Counter open to the street where you could buy a slice without actually going inside, the Walk-Up version of the Drive Thru windows at all the fast food joints we have today.

Inside the store, there was a counter with full pizzas of various varieties which you could buy by the slice, around 25 cents a slice at the time as I recall.  A narrow aisle spearated this from 3 or 4 two person tables, and then further in the back were a few 4 person tables and the bathrooms.  On the far side of the counter was the Pizza Oven, which in the best old pizzerias were still made of brick or stone at the time, but increasingly replaced by stainless steel electric or gas models.  The Pizza Chef was always out front tossing the dough circles in the air until you were sure the dough would break but never did, always tossed to the perfect consistency of thinness befor breaking.

https://amusingthezillion.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/photocopyrightgeorgedaniell1997_coneyisland.jpg?w=500 Over time of course these small family owned pizzerias were replaced by chains of Pizza Huts housed in more square buildings and now with a drive up window rather than the sidewalk windows on the streets of NYC.  No Pizza Chefs toss dough circles in these places, they were replaced by fast food workers who got pizza dough shipped in frozen from some dough factory which probably had machines to toss the dough.  Then the Frozen Pizza market exploded, and for half the price or less of a Pizza at Pizza Hut you could pick one of innumerable varieties from innumerable manufacturers of Pizza in the Frozen Food aisle of your local food mega store.  Some of them are actually not too bad, and there are a lot of interesting varieties.

The latest varient of this are pizzas made up in the deli counter area of your food super store, they are not frozen but made up with fresh veggies and other ingredients and when you bake them yourself, almost as good as those great slices of pizza you remember from your youth.  They generally come in only 3 varieties though, the 5-cheese, the pepperoni and the supreme, although sometimes also you see the "Hawaiian" pizzas with pineapple and ham on them which have become quite popular.  These were never available in my youth and I have never developed a taste for them.

https://67.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lsyiex72DW1qai5m3.jpg  Mainly I buy the Supreme Pizzas which have a variety of veggies already on them, plus pepperoni and sausage which gives me some meat protein for the day, and no further prep is necessary other than cutting out a slice and baking it in the toaster oven while I write or surf doom on the internet.  However, my favorite pizza type from my youth was the Mushroom Pizza, which had on top of the tomato sauce and cheese mushroom slices.  So what I do sometimes now since such pizzas are not pre-made in the store is buy a 5 cheese pizza and then add on my own mushrooms sauteed in garlic before baking.  In some respects this is BETTER than the mushroom pizzas of my youth, because I carefully lay on the shrooms so there is a "shroom in every bite".  Sometimes in the pizzerias they were cheap on the amount of shrooms they dropped on or they were poorly distributed around the pizza and if you were unlucky you got a mushroom pizza slice with too few mushrooms to have one in every bite of pizza.

I also can add other things I like, like some sliced black olives or even hearts of palm or artichoke hearts, all of which come conveniently out of the can and keep for weeks in a tupperware container in the fridge.  Addition of materials probably adds another 50 cents to the cost of each slice of the pizza I create this way.

http://ipjournal.law.wfu.edu/files/2011/03/Subway-Sandwiches.png Besides the Pizzas, another prepared food I have as part of my main diet now are Subway Heroes.  After you pick your meats and cheese, you can have the fast food worker load it up with lots of different fresh veggies, and in addition nowadays guacamole which drives up the calorie content quite a bit.  Add Mayo or Oil and Vinegar, still more calories.  Get home and add a few more slices of cheese, more calories.  I have the original hero cut into three parts, each of which is enough for me for 1 day, and each part is still pretty good on the third day as long as it is kept in the fridge wrapped up in its plastic bag.  I stay away from stuff like tomatoes which will make the bread soggy if kept in the fridge this way.  If I want tomatoes, I add my own right before consuming that part of the sandwich.

The final prepared food which is part of my main diet are the Rotisserie Chickens available in most food stores running anywhere from $5-$8 depending on the store and size of chicken they offer up.  Cheapest are of course at Walmart.  Such a chicken will last me at least 4 days for the main parts I like to eat by themselves, the breasts and the drumsticks.  Then I take what is leftover from those and the thighs and wings and and chop it up and make a chicken salad which lasts another day or two.  Then I take the stripped carcass and throw it in the slow cooker to make chicken stock, add a can of commercial chicken stock to that and make some Jewish Penicillin out of it, aka Matzoh Ball Soup.  One of these chickens easily gives me a full week of animal protein, fat and vitamins from the fresh carrots that go in the soup as well.

http://img.sndimg.com/food/image/upload/w_555,h_416,c_fit,fl_progressive,q_95/v1/img/recipes/15/08/79/pic9F4al0.jpg All in all, this diet pretty much fulfills my needs and is EZ to prepare and quite cheap, pretty much as cheap as buying raw foods and preparing them myself, which these days I really have no inclination to do anymore.  I do still enjoy preparing foods for others to eat, but I don't really have much opportunity to do that anymore.  I do miss the days when I would BBQ up a nice juicy ribeye steak with a dry rub and marinated a day or two in my secret marinade and then slathered with some BBQ sauce to carmelize, but today most of that generally goes to waste and it's just too much trouble to cook it up too.

Even if you don't have a good kitchen to prep in, the single person can still eat relatively well on a low budget here in the FSoA with the Pizzas, the Heroes and the Rotisserie Chickens.  These don't have to be the ONLY things you eat, I also drop in there ocassionally some sausage and eggs, or some canned soup I like, or I buy a garlic bread to toast up in the toaster oven, etc.  The main thing is to reduce the leftovers and the wasteage of food, which absolutely drives me nuts when I have to throw out food and think about all the people out there currently going hungry.  I can't do too much about that, but I can try not to waste so much food for myself.

The SNAP of Doom

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famine-e1465572093287

Famine, as visualized by sculptor Rowan Gillespie on Custom House Quay in Dublin, Ireland. Famine is what the food stamp program prevents. And the food stamp program is showing signs of breaking down. (Photo by William Murphy/Flickr)

Published on The Daily Impact on June 10, 2015

 


There are stories that confirm our worries that the whole industrial system is about to come apart; and then there are stories that scare the crap out of us because they indicate that the collapse is ongoing and accelerating. This is one of those latter stories, one of those pre-apocalyptic cracks of doom that, like thunder, tell you it’s time to get ready. A Google search this morning finds no mention of this story in the industrial media, but it rages in the alternative sources (many of whom are weaving it into their previously established conspiracy theories as a deliberate act, not another triumph of  ineptitude).

The story? All over the country, especially since June 1, the SNAP card system, which is how we get food stamps to people now, is failing. Curiously, the failures seem to be selective, not blacking out areas-or states or regions, but cherry-picking individuals all over the country. Hundreds of people all over the country so far this month, and thousands this year, are experiencing late funding of their SNAP cards — some people are still waiting for funds that were supposed to be available on June 1. Many hundreds more are finding their SNAP cards won’t work at all.

According to a website that tracks these things, people are reporting problems at a rate that for parts of the day exceed 200 per hour. Fifty million individuals, including one out of every five American children, receive food stamps. If you know any families who rely on them — personally I mean, not through the viewpoint of the snarling “get-a-job” trolls who populate every online discussion of this subject (including, amazingly, the website designed to collect reports of problems in the system) — you know that the last few days before the stipend comes through are often hungry days. (The trolls sneer at that, but would you really be unaffected by a one or two week delay in your paycheck?)

But you do not have to be a bleeding-heart liberal to find this problem appalling. The SNAP, or EBT, card is how we deliver food assistance to people who otherwise would be in line at some government agency, lines whose size and desperation would dwarf anything seen in the Great Depression. There is virtually no margin for error here before people start to starve. (What’s that you say? A huge government computer system with no margin for error? What could possibly go wrong?)

And if you have no pity for the starving (because obviously if they had good character they would be successful like you), consider this:before they starve they are going to burn your country down around your hard of hearing ears.

People who have not read history and who have no empathy and are childishly simplistic in their comprehension of the world — you know, people like Donald Trump — have no idea what has happened in the past (“Let them eat cake!”), what is happening right now (People are dying in massive riots around empty grocery stores in Venezuela.) or what could happen any minute if another lit match is thrown into that tinder box (“Drug test them!” “Reduce and restrict benefits!” “Make ‘em work for it!”)

So move the second hand on the doomsday clock a little closer to midnight, and pray that the government that designed and built a computer system for the FBI that had to be scrapped entirely on opening day — the government that designed and built the original Obamacare website — can fix this problem before….

Oh, never mind. I gotta find my bugout bag.


Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

SNAP Card Gourmet Weekly Menu

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 27, 2015

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Since I began the SNAP Card Gourmet, I have put up quite a few individual recipes that come in under the SNAP Card Budget of average $5/day eating.  However, I haven't yet put up a Weekly Meal Plan that meets the budget and provides good Variety so you don't get bored eating the same stuff every day.  Rice & Beans every day or Spaghetti & Meatballs every day gets OLD very fast.  You can do this for a 3-day stretch if you really have to, but if you plan carefully in what you will buy in any given week and then also have a Fridge of some kind to store the fresh food and the leftovers, there is no reason to be eating this way as long as Da Goobermint is dropping $150/mo on your SNAP Card.

Before going through the Weekly Menu, a few things to note.

First off, I dropped in a different meal for each day and time, breakfast lunch and dinner.  In a normal week, I wouldn't have different meals every day and every time period.  If I make a big batch of Seafood Gumbo for instance, I'll probably have that 3 times during the week, not just once.  Same with stuff like chili or chicken soup.  In the week I make stuff like this, I have it in 2 or 3 meals.  The rest goes in the Freezer to be eaten the following week.

The next important thing to note are the Prices I dropped in, which were all in Whole Numbers of $1, $2 or $3 for a given meal.  I generally overestimated to the Upside on this.  In fact, something like a Ramen Noodle and Peanut Butter Sandwich comes in at more like 70¢, and most of the breakfast meals I list come in under the $1 they are listed at.

The next reality is that I in fact hardly ever eat 3 meals of this size in a day, I usually only have 2 of them, depending when it is that I actually drag myself out of bed.  LOL.  I also don't usually have everything listed as part of the meal either, I'll just have a cup of oatmeal and no banana, or a banana and no oatmeal, etc.

Another reality is that I just about ALWAYS have leftovers, because my appetite is very depressed as a result of my neck injury and lack of mobility.  My Eyes are almost ALWAYS bigger than my Stomach these days, particularly when cruising the meat freezers at 3 Bears.  It's almost impossible for me to resist buying a nicely marbled Rib Eye Steak that is ON SALE,  despite the fact i have plenty of steaks vaccuum sealed in the freezer already.  So if I make a mega-Burger meal, if I can eat half of it that is doing good, and I have the other half for breakfast the next day.  My biggest issue is eating leftovers before they go bad, or finding space in the freezer to keep the leftovers more than a week.

Then I dropped in also some Premium food, like Avocados.  One nice Avocado by itself around here comes in at $2.50 usually, and this is not necessary to use half of for a burger or half for breakfast either.  Dispense with the Avocado, you save $2.50 for that week.

So my weekly menu generally costs less than this, although periodically I buy what I call Super-Premium foods, like Alaska King Crab or Filet Mignon or Rack of Lamb or Camembert Cheese etc, so that brings the weekly cost up some.  Not much though, because even the Super Premium doesnt all get eaten in one week.  If I buy a Rack of Lamb for $15, I'll have it in 3 parts over 3 weeks for 3 meals widely space apart.

All in all, I just about never spend more than $40/week on Food even though I am not on a SNAP Card budget of necessity.  Most weeks it is around $30, and I never have a problem with good variety and tasty meals to eat in a week.  As I mentioned above, the biggest problem is the Leftovers.  I hate throwing away food, it feels sinful to me to do that.  At the same time, I don't always feel like eating the other half of last night's dinner for breakfast the next day, and after 3 days in the fridge I REALLY don't feel like eating it!  lol.  So I am trying to adjust how much I cook up on any given day to just what I will eat that day.  Not so EZ to do, because some things like Gumbos only cook up well in quantity, plus usually the ingredients come packaged in quantities bigger than I will eat in a week.  If you are feeding more people, it becomes a bit easier not to run into the leftovers problem.

With all those caveats in mind, here is a Sample SNAP Card Gourmet meal plan for a week:

  Breakfast Cost Lunch Cost Dinner Cost   Weekly Cost
Mon Bacon Egg Cheese on a Roll 1 Peanut Butter Sandwich & Banana 1 Spaghetti w/ Meatballs & Sausage & Salad 2    
Tue Oatmeal & Banana 1 BLT Sandwich & Cup of Chili 1 Chili w/ Rice & Steamed Veggies 2    
Wed Western Omellete & Home Fries 1 Chicken Salad Sandwich & Cup of Chicken Soup 1 Sausage w/ Peppers & Onions on a French Roll 2    
Thu French Bread w/ Cheese & Orange 1 Grilled Cheese Sandwich & Ramen Noodles 1 Chili-Cheese Dog & Steamed Veggies 2    
Fri Smoked Salmon Omellete 2 Tuna Sandwich & Cup of Fish Chowder 2 Seafood Gumbo 3    
Sat Egg-Potato-Bacon-Cheese Scramble 1 Meatball Marinara Sub 2 Chicken w/ Rice & Beans & Salad 3    
Sun Avocado Half & Boiled Egg 2 Broccol-Cheese Soup and Loaded Baked Potato 2 Cheeseburger w/ Bacon, Avocado, Lettuce, Tomato 4    
    9   10   18   37

Now, to make these meals in a week, what do you need to buy or have in the fridge or freezer already?  This is where it gets difficult to figure the precise cost of any single meal.

Bacon shows up often in the breakfasts and lunches, but usually I get around 2 weeks out of a 1 lb slab of bacon, which I can usually pick up ON SALE for $4.  So the Bacon cost for a week is $2.  The Chicken which I usually buy pre cooked as a Rotisserie Chicken for $6 also gets me 2 weeks usually, half of it I eat the first week with a Breast/Wing and Leg/Thigh/Wing on 2 days, and the rest of the good meat  from the other half goes into making a chicken salad, then the Carcass goes into the slow cooker to make a Chicken Soup base, which also lasts 2 weeks.  A package of Hot Italian Sausage to use in Spaghetti Sauce and for Sausage Pepper & Onion  Subs also goes 2 weeks at least.. Ground beef for chili, meatballs and hamburrgers only lasts a week, while a package of Hot Dogs for chili-cheese dogs will last a month.

Then there are Staples like Spaghetti and Rice, which I buy in Bulk and last a couple of MONTHS.  The per meal cost of these is pretty negligible, 25¢ or so maybe.  Cooking Oil, Mayonaise, Butter etc also bought rarely, but part of many of these meals.  A gallon bottle of cooking oil will last me 6 months EZ though, so per meal that i use it for cooking it does not amount to more than 10¢ either.

So on my weekly shopping trip, I go in with a $35 Budget, but I don't buy all the items necessary for the Meal Plan in any given week.  A typical basket full of industrial ag food goodies when I get to the checkout counter might look like this:

Food Quantity Price Total
Ground Beef 1 5 5
Hot Sausage 1 4 4
Bacon 1 4 4
Scallops 0.5 12 6
Eggs 1 3 3
Black Beans 2 1 2
Red Beans 2 1 2
French Rolls 2 2 4
Kaiser Rolls 4 0.5 2
       
    Grand Total 32

In another week, I might leave out the bacon and sausage and buy a rotisserie chicken.  Other weeks I might load up on staples like spaghetti or rice.  I always come in under my $35 budget for a given week by $2-3, because I keep a running tally in my head, always rounding up on the prices.  So by the end of the month there is always extra money to pick up stuff like chili powder or a gallon of cooking oil or pound of butter etc.

Now, lets go through some of the key meals in detail!

Bacon-Egg-Cheese on a Kaiser Roll

https://ramblingcookiemonster.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/bec.jpg This is the true NY Deli Breakfast Meal, picked up on the way to school or work before getting on the subway.  The Egg McMuffin is a poor imitation of this delicious morning meal, which in the old days was all cooked on a griddle behind the counter rather than microwaved up.  I usually don't load it up so big as the one at left, I find that one egg, one strip of bacon and a hunk of sharp cheddar cheese sliced off the bar of cheese is plenty for me for breakfast.

 

 


Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato Sandwich

http://www.bonappetit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/blt-set-free-overlay-bg.jpgThe Classic "BLT"

Shown here on typical Toast, but I modified this to have it on half of a Fench Roll instead of the sliced bread loaf toast. Although they are more expensive, I like the artisan baked breads you find nowadays in the big food superstores that have their own bakeries and kitchens.  Some weeks I may buy a loaf of bread for making peanut butter sandwiches and so forth, but these loves last a while and I only use them for BLTs if I have used up my French Rolls and Kaiser Rolls for other meals.

The BLT forms the base for many other sandwiches and burgers.  Add a hamburger & some cheese to a BLT, and you have a Bacon Cheeseburger.  Add some Smoked Turkey slices and you have a club sandwich.  However, I am partial to just the straight BLT, although again I don't load mine up with quite as much bacon as is on this one.

Chili with Rice

http://nutmegnotebook.com/wp-content/uploads/photos/TamalesChili-Food-Finds-033.jpgUsually I will make up my own batch of Chili from scratch and keep a bunch of it frozen, but I admit to being lazy on this also and just buying Canned Chili, which also comes in quite cheap.  A Can of Napa chile comes in around $1 a can, which you can then spruce up by adding some slices of an Italian Sausage, some green pepper and onions, etc.

The Rice really fills out the meal, and in fact I usually only use the equivalent of half a can of chile with the rice for a meal, so 1 can will make 2 meals.  I rarely will eat it by itself as a bowl f chile.  I'll use the other half of the can for a Chili Dog or Open Face Chili Burger.  This is another change of pace from the Bacon Cheeseburger which adds variety to your menu.

 

Seafood Gumbo

Around here because everybody fishes, I always have some halibut or salmon in the freezer, I never have to buy these even though I don't fish myself anymore.  Friends are always giving me some fillets or steaks during the fishing season and I vacuum seal them and throw them in the freezer.  So to make a gumbo, I will take one out and cut it up into chunks, and then buy some scallops or shrimp or crab to add as well to the gumbo, and then whatever else I have available gets thrown in the slow cooker.

Like the Chili, Gumbos are best when served with rice to fill them out with some carbs.  Also like the Chili, a batch will last for several meals, so you usually will want to freeze a portion of it, unless there is more than one person in your household in which case you might all consume a batch in one meal.  This is the advantage of cooking for a larger number of people for anything you do in a slow cooker.

There are of course numerous other meals listed in the Weekly Snap Card Plan above, and many others possible also.  Each week you can evaluate what you still have in the fridge as fresh food, what leftovers you have and what you might want to buy in the next week.  Sometimes I have so many leftovers that I need to skip a week of buying new food just to work through the leftovers before they go bad.  Same with fresh produce, lettuce, tomatoes etc.  These weeks off from buying new food also provides the money to buy things like fresh produce, mayonaise and spices you want in the pantry to flavor up the food.

Careful planning and watching your weekly budget makes having a healthy and diverse diet quite possible on a SNAP Card allotment.  Dont waste your money on junk foods like Potato Chips or cans of Soda, and you'll have plenty of good food to eat each month, at least until the supermarket shelves go empty or they stop issuing SNAP Cards out, in which case we will have even bigger problems to concern ourselves with.

Eat Well, Eat Cheap with the SNAP Card Gourmet!

 

 

 

 

 

SNAP Card Gourmet Gumbo

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 8, 2015

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What is a Gumbo?

Gumbo is a stew that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and the vegetable holy trinity of celery, bell peppers, and onions.

That's the official definition anyhow.

To me though, a Gumbo is anything you throw in a pot to make a fully nutritious and filling meal.  It should have everything you need to eat for the day in one pot.  Animal Protein, Corbohydrates, Veggies etc.  It should also be spicy and flavorful.  You throw into your pot whatever is available.

Gumbo ingredients should also be CHEAP (relatively speaking of course these days).  So no expensive cuts of meat in there.  In fact, if you can get the meat for free by nailing a squirrel with your slingshot, even better!  Same with the veggies, if you can get them out of your own garden instead of buying the overpriced GMO versions in the food superstore, this also is better.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31vMUhKeJcL.jpgGenerally speaking though, the SNAP Card Gourmet Homeless Person or Road Warrior doesn't have these options most of the time.  For this week's edition of SCG, I made two Gumbos utilizing only my Homeless Cooking Apparatus, a portable propane grill and a 2 burner portable propane stove.  The key in both cases is you want to make maximum use of your propane once you start cooking.  When doing my SCG experiments, I try to get a full week out of 2 one liter size cannister of propane.  One cannister goes to run the grill, the other one to run the stove.  They run about $3 each right now here on the Last Great Frontier, and I have dozens of them in the Preps.  You can also refill them with adapters available in the camping department of your local Walmart.

It's cheaper still and more efficient to use a typical 5 gallon Propane tank that most home BBQs work on, but for the Homeless person unless well set up in a  semi-permanent Tent City, such a large cannister is tough to move around, although if you still have car and storage unit, this is the cheaper way to go than the individual cannisters.

The portable Grills and Stoves are also relatively inexpensive, anywhere from $30 to $60 usually.

http://www.smart-camping-guide.com/image-files/weber_portable_grill.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/413Q10RYHHL.jpg

These are the models I use for SNAP Card Gourmet Cooking

You also want to keep yor cooking utensils to a minimum.  Even if you still have your car, too many pots, pans, knives etc clutters up your valuable private space. I keep my SNAP card utensils to 2 sizes of pots which nest, and 2 sizes of sautee pans that nest.  I also have a small electric slow cooker which is great to use if you have a source of electricity.  Also worthwhile to have is an electric single or double burner to use when electricity is available.  This can save you money on propane and has the bonus you can use them indoors just about anywhere, for instance in a cheap motel room once a week or bi weekly, where you additionally can shower and clean up, hopefully for a Job Interview the following day.  You also do laundry on these motel vacations.  So when you arrive at the job interview, you don't appear to be a smelly homeless person, but rather still a normal member of industrial society.  You will of course need to be able to scrape up the $40-50 necessary for a night in such a Bates Motel.  Motel mini-vacations from the Road Warrior lifestyle should be judiciously chosen when on a limited budget.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51CjJqtzAZL._SY355_.jpg                                   http://ak1.ostkcdn.com/images/products/5238031/Brentwood-TS-372-Electric-Twin-Burner-P13061410.jpg

OK, now that you have all your SCG Cooking apparatus in place and ready, it's time to go SHOPPING! 🙂

http://static.caloriecount.about.com/images/medium/kroger-italian-sausage-hot-4086.jpgAs mentioned, you want to go with the cheapest cuts of meat available, which is usually chicken or pork.  Chicken is great for the chicken soups and chicken salads you can make, but pork in the form of sausage is better for the gumbos.  Some form of Beef is best for the stews, but beef usually comes in pricier than the chicken and sausage.

For the sausage, I usually get the generic house brand of sausage at the local Kroger, which comes in at around $1/lb less than the Johnsonville National sausage brand.  I like the Hot Italian sausage, but you can also get mild, or Bratwurst, all the same price around $3.75 for a 5-pack, $.75 per sausage around here.  One sausage is enough for your Animal Protein needs for the day, although I usually also have an Egg with a thin slice of breakfast meat and cheese on a roll as breakfast also on SCG experiment days.

The pack of sausages doesn't just go in the Gumbo, I like to have a Sausage, Pepper & Onion Hoagie/Sub/Hero also, a favorite of mine from street vendors  at the Festival of San Gennaro back in Little Italy in NY Shity in my youth.

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Fresh Green Peppers, Onions, Potatoes and Carrots are the best choices of veggies for the Road Warrior.  They require little to no refigeration and will stay good for a week at least.  You get some needed roughage and vitamins from them as well.  An EZ one pan morning meal is to chop up some peppers and onions, chop up a leftover potato from a slow cooker stew, then crack a couple of eggs over the whole mess and swish around untile the eggs congeal.  Slide that onto a plastic plate for eating, then just wipe down the pan and the plate with a paper towel!  Pretty EZ Cleanup!  A multi-vitamin with this breakfast is also recommended.

I'll also usually throw one in with some Spaghetti Sauce to have a Spaghetti Sausage Marinara meal, and sometimes use 1/4 of one for breakfast meat on the morning roll, although I like a thin slice of nice smoked ham instead, and I'm not really broke and homeless (yet!).  So you can get a nice variety of meals out of one package of sausages that will last you all week  easily.  Your biggest problem here if truly homeless is the refrigeration problem.  However, at least with the Gumbos and Spaghetti Sauce, the way around that is to Reheat the gumbo the next day to boiling temperature.  Any bacteria that might have got going overight gets killed off.  I have eaten both Gumbos and Sauces 3 days old without refrigeration simply by reheating them each day.  If you do still have a car or van and drive around regularly enough in it to keep the battery charged, you can use a thermoelectric cooler to keep your letovers good for a couple of days usually.

Better still than this method if truly homeless in a Tent City is to work together with other Homeless People.  5 people can be fed pretty well with 1 package of sausages and the rest of the ingredients in your Gumbo, so each Homeless person buys one set of ingredients a week which you all cook and eat together on the day the food is purchased, handed out at a food pantry or shoplifted perhaps.  lol.

OK!  So now it is time to GET COOKING on the porch and imagine my future life as a homeless cripple gourmet chef in a Tent City while Industrial Civilization progresses to Complete Collapse! 🙂

Step 1 is the meat preparation.  As mentioned in prior SCG recipe articles, I prefer my meat cooked over an Open Grill for the nice smoky flavor that it gives it, plus all those tasty carcinogens that get created over the flame.  lol.  I also want to maximize the use of my propane cannister, so I usually do not cook just one package of sausages, but rather fill up the grill space with other meat for other meals, which then gets stored in the refrigerator since I still have one of those and still can afford to pay my electric bill.  In this case, I filled up the rest of the grill with Beef Back Ribs, perhaps the cheapest beef cut you can buy that has some meat on it at around $2.79/lb up here these days.

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Right after the initial grilling, I'll eat the best parts of the ribs straight off the grill.  Then what is left on the bones goes in the Slow Cooker with some beef broth and simmers until the meat falls off the bone, and then I use that to make a Grilled Ribs Beef Stew, which I have gone over before in a prior SCG article.

http://www.progresso.com/~/media/images/heart%20healthy/southwest-style.ashxFor the Gumbo with the Sausage, I'm going to go with the single size batch I make, which only takes one or most 2 of these sausage links. You can easily upscale the recipe for a family or other Homeless Compadres.  For this, in good Homeless Person fashion, I use mostly canned goods off the shelf at Kroger.  My current favorite is a "Southwestern" style Gumbo that starts with a Base of a can of  Progresso Soutwestern Black Bean & Vegetable soup.  I usually can pick these up ON SALE for between $1.50-.1.75, current regular retail price is $2.15 up here though.

To me though, the soup by itself doesn't have enough Black Beans or Corn Kernels.  So I add to it a can of generic black beans and a can of generic sweet corn kernels.  $.80 each here for these cans, again ON SALE.

Then I take about 1/4 cup of rice and steam it, and add the steamed rice into the gumbo for the carb component.  No more than $.50 worth of rice here.  Then I dice up some fresh green peppers and onion, not too much maybe another $.50 worth, sautee until soft and carmelized, and dump that in the Southwest Gumbo.  Meat component is the Sausage, which after cooling from the grill I slice into thin disks that come in around 20 in number from a single sausage link.  Each disk fits nicely into one soup spoon dip into the Gumbo.  Finally I splash in some Habanero Pepper Hot Sauce which usually comes in around $3/bottle, but one bottle lasts months even unrefrigerated. $.10 for the seasoning here.

So total cost for this 1 person Gumbo is ~$5-6, and it usually lasts me 2-3 days.  So call it $2/day for this component of my daily sustenance.  The Egg/Cheese/Meat/Bread Breakfast comes in around $1.  Together, this is usually enough food for me in a day.  Days when I eat spaghetti, or leave out the fresh veggies I can get the feeding cost lower than that, and it's still pretty tasty eating.  If you can qualify for a SNAP Card, use Food Pantries and still have a place to do your cooking, at this point here in the FSoA you should not be going hungry yet, and neither should your kids if you have some.  Watch your food budget carefully, buy ON SALE foods of good general quality, balance your meals with protein, fat, carbs and roughage.  You should have enough left over at the end of the month to buy some Multi-Vitamins too, which should be added in because so many of the canned foods and even fresh GMO veggies are rather devoid of vitamins these days

Good eating, on the cheap, here on the SNAP Card Gourmet. 🙂

The SNAP Card Gourmet 004 – Chicken SNAP Alaska RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 23, 2014

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Week 4, the BONUS Week in the SNAP Card Budget has finally ARRIVEDAT LAST I will be able to start varying my meals and doing some more creative cooking!

As opposed to my roughly $25 Budget in the first 3 Weeks of this Adventure, this week I have about $65 to spend on FOOD left on my SNAP Card!  I am feeling positively WEALTHY as I head over to the Food Emporiums with this hefty load of Digital FRNs still left on the Card!

I start by cruising for BARGAINS on items I could not afford earlier while I made sure I had enough calories and basics in the larder to make it through the first 3 weeks.  I am in better shape now with a decent amount of basics, plus leftovers from the first 3 weeks.  I’m not gonna go hungry here in the next 10 days no matter what I buy.  However, I am still not going to be stupid and buy super expensive meat cuts quite yet for full on gourmet.  I’m looking for bargain fixin’s to make quality meals with.

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Even though they are not Prime, these steaks are well marbled with FAT and will cook up well on the Grill.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIn the Meat Dept, I find On Sale Organic Chicken Breasts, thin cut for $6.  That is a BUY!  Also an odd cut of beef ribs that sold at $2.50/lb, also a BUY for another Stew.  Finally in the Meat Dept, I found a Twin Pack of New York Strip Steaks for around $6, a little thinner than I usually like for BBQ, but with a high flame and quick cook, should be OK.  These steaks are small enough I will not have leftovers and they just are single meal jobs.  They will both be Grilled, because given the choice, I ALWAYS grill steaks rather than do pan or broiler cooking with them.  However, the rest of the prep will differ some so not exactly the same meal.  I am thinking I will have one or two Premium Steak & Eggs Breakfasts, and another Steak Dinner with Onions, Peppers, Tomatoes and Mushrooms.

Altogether here on the Meat End, I am around $15, now I need to fill out the meals here with the remaining $50.

I head first to the Fresh Veggies produce dept of the Food Emporium, as so far I have not had any fresh veggies in my meals and I MISS them.  Besides, they are healthy for you to eat.

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Some of this week’s Veggies! Note the colorful Organic Carrots! Mostly I Steam Veggies if they are not cooked in a stew. Zucchini I like sauteed in butter or bacon fat with some garlic.

I get a Crown of Broccoli for $3, 1 Pt Mushrooms for $2.50, 1/2 lb of Brussel Sprouts for a bit over $1, Spinach for $3, Zucchini $2 and an Avocado for $2.50.  I also still have carrots and onions and potatoes leftover from earlier purchases.  Total on the Fresh Veggies here, around $14.  So now up to $29 Spent, around $35 left.

Given the stuff I have just purchased, plus what is left from before, I now plan in my head my meals, and have to buy some premium stuff I do not have.

I need some spice, Tarragon for $3.  I need cooking sherry and marsala cooking wine, ON SALE for $4.59 each.  Two cans of Seasoned Black Beans, $2.  The Beans are to go with Rice in the larder as one of the Carb choices of the week besides the Spaghetti and the Potatoes. I have plenty of dried beans in my Preps, but canned beans are WAY easier to prepare and they aren’t very expensive. Unlike many other veggies also, canned beans don’t have much different texture than if you prepare them from dried beans.  I absolutely cannot stand anything like Canned Asparagus or Green Beans though.  Yuck Mush and tasteless, never buy them on ANY budget!. Total here another $15 or so, down to $20 left.

With the remaining, I buy some Staples, Sour Cream to go with my Baked Potatoes, $2.50, Hot Sauce $3 , 1 lb Ground Beef, $5, Spaghetti Sauce $3, Peanut Butter $2, Loaf Oatbread  ON SALE $3.

10 Day Plan as it evolves during the Shopping Expedition is this:

2 Nights Steak Dinners with Carb & Veggie Side Dishes

3 Nights Chicken Dinners with Carb & Veggie Side Dishes

2 Nights Stew Dinners

1 Night Gourmet Hamburger Dinner

1 Night Leftover Chili Dinner

1 Night ALL LEFTOVERS Dinner.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFor the Stew this week, besides the riblets, it gets potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic, some onion soup mix for broth and a little BBQ sauce.  Main difference from normal stew is that prior to dropping the meat into the Slow Cooker, I seared it on the Grill, which adds some nice smokey flavor.  You could just eat these off the grill, but this meat is a little tough even though there is plenty of fat.  Added benefit of doing a quick grilling first is that you render off some of the copious fat in this cut, which would be way too much in your stew.  Even so, I will probably have to cool it and skim some fat off after the slow cook, although in a real starvation scenario you would never do this.  In terms of calories, the more fat the better in your meal.  You have to balance this against having so much fat in there you clog up your arteries and die from Cardiac Arrest instead of starvation.  Overall though, on a Paleo type diet you can leave most fat in as long as you don’t overdo total consumption.

For the Chicken Dishes, my plan was to make two from the package of thin sliced organic chicken breasts, my own recipe of Chicken Alaska SNAP RE, and a typical Chicken Marsala.  However, I ended up just making the one Chicken Alaska since I didn’t have time and just did all 4 Chicken Breasts the same way. The Preps are not too much different for Marsala, and mostly the cooking is the same although you do have to bake Chicken RE a little in the oven to melt the cheese, which you do not have to do for Chicken Marsala.  For Chicken Marsala, you can go to Emeril or the Food Network for a recipe and cooking method, I won’t do that one here.

Now, I have to make an admission here, the recipes I am including do NOT include some spices that I have in my Preps that I could add to flavor these meals up a bit more.  They are still pretty tasty without the additional spices, and equally nutritious either way.  If you have some available spices, don’t hesitate to add them to make the recipe even BETTER!    For the Chicken Alaska SNAP RE, I suggest Tarragon and Sage in the saute phase.  Tarragon is a real good spice to use with Chicken, and the Sage accentuates the aroma.

Chicken SNAP Alaska RE Recipe

Ingredients

1 lb thin sliced Chicken Breasts

2 Tomatoes

1 Avocado

Cheddar Cheese

6 cloves Garlic

1/4 cup Flour

Cooking Oil

Directions

Pound chicken breasts thin, flour both sides.  Add chopped garlic to hot cooking oil, sear the breasts 2-3 minutes each side, remove from flame.  Add Sliced Tomatoes to the Hot Oil/Garlic, fry each side about 1-2 minutes.  Lay Tomato slices over chicken on skillet or baking dish.  Lay cheese slices over chicken & tomatoes.  Bake in Oven @ 350 F for around 10 minutes until the cheese melts nicely.  Lay Avocado Slices over the cheese and Serve.  Serves 4 people, or four meals for one person.  Approximate cost: $3-4 per serving.

This brings us to another issue, Cooking after TSHTF, or Cooking from just what you can Grow or Raise on your Doomstead.

Tons of things you drop into a Recipe are only available while JIT Shipping is still up and running to some extent.   Who grows Peppercorns on their Doomstead?  Can you get Avocados?  Paprika?  Cooking Sherry?  Lemons?  Probably not on many things, so your meals will not have such flavorings in them, even if you have access to Fish, Chicken, Moose, Potatoes, Carrots etc.

http://gallagher-photo.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Mongolia_Homeless_07.JPGYour actual ability to “cook” also gets limited down, while I can pound chicken breasts and flour them, you can’t do this if you are homeless, or at least it is real difficult.  Once you are homeless, your either boiling stuff or roasting it over a flame if you are working with anything fresh, but mostly you are not and just heating up canned food or microwaving in a convenience store. Homeless people do not have lots of cooking utensils, cast iron pans which are heavy to carry around etc.  Cooking with NO Utensils at all is just either open flame roasting or burying the food wrapped in leaves with hot rocks for a slow cook.

In fact “cooking” as we know it today really did not begin until Metallurgy was pretty well developed to make Pots, Pans, Griddles, Dutch Ovens etc.  Cookware in the old days was very valuable and handed down from generation to generation, along with things like Silverware and Fine China dishware.  With the Industrial Era though, mass produced cooking and eating utensils got very cheap and everyone takes these things for granted now.  Once out on the street though as a Homeless person, most of these things are baggage you just can’t carry around with you.  Most of what you eat off of and with is disposable paper and plasticware.  I have a couple of Stoneware sets, but I almost never use them.  Paper Plates!  Yes, I know it is wasteful.  However, I save on the energy used to wash the dishes!

http://bellpub.com/images/ugcoverphotos/UG_201107_CoverPhoto.jpgThis ends the first month, and what it does demonstrate is that you most certainly can survive on a SNAP card allotment, at least as long as you are not yet Homeless.  In fact you can do way better than I did this month by accessing Food Pantries if you qualify, and next month I will figure into the equation what is possible with food issued out to low income people and the elderly at a Food Pantry like the one I Volunteer at.  If you add in this stuff, at least twice a week you can eat premium foods if you watch the total budget and your consumption and food type distribution.

As long as both the SNAP Cards are issued out AND the Food Pantries continue to operate, any real “Food Riots” here in the FSoA such as you see already in MENA are unlikely.  If you are starving here in the FSoA right now, it’s either because you are already Homeless or do not have knowledge enough to be able to access the Food Assistance that is available in most neighborhoods, or you simply do not know how to Budget and spend your SNAP allotment on stupid things.  Like a Bag of Potato Chips that runs $4! Soda and high fructose corn syrup “Juices”!  Drink WATER from the Tap on a SNAP Budget!  For many people though, they simply don’t think about this and spend the whole $140 on junk which is gone in a week or two,  which is sad.

At the moment, the problem Economically for most of the population is not a Food Problem, there is plenty and it is getting distributed out for the most part, although you definitely have instances of people being poorly nourished due to their own ignorance and the poor choices in food available they make.  That food plenty will probably not last in perpetuity of course, but neither do I think it will drop off the map here in the FSoA that rapidly either.

Finally for today, in the next month I am not going to delineate the weekly purchases from here on in, but rather do an Estimated Cost Per Meal, since the accumulation of stuff over time means you do not always buy new stuff every month.  For instance, one quart of cooking oil lasts me at least 2 months.  Same with a pound of butter.  There are always leftovers to every meal, so you cannot make an absolute on exactly what you need to buy in any given month once you get going on this.

Generally speaking, most meals will come in between $2-$5.  Daily expenditures will mostly stay under $5, but after a few days of CHEAP EATING, a Gourmet Meal that might run $10 or even $20 might be cooked up here on the Diner Stove.  You cannot do many of those though and stay under a total monthly budget of $140.  However, I will do one SUPER PREMIUM meal each month and still stay under Budget.

Besides looking at what you get in a monthly box from the food pantry, I’ll also look more at how a Homeless person might use his SNAP Card and try to stay under budget with just Canned and Microwaveable foods in the next month.  Then we’ll examine the total economics of living on Poverty level income.

Until next week then, Eat Well and Stay Healthy!

RE

 

The SNAP Card Gourmet 003: Eggs Toba Flambe

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 16, 2014

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As we move into Week 3 of the First Month on the SNAP Card budget, I’m doing quite well with some decent amount of leftovers here in terms of Eggs, Potatoes and even some Chili and Spaghetti in containers.  So for Week 3 Purchases, I am going to get even CHEAPER, and just buy some Stew Meat to make a simple stew, along with Flour, Butter, Cooking Oil and Cheese so I can make Cheese Omelletes this week for breakfast, in addition to the Eggs Toba Flambe Video Special of the Week you see above.  BE CAREFUL when you make this breakfast!  You don’t want to burn down your Doomstead!  LoL.

Note: I did have to CHEAT for the Flambe with the SECRET INGREDIENT for a spectacular Egg Skillet dish.  This really perks up your Eggs! (Hint: This Recipe was Illegal from 1920 to 1933 in the FSoA) 🙂

So this week’s expenditures are

1 lb Stew meat $5

5 lbs Flour $2.50

2 lbs Cheddar Cheese $7

1 qt Cooking Oil $3

1 lb Butter $5

Dry Onion Soup Mix $2

The Cheese, Flour, Oil and Butter will last quite some time since you don’t use too much of this stuff usually for most things you whip up.  Total for the week here around $24.50.  So for the first 3 weeks, this will be a total of around $77, which leaves me $63 to finish out the month until JP Morgan Chase Recharges my SNAP Card.

A few issues were raised in SCG002 regarding just how cheap you can go here in what you buy.  For instance, my friend and fellow Gourmet Stucky pointed out that you can make Pasta cheaper than you can buy it, but the savings are pretty inconsequential here.  I only spent $2 on Pasta to begin with even buying the premade stuff.  Similarly, you can buy  Beans and some various other Staples very cheap, especially in Bulk, but if you try to live on JUST these mostly empty calories (though beans have good protein content too), the diet is ridiculously bland, not to mention totally lacking in vitamins.

http://nrn.com/site-files/nrn.com/files/uploads/2013/08/TacoBell_Breakfast_sign_300.jpgWhat runs up the cost is getting variety in the diet, and all the less cheap foods you need to fill it out and be able to do some decent cooking with.  So far, the “recipes” here are super basic, and really this is mainly “Bachelor Cooking 101”, at least it used to be.  Nowadays the typical Bachelor doesn’t even do this much cooking, because you can buy Frozen Foods to microwave up just about as cheap as doing most of these type of preparations.  I’ll go through the economics of that in another episode.  Besides that, if you are still employed and making a decent paycheck, most bachelors don’t cook breakfast for instance, they just stop in at Taco Bell on the way to work and buy a Breakfast Burrito. Lunch comes in the form of a Subway Sandwich. On the way home you stop at the Hot Counter of the Deli section of your local Food Emporium and buy some General Tso’s Chicken and Fried Rice.  You spend $20/day on food this way, it’s not real healthy, but it is well within the budget of most people employed in jobz above the Min Wage.

The other criticism came in the Meat department, with the idea you can get cheaper meats to eat that are not usual in the Amerikan diet, Liver, Tripe, Pigs Feet & Neck Bones yadda yadda.  The thing is, in Food Emporiums in this neighborhood, they aren’t that available usually, and they are not much cheaper either, if at all cheaper.  You’ll still pay $3/lb for most of them, even freaking Soup Bones with no meat at all on them!  On the other hand, I can about always find some cut of Boneless Pork for the same price.  The most I would save in a Week if my Meat consumption is 1-2lb/week is maybe $2 most by buying a cheap cut or some gizzard.  It just does not make a big difference to the total budget, which gets consumed elsewhere.

These 3 Vine Ripened Tomatoes cost $2 on SALE!

These 3 Vine Ripened Tomatoes cost $2 on SALE!

Besides spices, the main area that consumes your budget is if you start buying a lot of Fresh Veggies.  Another criticism came in is that instead of buying Canned Tomato Sauce, I should make my OWN Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes!  Issue here is a 1 qt  Can of Tomato Sauce comes as cheap as $1.25 on sale, to make this much tomato sauce with Fresh Tomatoes would cost $10 EZ.  If you are growing your own Tomatoes, this obviously is the way to go, but not if you are buying them.  Another thing to remember with the commercial tomatoes is that they usually are ethylene ripened and are not much more vitamin filled than the canned ones.  If you go and buy hothouse on the vine tomatoes, you can double your cost again here.  You’re ot gonna make much Tomato Sauce on a SNAP Card budget if you try to do it with Fresh Tomatoes, unless you are growing them yourself.

OK, that covers the critique from the last episode of SCG, now let’s get on with this week!  Since I am just making Stew and the only Main Ingredient I am currently missing is Stew Meat ( I have Carrots, Onions, Potatoes and Garlic still left from my Week 1 purchase), the fun part of this week is SHOPPING for the Meat!

I have 4 basic choices for buying Commercial Meat around here, Carr’s (a Safeway Chain store), Fred Meyer (a Kroger Chain store), 3 Bears (a discount Food Warehouse) and Matanuska Meats, a local place that will prepare your hunting and fishing meat as well as providing meat for sale from the local farms.

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I am fortunate all of these places are on my route to and from work more or less, I don’t have to go much out of the way to check in on them for what is available.  3 Bears has BY FAR the largest selection, and usually the lowest prices, but Carr’s comes in pretty low also sometimes, relatively speaking of course.  The meat fridge you see above at 3 Bears is only one of several, others have whole sides of beef, lamb etc in them.  With the MASS QUANTITIES of meat present in these freezers every day, it’s hard to imagine the day they will all be empty.  Until that day arrives though, plenty to choose from, and so far the prices aren’t too bad yet.

Fred Meyer overall for meat is not usually a good choice, although they come in cheapest on other stuff often enough.  Matanuska Meats has the highest Quality and is my usual choice if I am being Meat Picky, even though the price is usually a bit higher.

 photo matvally-1.gifFor Stew Meat, the difference is between paying $5/lb at Carr’s or $6/lb at Matanuska Meats, and just choosing here I would go with MM for a lousy $1 difference.  However, I am also torn in what cut I want to use, there are some real nice Ox Tails also on the rack at Fred Meyer.  This would make a much RICHER stew with more FAT in it than typical lean stew meat.  They want $7/lb for the Ox Tails.  This week, I decide to go medium with the Stew Meat from Matanuska Meats.  I’ll save doing an Ox Tail Stew for when I have more in the way of spices to make it super duper.

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Some of Francois’ dried meat selection.  He gives classes in preparing your meats as well.  Old School stuff.

I’m not going to video making Stew, because it is brain dead easy, and besides I am out of time here if I want to have the article ready for Sunday Brunch.

Much like the Spaghetti Sauce, the first proceedure is browning the meat in a pan before slow cooking, so it has nice color.  With the cubed meat though, I roll it around in some flour before browning it.  This adds calories and also will help thicken the stew.  Later you can add more flour to thicken more if you like.  I’m using whole grain flour for this.  A bag of flour is a great way to add in some extra cheap calories to any meal, even without making pasta from it.

Once browned up, you just chuck it in the slow cooker with the potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic, and make the broth from the Onion Soup mix.  OK, I am cheating again here and adding some Marsala Wine to flavor up the cooking broth some more.  It was a cheap bottle though and I only used 1/2 a cup.  Whisk in a little more Flour if you want it thicker.  Feel free to dump in your favorite spices if you have some also.  A Bay leaf definitely helps here.

3-4 hours later, ladle it out over some rice and Give Thanks to Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan Chase for another day of Industrial Food Living on your SNAP Card!

After 3 weeks here of “just getting by” on the SNAP Card Budget, in Week 4  I am FINALLY going to be able to start doing some REAL COOKING with REAL RECIPES!  I have $63 to spend for the final week or so here in the month, so I can buy some more expensive spices and ingredients.  Also, I’ll stock up on some staples like cooking oil, butter, sour cream etc to have available to make next month’s dishes perkier.

What I will go for at this time is dependent on what I see On Sale in the markets, but probably will include Last Great Frontier Fish Chowder RE and a Chicken dish, maybe Chicken Marsala, Chicken Paprikash or Chicken Parmesian.  Chicken is always relatively cheap animal protein, so a good meat choice.  Just have to watch out for the GMO fed chickens, which tend to be stringy in texture.

We also have Thanksgiving coming up, so we probably need to do something special for that.  No way I will do a Turkey though for just me, I’d be eating the leftovers for MONTHS, even with a small Turkey.

Until then eat well and watch those shelves for disappearing products!

RE

 

The SNAP Card Gourmet: 002

Off the keyboard & camera of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 9, 2014

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kuroda-laughingIn this week where the Japanese have gone FULL RETARD in their Monetary Policy and Vlad the Impaler gave a Speech which actually made some political sense, making our local Politicians look like the hacks they are, it’s tempting to use my Sunday Brunch space once again to look at the Big Picture, but I also want to follow up on my first SNAP Card Gourmet episode and get rolling on the great experiment of eating on a SNAP Card budget.  So for a while here, the Sunday Brunch offering on the Diner will be all Food Related, and I’ll save ranting and analyzing the ongoing Geopolitical and Economic Clusterfuck for other dishes served up during the week.

Getting rolling on the SNAP Card Budget isn’t easy, particularly for the individual.  It’s a bit easier for a family, because you can buy more Bulk purchases, which drive down the cost quite a bit.

Eggs are an EZ example here.  If I buy eggs by the Dozen (about as much as I will usually eat of eggs in a week), around here they come in around $3/Dozen right now.  However, if I buy 5 Dozen, I get them for $2/Dozen, a HUGE 50% savings! The same is true for a 5lb bag of Potatoes vs a 20lb bag, etc. So you want to buy in bulk as much as possible, especially for Staples that have a long Shelf Life.

In order to get started on this as an Individual, my first week I am going to focus on buying Staples in medium bulk, which will insure I won’t go the least bit hungry the first couple of weeks, but it will be a mighty limited Diet overall, eating pretty close to the same damn things every day which gets very boring.  Boring is not the only problem though, you don’t want to eat the same stuff every day because to capture all the vitamins you need, variety is important.  However, for 2 weeks you can eat the same stuff over and over again and not die from Scurvy or some other vitamin deficiency. The important Criteria for Week 1-2 is to have plenty of food for the period, keep the price down below $25  to save for better foods and more variety, and begin some storage of longer lasting foods to improve variety as time goes by.

DAY 1: JP Morgan Chase just dropped $140 on my Newly Issued SNAP Card!  I recently lost my job as a NASA Engineer after they shut down our SETI program.  I have applied for a job with Richard Branson at Virgin Galactic to develop Space Tourism for the 1%, but haven’t heard anything yet on my Resume.  At least I can EAT this month though! Thank you Jamie Dimon!

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My Future Job with Virgin Galactic

Until Richard gets back to me, my Food Purchases for the next 2 weeks are…

5 Dozen Eggs- $10

5 lbs Alaska Potatoes- $6

2  Green Peppers- $2

2 lbs Onions- $2

4 Heads Garlic- $2

2 lbs Spaghetti- $4

2 lbs Rice- $3

1 pckg Breakfast Sausages (14)- $2.25

2 Jars Spaghetti Sauce: $2.50

1 pckg Hot Sausage: $6

1 lb Ground Beef $5

1 Container Italian breadcrumbs- $2

2 Pkgs Bear Creek Chili- $6

For the next 2 weeks, I will be eating 2 meals a day, a Breakfast with Eggs, Meat, Potatoes & Onions, and Dinner of Spaghetti with Meatballs and Sausage or Chili with Rice.  The only real variety will be in how I prepare the Breakfasts, it is going to be very boring 2 weeks of eating.  However, it is only costing me $52 out of a $70 Budget, and I should have plenty of Potatoes and Eggs left at least, and possibly other leftovers as well.  So $18 will be conserved in this initial period.

If hungry between the Breakfast and Dinner, I will simply eat a couple more eggs or some leftover Spaghetti.

So now, let’s have some COOKING FUN with this simple set of ingredients!  I’ll start with the eggs, since there are a lot of ways to prepare them and even if you don’t have a lot of variety here in ingredients, at least you can make things different from day to day with some different preparations.

 photo PICT0600_zpsed9e854f.jpgMy personal favorite for the Morning Breakfast is very traditional, 2 Eggs Over Easy, Breakfast Meat of some type and Hash Browns.  If you can’t get hold of breakfast sausage, you could always substitute Squirrel or Earthworms for Breakfast Meat of course. For the Hash Browns, you use leftover Baked or Boiled potatoes usually, but you can also just Nuke a Potato in the microwave and then throw it on the skillet with some onions, garlic and peppers. Usually to have some potatoes available for hash browns,  I let the potatoes and garlic slow cook for 3 hours along with a couple of soy sauce packages and a ketchup package all scarfed up for free and in the larder here.  I’m not using any of my preps I BOUGHT, but I will use freebies I have collected at the beginning to add some flavor to this stuff until I can afford some decent spices.

I like Over Easy because you can thicken up the Yolk to make it like a nice Sauce if you don’t break the yolk in the cooking, which of course is something of a challenge depending on your cooking utensils.  When I first started cooking Over Easy Eggs, I would drop both in the pan, cook over medium flame until the egg white firmed up, then split them with the spatula and flip each half individually.  Here is a demonstration of this basic method, which is very Low Class overall as cooking technique goes.  lol.

After a few months of making my own breakfasts though when I was a kid, I decided I should get COOL and flip both eggs in the pan without a Spatula like I saw the Pros doing on TV.  Needless to say, I messed up numerous times doing this, and even now it is still a bit of a challenge to catch the eggs just right so the yolks don’t break on you when you do it.  However, if you really want to impress your girlfriend with how good a cook you are, if you pull this off flawlessly its just about as good for getting laid as playing the Electric Guitar. LOL. Thank God I am Left Handed, because with my now Semi-Paralyzed Right Arm, I couldn’t flip an egg with that one to save my life, and impressing Babes with cooking technique is the least of my concerns these days. LOL.

Obviously, there are many other ways to prepare your eggs, scrambled, omelletes, soft or hard boiled etc, but right now I’m limited on both type and amount of ingredients inside the SNAP budget, so you can’t do too much here.  I’m looking forward to buying some Cheese, but I want to buy in bulk for this so I am saving up for it.  In next week’s episode, I will have some more interesting egg breakfast preparations than just Eggs Over EZ.

The two main Lunch/Dinner meals are equally simple and basic, though with the Spaghetti and Meatballs/Sausage there are a couple of tricks to extend out your limited meat supply.  I’m taking 2/3 of the 1 lb of ground beef to make Meatballs, and the other 1/3 I will brown with onions and garlic to go in the Chili.

To extend the number of Meatballs I can make from 2/3rds of a pound, I smush in 2 raw eggs and some seasoned breadcrumbs, about 1/2 a cup.  This also makes the meatballs more flavorful and they have a nicer texture.  The first order of bizness is to brown all the meat in a skillet, and then drain off and conserve the fat.  Here’s that proceedure:

After you have browned and drained the fat off the meat, set it aside and then saute up whatever veggies you have to put in to the Sauce and Chili.  Veggies up here are fairly pricey, although I often get them free from friends who do gardening.  However, since many SNAP card recipients don’t have access to fresh veggies friends grow, I am not going to use those in the accounting here and just stick to what I can afford on the SNAP card budget.

Once the meat and veggies have been initially prepared, all that is left to do is throw everything into the slow cooker and let simmer around 3-4 hours.  If you do have some spices in the larder, add your favorites here!  Oregano, or Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme!

Just one Word here…PLASTICS!

Once you have your Spaghetti Sauce and Chili cooked up, you transfer it to a container and drop it in the fridge.  Each day all you cook up the rest of the week is some Rice or Spaghetti, ladle out a helping into a small pot to heat it up and then pour it over the carbs.  Alternatively, you can cook all the spaghetti and rice at once also, and then make portions for each day in Microwaveable containers.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis gets us through Week 1 & 2, and there should be leftovers of some things at the end of the 2 weeks, we’ll see how much.  In Week 3, I’ll buy some more bulk goods and try to stay under $30.  With the $52 spent in weeks 1&2, that is total $82, leaving me around $58 to finish out the month with.  I should be able to put together some nicer meals in Week 4 with the savings.  What they might be depends very much on what I see On Sale in my visits to the Food Emporiums, so I can’t predict at this point.

https://s.yimg.com/ea/img/-/100127/homeless-family-400x300-15m069s.jpgOne final note as far as Doom is concerned.  Obviously, this paradigm assumes a kind of Bizness as Usual, with food available at markets and money that functions to buy it.  I am NOT here developing cuisine and recipes to live on if you cannot get hold of any food at all this way.  The objective here is to simply see how little you can spend each week on food in the BAU paradigm currently operating to help keep your overall expenses down.  it is also applicable only in 1st World countries, much of the stuff you might currently still buy simply is not available in 3rd World countries.

There are many other things you want to do to reduce total expenses also, such as moving into smaller living spaces, carpooling with friends and neighbors and limiting and consolidating trips you take that require Gasoline to accomplish.

Probably the most important way to reduce expenses is to get together with others and pool resources, such as moving in with friends or relatives, or creating buying cooperatives amongst people who live separately.

My current goal with this project is to see if I can reduce my total monthly expenses to what a Minimum Wage worker earns each month, around $1200, for a yearly income gross around $14,400.  Hopefully I can get under that so I can have Savings besides.  I will be including my monthly communications bill in this total, for my phone and internet connection, because really it is not possible to live in this economy without these things and have a semi-normal existence.  Without good communications connections, if you are a laid off IT worker for instance from NASA SETI, you can’t post your Resume on the net or have a cell phone for Richard Branson to call you at.  These are basics in the society we live in now, if you fall so far off the cliff you lose access to this, your downhill spin to homelessness will be very rapid.

As you can see from the Videos & Pics, my package of ground beef made 9 Meatballs, and I divided the sausages into 3 parts each, for a total of 15 sausage sections.  Total of 24 Meat servings, which I divided into 3 pieces each serving.  Each meal comes in around 1000 calories, and the breakfasts similarly at 1000 calories for 2000 calories/day.  Both meals are very filling, and more than I really need, so actually I end up with some leftovers.

http://www.lousfoods.com/wp-content/uploads/0076026300029_500X500.jpgThe other main Dinner meal for the 2 week initial period is very EZ, and is good for storage too, the Bear Creek Chili is dried food requiring no refrigeration.  I ended up just using one of the packages, so the other package will be used next week and reduce my expenses for week 3.  All you do to prepare this is add water to the mix and throw it in the slow cooker, brown the remaining ground beef in a skillet with onions and garlic and add that to the mixture with a can of tomato paste, then ladle it over rice to serve.  Hopefully you know how to make rice.  You boil it or steam it.  Duh.  Make as much as you need to fill out your calorie requirement for the day.

With my leftovers, all I am going to buy for next week is some stew meat $6, a large block of cheddar cheese $7 so I can make cheese omelletes, baked potatoes with cheese etc, butter $4 sour cream $2.50, flour $2.50 and cooking oil $2.  $24 total.  Together with the $52 from the first 2 weeks, that is $76, leaving me $64 to finish out the month.  I will make my first “gourmet” meal during this week, and buy more staples to fill out the larder and make more variety possible in month 2.

It is worthwhile to note this is much harder to get going for a single person than for 2 people living together.  You can get to more variety quicker with 2 people.  Also worth noting is that you can supplement a lot from Food Pantries if you qualify, but in the first month I am not considering that part of it.  Since I do not qualify for food pantry assistance in reality, I can’t get one of these boxes of food, but I know what goes in them since I volunteer at a Food Pantry.  So next month I will also buy what goes in a Pantry Box but not include what I spend on it in the food budget.

In SNAP Card Gourmet 003 next week, we will make a simple Stew and Cheese Omelettes, and maybe a Surprise Meal as well.  See you then!

RE

The SNAP Card Gourmet 001

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on October 31, 2014SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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A while back I wrote an article called The Starvin’ Diner Cookbook, which I intended on becoming a series with Recipes for meals you can cook up on the cheap, but it’s one of those ideas that got lost with all the rest of the stuff going on in Doom, along with all the other projects we are always undertaking on the Diner to get the message out about the Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Podcasts, Vidcasts, yadda yadda.  These days, just Blogging Text doesn’t reach enough people, because they simply do not READ.  You have to use the whole panoply of media to capture an audience.

However, I recently moved to New Digs, and took the opportunity last weekend to do some Home Cookin’, which I rarely do anymore since it is much easier to just buy prepared foods or microwaveables, and I’m not really on a SNAP Card budget, although I don’t usually spend too much more than the SNAP allotment each week on food anyhow.

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With some 47 Million People in the FSoA now living on a SNAP Card budget, developing good recipes with the current food available that you can access either low priced at Food Superstores or sometimes free at Food Pantries is very important.  So over the next few months, I will be keeping my Food Purchases under the typical SNAP Card allotment for the individual of around $140/mo, $35/wk or for simplicity sake here $5/day.  File this under the idea that even if you are currently flush, it’s a decent idea to learn how to live CHEAP BEFORE you actually are faced down with the challenge for real.  Not the $2/day many folks in the 3rd World live on, but the economy here is different and making it on $5/day in food is something of a challenge in the FSoA.

FoodDonationsIn order to be better connected to the people who actually are currently in this situation and to become more active Locally, I have begun Volunteering at one of the local Food Pantries that serve the folks around here who have already fallen off the Economic Cliff, people for whom Collapse is  not a “Someday it Might Come” thing anymore, Collapse is already here for them.  I hope over time to be able to develop connections between my friends who own Local Farms and who are Commercial Fishermen and the folks already off the cliff or soon to be in need of sustenance to develop a comprehensive food distribution system ready to drop in place when JIT shipping and the Dollar fail.  I am in a unique position to do this for many reasons, and it is probably the most “real” way I can be of service, beyond writing on the Internet.  While I still believe it is important to try and work on the Grand Scale of the Global Internet and Blog the Collapse, I also realize that most solutions will need to be local, so ya can’t just Blog on this stuff, you gotta do something in your neighborhood too.

I decided to change the name of the Series from “The Starvin’ Diner Cookbook” to “The SNAP Card Gourmet” for a few reasons.  One is to highlight how large a segment of the population is already in the situation of needing Food Security Assistance here in the FSoA.  The other reason is it is an Homage to my favorite TV Chef from my youth, Graham Kerr, The Galloping GourmetWAY better than Julia Child! 😀

If you watched about the first 2 minutes of this, you should be able to tell Graham generally did his Cooking Show 3 Sheets to the Wind, and often enough would consume an entire bottle of wine in recording the show.  LOL.  He had a ton of fun doing Galloping Gourmet, and it was hilarious because it was all impromptu.  I’ll be trying to do my Doomstead Diner Cooking Show in the same tradition. 🙂

I’m not going to try recording 20 minute shows yet, this biz will take some practice.  However, I will include a few clips along with the recipes and an accounting of the costs and cooking means, which I am going to adapt for Doom.

For this Week’s Episode, the two Dishes are Grilled Peppered Steak RE and Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs & Alaska Veggies RE.

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Now the first thing you are probably going to say is “RE!  There is NO WAY you could afford to make meals like this on $5/Day!  That Steak BY ITSELF cost $23!!!!”

http://www.scuffproductions.com/scuff/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/mban490l.jpgYou would be right also, if you tried to eat this stuff EVERY day, and if you consumed all of it in one day at a single sitting like the typical patron of an All You Can Eat Buffet like Golden Corral.  You also can’t buy such stuff the FIRST week you start eating on a SNAP Card budget, you have to work your way into it by eating cheaper than $5/day for a couple of weeks, then use the savings to start buying some Premium Foods to sprinkle into your diet later.  I’ll demonstrate how to do this in succeeding episodes of The SNAP Card Gourmet, here on the Doomstead Diner.

Let’s begin here with the Pepper encrusted USDA Prime Ribeye, which is a very typical BBQ preparation utilizing a Dry Rub, a little BBQ Sauce, a couple of days marinating and about 20 minutes on the Grill.

The reason the price comes in so high here for this piece of beef is that it is USDA Prime, which generally you only get in Fine Dining Restaurants that serve the 1%, or in Gourmet Markets serving the same crowd.  However, here on the Last Great Frontier, at 3 Bears Food Warehouse, they occasionally get USDA Prime in their huge meat section, and this one looked so perfectly marbled and the right thickness for a good grilling I just HAD to buy it in Celebration of my move to the new Digs, which I chronicled recently in The Great Moving Adventure I & II.

Here is what the Steak looked like after a couple of days of marinating, but before being seared on the portable propane fired BBQ.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOriginally I was going to go the full 9 yards with this and fire it up on a traditional Charcoal BBQ with a soaked Hickory Plank, but I got lazy and besides I have so many canisters of Propane in my preps I might as well use them.  Overall the improvement in flavor doing it this way is marginal, and it’s a pain in the ass so I just screwed in a canister and AWAY we go!

As you can see, this piece of beef is Picture Perfect with just the right amount of Fat Marbling, which is what gets it that USDA Prime designation.  If you scope out the Meat racks regularly though, you can often find USDA Choice cuts that are just about as nice, at about half the price of Prime.  I just about always buy Choice cuts for the BBQ, this was just a Special Celebration so I splurged on the Prime Beef.  NEVER buy Select Cuts for the BBQ, unless you really like chewing a lot.  Select is only good for the slow cooker.

Far as Spicing it up goes, here you do need to rely on Preps because some stuff like Peppercorns are going to be hard to come by when JIT fails, so you need a good supply of Spices laid in here.  Fortunately, Spices are one of those Preps that last a long time without Refrigeration, and as long as you Vaccuum seal them they will be good for years.  Salt will be good FOREVER.  Your main spices are Salt & Pepper of course, this I am good for 5 years at least.  Garlic after that is pretty easy to grow, and then many other spices like Rosemary, Thyme etc can be grown indoors hydroponically, so you can have a continuing source of those.

http://www.mccormick.com/-/media/McCormick/Categories/Products/GM_Bottles_289x194.ashxNo need for this right now though, I just used some of my copious prep supply of McCormick Old Monterrey Spice, one of my favorite meat spice mixtures.  Basted on a little hickory flavored BBQ sauce and let it sit a couple of days so the flavor penetrates into the meat and doesn’t just sit on the outside surface.

As you can see from the Cooked Picture above, the Ribeye is pretty well Blackened, so you might think it is burnt.  No, this is how I like BBQ meat, it’s called “Pittsburgh Rare“.  Black on the Outside, Still MOOING on the inside.  I came pretty close to perfect on it, just maybe 2-3 minutes longer than I should have had it on the grill to be perfect for me.  If you like a less black outside and pink inside, use a lower flame or move the grill surface higher off the flames.  Here’s the Taste Test of this BBQ:

In terms of Meals out of this Steak, I got 4 of them.  I can’t eat a Steak this size with all that FAT at one sitting anymore, I ate about 1/3rd of it right off the Grill and the rest went into Steak Sandwiches I had for lunch the rest of the week.  You can do all sorts of things to make them their own Gourmet meals, to one I added herb infused Brie I picked up on sale, to another I added some grilled onions and mushrooms, etc.  Still beyond the daily budget of $5, but not by too much, and within it if you buy a more economically priced Choice Cut.

OK, on to Dish #2, Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs & Alaska Veggies!

As you can see in the background of the Steak Taste Test Vid, there’s a bunch of Batteries, a Slow Cooker, rechargeable Diode Lights and a Power Inverter (converts 12V DC to 120 V AC).  This is my “Battery Corner” with stored Power for short 1-2 Day power outtages, generally coming from weather related phenomena these days, but in the future possibly coming fro Rationed Electricity and Rolling Blackouts.  The main battery storage here on the counter is a 12V Lawn Tractor Battery, and one of the Battery Packs from my EWz Electric Scooter, which runs on 36V but is actually 3 12V deep cycle batteries in series which can be separated to work with a 12V Inverter.  Not necessary for this experiment, the Lawn Tractor Battery was sufficient.  Besides these batteries, I also have a much larger Deep Cycle battery in the Bugout Machine and its starter battery, and of course the starter batteries that are in my 2 Carz, a 1983 Mazda MPV and a 2003 Ford Explorer, and the other 36 Volt battery pack that is aboard the EWz.  Altogether, without recharging this is enough electric juice for a couple of weeks well rationed easily.

Why was a small 12V Lawn Tractor Battery sufficient in this case?  Because Slow Cookers have a VERY low power draw overall, not much more than an incandescent Lightbulb.  You can’t run an 1100 Watt Microwave Oven off a small SLA battery like this, but it will do a Slow Cooker no problemo.

Slow cooking is great for numerous reasons besides the fact it is low power draw.  Overall it retains the Vitamin content of the food better than when you cook rapidly at high heat.  It also blends flavors better, plus the broth you end up with makes fabulous and very nourishing Soup as well.  Besides that, you are by no means limited to doing it off your stored battery power, you can quite easily do the same thing by digging a hole in the back yard, burning some charcoal or wood and heating some rocks, then cover with some dirt, drop the Crock in on top of that and cover up the whole thing with more dirt.  Dig it out after 5 or 6 hours, same result as using the electrics.

http://www.sunoven.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/G-cooking-rice-and-beans3.jpgYet another way to do the same thing is to drop the crock into a Solar Oven.  Even here in Alaska, for most of the year if you do this on a sunny day, if you drop your Crock in the Cooker in at 10AM, the food is ready by 4PM.

The only downside of Slow Cooking is that except for stews and such, it doesn’t present all that well, so in this case with the Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs, I threw them on the grill for a few minutes after the slow cook to caramalize the sauce and blacken the meat a bit.  This is tricky because the meat is pretty much falling off the bone at this point.  On the upside though, the veggies you cook along with the meat absorb all the flavors, and are as good or better than the meat itself!  They also really fill out the meal with both Calories and Vitamins.

Anyhow, without further ado and explanation here is the Taste Test on the Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs and Alaska Veggies RE dish:

For those of you wishing to try this dish on your own Doomstead, here’s the Ingredients:

1/2 Slab Baby Back Ribs

1/2 a Large White Onion

4-6 Large Cloves of Garlic

Enough Carrots and Potatoes to fill the rest of the Crock Pot (1.5-2 Quart size)

2 Soy Sauce Packets (I save these so I never buy Soy Sauce)

1/4 Cup Teriyaki Marinade (you can substitute other marinades, whatever you got on the shelf)

1/2 Can of BEER! 🙂 (drink the other half while loading the Crock)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions

Cut the slab up to size to fit the Crock.

Chop the onion into about 1/2″ size pieces

If the Potatoes are Large, cut to around 2″ cubes.  I use small potatoes though even though they are a little more pricey

Use Baby Carrots or cut the carrots into 2″ long sections

Throw in the whole cloves of Garlic or chop them up, your choice.

Throw everything into the Slow Cooker and go Surf the Net looking for Doom Storiez for 5-6 hours

Fish out everything with a Strainer Spoon, and take the Ribs over to the Grill for about 3 minutes on each side to caramalize.  Do it carefully or the ribs will fall apart and through the grill and you’ll lose some tasty meat.

Conserve the remaining Broth to make Onion Soup with Stale Bread and some Swiss or Gruyere Cheese.  Another meal there.

——————–

Now, as mentioned, you can’t start off on your SNAP Card Budget with these kind of meals, you have to get very BASIC at the beginning.  Your nourishment for the first couple of weeks on the SNAP Card Budget is going to be pretty dull if you don’t have at least a few spices and other basics in the cubbard when Da Goobermint courtesy of JP Morgan Chase issues you your first month’s SNAP Card.  Obviously I have a ton of stuff to perk up meals stored, but for the purposes of demonstration here I won’t use them as we begin this exercise.

Next Week here on the SNAP Card Gourmet, we’ll start with the basics, and work our way up the Culinary Ladder from there.  By the end of the month, I should have enough saved up for at least 2 meals worthy of a $100 Ticket at a 1% Restaurant.  Not sure what I will go for with this yet, first I gotta see what I can conserve and what ingredients I can find on sale over the course of the month.

In the mean time, eat well, enjoy the Plenty while you can.  This is bound to get more difficult as time goes by.

RE

SNAP to RIOT 3: Bring on the National Guard

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 19, 2014

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Coming Soon: An Interview with Dmitry Orlov on the Ukraine Conflict and Resource Depletion

SNAP to RIOT 2 in #ferguson             SNAP to RIOT IN #ferguson

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Filed Under: Ferguson, Food Stamps, Militarization, Missouri, National Guard, Nixon, Obama, Police State, Poverty, Race War, Riots, St. Louis, Unemployment, Welfare, Death Penalty, Cop Killers

National Guard troops arrive at a mall complex that serves as staging for the police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Protesters face off with police after tear gas was fired at crowds in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday night.

Not such a great holiday: President Barack Obama follows through on a swing while golfing on the island of Martha's Vineyard.

Snippet:

…I was intending on moving on tonight to more International Doom, but #ferguson is the Doom Gift that Keeps on Giving.

For the 3rd night in a row with no sign of slowing down, the looting and rioting continue. The livestreams and pics from tonight’s action look like a War Zone, gas and smoke bombs being fired all over the place, and numerous shots fired, though no reports yet of anyone getting hit.

The Obamanista still hasn’t made an appearance there, you would think after a solid week of this shit escalating it might be worthwhile to fly Air Force 1 into Lambert Field and make an appearance. Even George Bush eventually got the GPS coordinates for where Katrina hit and made it to NOLA.

Even as far as making some speeches are concerned, Potus Telepromptus has so far only been given complete pablum to read by his speechwriters, and Goobernator Jay Nixon hasn’t pitched out anything substantive either.

The Gestapo agent who pulled the trigger has disappeared, his house shuttered and dark. Perhaps he is being given a New Identity by the FBI Shooter Relocation Program. Obviously what the community there wants is to see this guy “brought to justice”, which for them would mean conviction for Murder in the 1st Degree followed by a trip to the High Voltage Recliner. Missouri is a state with the Death Penalty of course…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

SNAP to RIOT 2 in #ferguson

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 17, 2014

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Snippet:

…Looks like I spoke a little too soon about the Ferguson Riots calming down. Practically minutes after I published, Ferguson erupted AGAIN.

This time, instead of rolling out the tanks and rpg smoke bombs and tear gas, the Gestapo backed off and let the looters ransack at will.

Now, riots themselves are not amusing, but what is really amusing is reading the commentary on Libertarian type blogs like The Burning Platform.

When the first reports and pics came out with the Gestapo in full riot gear rolling into Ferguson in Tanks wearing enough Body Armour to stop a Depleted Uranium Full Metal Jacket Armor Piercing .50 Cal BMG slug, the commentariat (and bloggers of many stripes) all went ballistic themselves about our expanding Police State and Loss of Freedoms, Militarization of the Police, etc.

In round two of the Libertarian Kabuki Theater, as the Gestapo withdraws and lets the Looters Gone Wild show roll into high gear, the SAME folks are back out there asking “Where are the fucking Cops? Why don’t they get out there and start shooting these criminals?” LOL…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

Live Feed from Ferguson:

SNAP to RIOT IN #ferguson

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 16, 2014

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http://freedomoutpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/police-militarized1.jpg

Snippet:

…Today I am going to move away from the international geopolitical clusterfuck going on in Ukraine, MENA et al to return home to the FSoA, where the latest local Clusterfuck is ongoing in Ferguson, MO, which actually is part of the St Louis metro area. Ongoing as I write the script for this rant is some amount of undetermined rioting, but a very determined amount of large scale Gestapo crackdown.

The ostensible reason for the excitement there was the shooting of a young black male by a cop, for unknown reasons in any detail. This followed by numerous other young black males taking to the streets in protest, then taking the opportunity to do some Looting, again of how big a part of this looting is or was is open to conjecture.

All you need far as Newz Propaganda is concerned are one or two good shots of a black male exiting through the broken window with a Big Screen TV on his shoulder, and you get the immediate knee jerk reaction that the whole biz is about stealing merchandise, which happens of course but is hardly the underlying cause of the whole thing. It’s also not even clear how much of that really is going on, and frankly everybody knows the Newz Corps will pull out Stock Photos from some OTHER event in the past (Katrina for instance) with some unidentified Black Male running out of a store with a Big Screen TV. HTF do you know as reader of the story where and when a picture was taken? You don’t. You are just sold the spin with this about Looting being the big deal here, and it takes your eye off the ball of the underlying causes, and reactions by TPTB with their Proxy SWAT Team forces….

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!

The Snapback

Off the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  October 21, 2013

stocking-stuffed-with-money-588x352

Well, at least the poobahs cleared a path to the annual orgy of Christmas, which, along with the S & P 500, have become proxies for the American economy. Lately, the Christmas season starts directly after Halloween, so, the whole fourth quarter of the year becomes a circus of ceremonial distractions. In the background, though, the nation grinds toward anguish, measured in soiled Justin Bieber dolls deposited in the landfills.

     Historians who look back on these strange years of suspended consequence will marvel at how this empire of grift kept its wheels turning after its engine died. Being on the downhill slope is often enough to keep anything going. One might think the young people of this land would be seething at the eclipse of their futures, but it seems they have been successfully lobotomized with cell phones — when the endorphin hits lag between text messages, they can watch sitcoms, or porn.

    You can be sure there will be a snapback from all this drift and anomie, and when it comes, the snap will be savage. Like the US economy, the Republican Party is dead but hasn’t gotten the news. It killed itself just as the Whigs did in the years before the Civil War, by splitting up into factions — one faction of “know-nothings” preoccupied with scape-goats opposed to a faction of sclerotic parasitical fat-cats too timid and greedy to engage in the emergencies of the day.

     The Tea Party faction should change its name to the Cracker Party because it represents the interests of white southerners who are too dumb to know what these emergencies amount to. They are really more comfortable with the supernatural, hence their fondness for religions based on snake-handling, visitations of the dead, and motor sports. Personally, I believe they will eventually contrive to form their own break-away Cracker Republic and attempt to re-enact the Civil War. They will fail, and starve, and find themselves back in an even worse long-term depression than Dixieland experienced from 1860 to 1960, in a de-suburbanized wasteland of bare subsistence farming. Their highest art will be soup-making.

     The non-Tea Party Republicans will just shrivel and vanish out of sheer irrelevance. This leaves the Democrats to become the focus of intense ire as they attempt to ‘splain why the nation’s affairs went to shit on their watch. A lot of them will end up being executed and plundered by the new kid on the block, the Savior Party, led by some charismatic character willing to ignore procedural protocols to clear away the debris left by his-or-her predecessors. Alas, the juice will not be there to permit the Savior to really control a territory as large as the continental USA. By juice, I mean money and oil. Thus, the nation enters its new dark age.

    Who knows when that will get underway in earnest, though I think the folks who say 2014 are onto something. If you believe in cycles, which I tend to, then it rhymes nicely with 1814 and 1914, two watersheds when one epoch ended and another truly began. 2014 would logically be the year that China tells America to go piss up a rope. The message would be sent on the back of the envelope containing $2.7 trillion in official American debt paper. As Ole Blue Eyes used to say, this could be the start of something big.

      Sentient observers of the current scene are clearly frustrated by the remarkable homeostasis that seems to rule the scene, these horse-latitudes of history where the air is still and nothing moves and the mind is exhausted by watchful waiting. Things will get lively, soon enough, so enjoy the holiday quarter of the year which is so soon upon us. Gorge on candy corn. When you recover from that, roast a turkey. Then make a nice figgy pudding. Then pop some bubbly and salute your loved ones. Then gird your loins for the new age of consequence.

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

Defending against Coronavirus from the Inside Out

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  April 15, 2020

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Vitamin Rotisserie

Most of the focus in trying to protect yourself from Death by COVID-19 has been on the PPE you should be wearing when you have to go out and interact with other Homo Sap Meat Packages who might infect you.  At least equally important however are your Internal Protections, IOW your IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Here at the Doomstead Diner we focus on all FOOD topics related to Collapse, and NUTRITION is the most important aspect of maintaining and strengthening your ability to fight off and recover from dieseases.  Eating Healthy Foods and supplementing your diet with Vitamins are critical for every individual in this Battle of Homo Sap vs Microbe, and they are both something you have control over.  You don't need to wait for Da Goobermint to ride to the rescue on this, at least as long as you have a SNAP Card and follow the SNAP Card Gourmet here on the Doomstead Diner.

Coronavirus Sets the Sun on the British Empire

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  March 24, 2020

 

Audio Only

Available Streaming over the web or by mp3 Download on Diner Soundcloud

Discuss this Video & Article at the Medicine & Health Table inside the Diner

 

Today's installment of the CoroNewz Reports features more input from the Diner International  Correspondents, in this case Jason Heppenstall (Hepp) of 22 Billion Energy Slaves based in Cornwall, England & Monsta666, aonther Admin on the Diner based in London, England who also works in the Bankstering Industry.

Before I get into a synopsis of what we discussed in this chat, I want to adress a criticism I got inside the Diner on our Forum regarding the FOOD intros I do in all our Broadcasts now.  The critic was too "impatient" to watch the 7 minutes or so I spend going over the meal of the day, where it was grown or sourced, how it was prepared and how much it costs.  To me, these are among the most important questions we must deal with as we move inexorably into the next stage of Collapse.  The fact of the matter is despite the fact I often cook Premium Meals, I NEVER exceed the SNAP Card budget of ~$150/month for my food purchases.  In fact I generally only spend half of that.  I don't receive a SNAP Card although I DO qualify for one because I am at the Poverty Level.  I don't need it.  If more people knew how to Cook and shop for FOOD like I do, we could probably eliminate the SNAP Cards all together.  So I try in addition to reporting on the Collapse Calamity of the Day to teach people how to do this, in the first ~7 minutes of each broadcast.  I am a DOER, not just a Talker.  I Walk the Walk, I don't just Talk the Talk.  I follow the Principles I write about here on the Doomstead Diner; watch my Potlatch Parking Lot Videos where I give away free FOOD to the other Old Folks, Poor People and Cripples like me who live in my community.

Besides the importance of this information is the simple fact if it doesn't interest you, you can simply Fast Forward the Video through it using the Slider on your Utoob screen to get to the Discussion of the Day.  The whole criticism was completely invalid.

Now insofar as today's discussion goes, I got together with Hepp & Monsta to discuss how the Coronavirus Pandemic is playing out in Jolly Old England.  We discuss maany facets of the crisis as it is playing out over there, which is not dissimilar from how it is playingout here in the FSoA.  The Health issues, Economic issues and Political issues are all covered.

So, crack open a Corona Beer or mix a Bloody Mary or brew a cup of Java if you are a Tea-Totaller and get your Daily Dose of Doomstead Diner Collapse Analysis this morning. 🙂

Panic at the Costco


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on March 15, 2020

 “Who needs four horsemen when one will do just fine?”  ― Charlotte Hale, Westworld  

 


There are two schools of thought as to the consequences of the current coronavirus pandemic:

1) This is the BIG ONE.  The US is still in "no data, no problem" mode. Ten days behind Italy. Watch for a near-vertical spike when testing begins and denial ends.

2) This is NOT the BIG ONE. While the "infectabliity" factor oif the disease is ten times greater than the flu, its lethality is relatively low, aside from the elderly, the sicks, and the poors. Making the disease a gift to the capitalists by way of reducing overhead. "Buy the fucking dip, 'cuz nothing matters."

Most of us who frequents sites like Doomstead Diner would agree that whether you’ve been personally touched by coronavirus or not, one is well-advised to  be prepared with essentials to weather an interruption of several weeks in business-as-usual (BAU.) But many people do not, and have neither the interest nor means to prepare for much except tomorrow.. Homeland Security’s emergency and disaster prep site, ready.gov, suggests: “Store a two-week supply of water and food,”  Prepper types think in terms of months– two, six, 12 months. The site also advises checks of any prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply and a refill of nonprescription drugs, which is Prepping 101.

So with my son-in-law arriving and our household down to its last sixpack of TP, I decided to make a Costco run– one of the most desperate actions of my life. It was absolutely shithook berserkers. I had no idea I was about to take my life in my hands until an overweight woman on a motorized shopping cart decided that I was an unnecessary obstacle between her and the tinned chicken. I escaped with my skin intact, but a couple of old folks left in my wake may have be hurt.

I didn't look back.

When people fail to develop a plan about what they actually need in advance, a natural response is to snap up things they don’t need and will never use as a hedge against future uncertainty. So there is a great deal of unplanned panic buying.  Costco is crowded on weekends, and I had been there amidst crowds, but had never seen it as crowded as March 13. Many cleaning supplies were also completely plundered and not on offer. There is also sheer price gouging opportunism, as you'll see below.

Now I have a better idea why.

After six weeks of denial, dithering and deception, Fat Orange has found that you can't bully, intimidate or gull a novel coronavirus as easily as, say, a US Senator.

In the absence of clear leadership frorm an administration who views the pandemic as a distraction from its re-election marketing message, the states have taken the lead. We've decided to Cancel Everything. The effort is to limit exposures, meaning avoiding crowds and preventing the sort of spike in exposures and sicknesses that overwhelms hospitals and health care systems, as in Italy. "Social distancing" is the new watchword, and it overlays perfectly with my preferred lifestyle, which is heavy on "leave me the fuck alone."

Here's a reasonably complete list of Coronavirus closures: List of events, sports, and more canceled amid COVID-19 fears. Even NASCAR postponed a couple of events, which may sink in with the doorknob-lickers.

Covid-19 is everywhere. It will be everywhere it has not yet reached. As a "novel" virus, we have no built-in "herd immunity." And it will change our lives in ways we cannot predict.


How did it come to this?

The approach of the Trump regime to date has been, "no data, no problem." Trump's approach from jump has been to minimize the problem, mock the sufferers, game the numbers, and blame Obama. (If you'd like to check that assertion, someone already has: A Complete List of Trump’s Attempts to Play Down Coronavirus. You're welcome.) You are quite correct to note that any lead time the US may have had has been squandered in fecklessness. Countries from Singapore to South Korea are managing to test large portions of their populations, but in the US we've administered 11,000+ and turned away God knows how many more.


The other day, I heard the governor of Ohio say they probably had 100,000 active cases working in that state alone. Today, the Ohio Department of Health believes 100,000 Ohioans are carrying coronavirus, confirmeing that. In Virginia, within a week we've gone from two reported cases to 45 reported cases and one death.  There is even a case now in RE's Alaska, The Last Great Frontier.

For his part, Trump tells a nation terrified of coronavirus that none of this is his fault. At a news conference last week, Trump lied, insulted reporters, and explicitly refused to take responsibility for his own actions when directly asked.

.At one point, Trump was asked about the admission of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, that our lag in testing was “a failing.” And he was asked if he takes responsibility for this failure.

Trump’s response: “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

The president claimed that “we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules and regulations and specifications from a different time,” and this existing legal infrastructure “wasn’t meant for this kind of event with the kind of numbers that we’re talking about.”

It’s an astonishing claim, and it’s astonishing because Trump has spent the better part of his term dismantling the federal government’s pandemic fighting infrastructure.


And why can't you find your bleach, wipes, and cleaning supplies? The Hand Sanitizer You Can't Find Is In This Putz's Garage. Because someone decided to make a market out of your misery.  "Retail arbitrage" has created individuals who have found in this global panic a route to becoming real jerks, inspired by news of the potential for over 1 million American deaths to turn a handsome profit.

The current pandemic isn’t one specific person’s fault, but there are individuals who have found in this global panic a route to becoming a real jerk.

Chief among them is Tennessee’s Matt Colvin who, with the aid of his brother Noah, was inspired by news of the potential for over 1 million American deaths to turn a handsome profit.

The retired Air Force technical sergeant is the new face of price gouging, thanks to a profile in Saturday’s New York Times. Beginning March 1st, Colvin, whose primary income is reselling collected goods on sites like Amazon, hit the road and bought as much hand sanitizer as he could find. For a while, the money was rolling in. But when his prices soared, Amazon, eBay and other marketplaces rightly shut him and his fellow panic profiteers down. He estimates he now has 17,700 bottles of the virus-killing ooze, as well as hand wipes and all the other highly sought after materials you can’t find in a store right now. The cleaning products are collecting dust.

This is the kind of behavior you get when so-called "conventional morality" is replaced by worship of the free market. "Retail arbitrage" sounds so much classier than "rapacious price gouging" and "disaster capitalism."

Karma, your table is ready. 


#StayTheFuckHome
A Movement to Stop the COVID-19 Pandemic

The absence of Federal leadership and the resultant blamestorming has failed us in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Slow reactions, public appeasement policies, and an urge to stabilize the economy to preserve re-election prospects (to say nothing of the need to impose "message discipline" via Mike Pence on the experts) are keeping them from taking the measures it takes to protect millions from this disease. It is time for us, and up to us, as citizens to take action now and do our part to "flatten the curve" and fight COVID-19.

Putting it bluntly: #Stay The Fuck Home! Wash your hands frequently! And stay away from Costco.

Stay safe.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

The Year in Doom 2019


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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on December 29, 2019

"Violence is as American as cherry pie."  –H. Rap Brown​  


2019 has been a year of notable accomplishments and disasters: China became the first country to gain access to the far side of the moon, thus announcing itself in the space race, the Ebola epidemic continued in the Congo, birds and insects continue to die at alarming rates, upsetting natural ecosystems everywhere, drought continued in southern Africa and, more recently, Australia, in combination with ruinous bush fires. California continue to burn during the autumn months.

War continued in Yemen, with millions on the brink of famine and starvation. Protests swept the world, from Haiti to Hong Kong, also making appearances in Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia. (It seems some folks don’t like neocolonialism as much as the west does.) Migrants continue to flee from the Middle East and Africa, and Central America, to places with more hospitable climate and arable soil; Nationalists shrieked in horror, rushed to build walls and whip up furor against potential newcomers. Brazil’s Boisonaro continued to burn the Amazon rainforest; people around the world wringing their hands. United States declared a trade war with China, beginning with the US charging Huawei with fraud. Suicide attacks sparked Indian conflict with Pakistan, which seems like a headline which could be reported every year. India made bold to enact new nationality laws which would exclude Muslims. Terror attacks continued, As a white nationalist killed 50 in New Zealand in March. The first image of a black hole was created. California had earthquakes. Trump shut the government down in January and reopened it several weeks later.

A man killed 22 people In a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. Enthusiast planned a “raid“ on area 51, which started as a joke but later went viral. It fizzled. Julian Assange was arrested in the UK and held for extradition. Fire broke out at Notre Dame cathedral, A comedian was elected president of Ukraine, and would find that his dealings with United States were anything but funny, and Trump met with Kim Jong-Un after they “fell in love.“ Kim Jong-Un later met with Vladimir Putin, sending a message that he was not prepared to go steady. The US attempted to foment a coup in Venezuela against President Nicolas Maduro, but failed, but managed to foment one in Bolivia to oust Evo Morales, and succeeded. Narendra Modi won a landslide victory in the Indian general election. Theresa May resigned, unable to wrangle Brexit, but Boris Johnson succeeded her, and won an election with enough of a mandate to put Brexit on a path to becoming reality.

Robert Mueller testified, and was a snooze, but Fiona Hill testified and was riveting.  Millions thought Mueller was going to emerge from his prosecutor's office and slap a pair of cuffs on Trump, but forgot that he reports to Bill Barr, Trumps Roy Cohn, and the most corrupt Attorney General of a lifetime, and this includes John Mitchell. Perhaps the biggest political news was a shifting power dynamic in Washington DC, as the consequences of the 2018 elections came to bear in the house brought articles of impeachment against Fat Orange, and at years end they sat on the edge of Nancy Pelosi‘s desk, awaiting Mitch McConnell‘s next move. Trump‘s approval fell to 39% during January‘s partial government shut down, and support for impeachment and removal rose to 55% at years end.

Just to review the bidding, ​One person compiled a list of 100 impeachable offenses by Trump. Here are the top 50.

The ordeal of Trump and his impeachment has been dealt with to death by other sailors with better maps. So this Year end review will not deal in depth with the many depravities of the Trump Crime Family, or with the cottage industry of racists, opportunists buffoons, failkids and grifters who have seen their profiles undeservedly elevated as a result of the Trump presidency: pardoned war criminal Edward Gallagher, Ben Shapiro, Matt Gaetz, Tucker Carlson, Charlie Kirk, Milo, Candace Owens, Stephanie Grisham, Jordan Peterson, Diamond and Silk,  Joseph-Goebbels-cosplayer Stephen Miller, Jim Jordan, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that chattering set of dentures Rudy Colludy, Meghan McCain, Scott Baio, and the entire extended Trump family.

There is plenty to consider apart from our politics as we lift our gaze from our black mirrors, blinded by normalcy bias and unable to imagine changing any of our carefully-calibrated plans to consider harbingers of doom and collapse. I have reviewed a year's worth of postings within the Doomstead Diner Forum and the Doomstead Diner Daily to compile the stories that marked our slow and steady descent. One thing is certain: no one will be able to say "they didn't know" as we spin down from a high-energy  post capitalist civilization to an uncertain, uncharted future where there will be less of everything for everyone.

William Kunstler, in a break from his usual obsequious Trumpsucking, paints the picture as well as anyone in, "There Is No Normal."

We landed in the New World five hundred years ago. It was full of good things that human beings had barely begun to exploit, laid out like a banquet. There was plenty of good virgin soil for growing food, the best timber in the world, clean rivers and great lakes, ores full of iron, gold, and silver, and down deep a bonanza of coal and oil to drive the wheel through very flush times. The past century was particularly supercharged, the oil years.

Imagine living through the very start of all that, the blinding, fantastic newness of modernity…An emergent cavalcade of wonders: electricity, telephones, railroads, subways, skyscrapers! And in a few more years movies, cars, airplanes, radio. Even the backstage wonders of the day were astonishments: household plumbing for all, running hot water, municipal water and sewer systems, refrigeration, tractors! It’s hard to conceive how much these developments changed the human experience of daily life.

Even the traumas of the 20th century’s world wars did not crush that sense of amazing progress, at least not in North America, spared the wars’ mighty wreckage. The post-war confidence of American society achieved a level of in-your-face laughable hubris — see the USA in your Chevrolet! — until John Kennedy was shot down, and after that the delirious moonshot euphoria steadily gave way to corrosive skepticism, anxiety, acrimony, and enmity. My generation, booming into adulthood, naively thought they could fix all that with Earth Day, tofu, and computers, and keep the great wheel rolling down into an even more glorious cybernetic nirvana.

Fakeout. That’s not where the wheel is going. We borrowed all we possibly could from the future to pretend that the system was still working, and now the future is at the door like a re-po man come to take away both the car and the house. The financial scene is an excellent analog to our collective psychology. Its workings depend on the simple faith that its workings work. So, it is easy to imagine what happens when that faith wavers.

We’re on the verge of a lot of things coming apart: supply lines, revenue streams, international agreements, political assumptions, promises to do this and that. We have no idea how to keep it together on the downside. We don’t even want to think about it. The best we can do for the moment is pretend that the downside doesn’t exist.

This is where we are. If you are reading this, you know it. The following sections and articles document what's happening to us. Some of the stories have some exposition. Others do not. Follow the link if the headline interests you.


Breaking Apart

Some years ago a Russian, former KGB operative Igor Panarin, predicted that the US would break up into separate countries.  Panarin is a Russian professor and political scientist best known for predicting that the United States would disintegrate within the next few years.

The Wall Street Journal reports: "Panarin is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations."

Lately other writers are expanding on this concept of Balkanization of the US. According to author Colin Woodard, the United States can be divided into 11 distinct sub-nations (see the above map). Woodard takes Panarin's idea to another level, and is far more granular. Panarin posited that parts of the balkanized former US would affiliate with other countries; Woodard does not. 

Woodard defined and illustrated the regions in his 2012 book "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America." Some regions sound familiar, like the "Deep South"; others might surprise, such as the "Midlands" region that stretches from New Jersey to northeastern New Mexico. 

"The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately, including state roles and individual liberty," Woodard, a Maine native, told Business Insider… In order to have any productive conversation on these issues, you need to know where you come from. Once you know where you are coming from, it will help move the conversation forward."

Whether fact or metaphor, the image of a country coming apart is useful in order to understand what follows.

Demography is Destiny

In an Atlantic article, How America Ends- A tectonic demographic shift is under way. Can the country hold together? Yoni Applebaum writes,

As partisans have drifted apart geographically and ideologically, they’ve become more hostile toward each other. In 1960, less than 5 percent of Democrats and Republicans said they’d be unhappy if their children married someone from the other party; today, 35 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Democrats would be, according to a recent Public Religion Research Institute/Atlantic poll—far higher than the percentages that object to marriages crossing the boundaries of race and religion. As hostility rises, Americans’ trust in political institutions, and in one another, is declining. A study released by the Pew Research Center in July found that only about half of respondents believed their fellow citizens would accept election results no matter who won. At the fringes, distrust has become centrifugal: Right-wing activists in Texas and left-wing activists in California have revived talk of secession.

Secession notwithstanding, demographic shifts seem to fueling the white rage and nationalism that ignites the pyre of our current politics. ("You…will NOT replace us!") The theme of her article is that moderate Republicans can "save America." The fatal flaw in this argument is that there are no longer any "moderate Republicans," and that the Republican party is the party of Trump, meaning the party of Atwater, Rove, and ascendant white nationalism, who having tasted power are loath to give it up. The Rs have the power to nominate and approve unqualified right wing ideologies to pollute the federal bench for generations, and if they have to resort to right wing paramilitaries to keep it that way, so be it. Stories that moved this year that illustrate this:


The US white majority will soon disappear forever

The relentless factories of hatred, fear and lies: on the ultraconservative and reactionary waves

Yes, America is divided. The real story is how, why, and who benefits

Will America’s billionaires start a second Civil War to protect their wealth and power?

Trump Voters Driven by Fear of Losing Status, Not Economic Anxiety, Study Finds

The ‘Russia Hoax’ Is a Hoax

Donald Trump Is the Mad-King President Our Founders Feared Most

“We’re Americans, And We’re Fascists”: Inside Patriot Front

Top Military Officers Unload on Trump

The commander in chief is impulsive, disdains expertise, and gets his intelligence briefings from Fox News. What does this mean for those on the front lines?

This article was timely given Trump's announcement regarding removing American troops from Syria. Since they should not have been there in the first place, this seems a good thing. Except that we left the Kurds (who have fought wars for the Empire in pursuit of their own autonomy and based on American promises) in the lurch and to the tender mercies of Erdogan. I am old enough to remember how the Americans recruited the Hmong in Vietnam and Laos, then abandoned them after their utility in the US's "secret" wars was spent. 

As we speculate on next steps for what the military will do when Trump refuses to leave, I found this article instructive. On the other hand, I wish Mad Dog Mattis were still part of Pud's cabinet, as I deemed him most likely offer him the vigorous backhand of common sense.

If Trump Rage Brings ‘Civil War,’ Where Will Soldiers Stand?

The moment may come when soldiers have to choose between the Constitution and Donald Trump. No doubt most will embrace the Constitution. But some will see that as a tough call.

Trump Is ‘Last Hope for White People,’ Said Police Chief on Trial

Russian Secret Weapon Against U.S. 2020 Election Revealed In New Cyberwarfare Report

You Can Smell the Fear

8chan Is a Normal Part of Mass Shootings Now

Three white-nationalist shooters appear to have posted manifestos on the same troll forum. Here’s how 8chan became a meme-filled refuge for hate.

This Billboard Is a Sign of the Wild and Dangerous Forces Surging Through the Country

Forces that Donald Trump, American president, is actively stoking. Welcome the harvest sown in the wake the USA PATRIOT Act and follow-on legislation, by those who want to offer aid and succor to white supremacists while criminalizing opposition to them. The families of Eric Garner, tamer rice, Sandra Bland, et al were not asked for comment.

Two senators want antifa activists to be labeled ‘domestic terrorists.’ Here’s what that means.

The lack of a central governing system for antifa creates the risk of wrongly applying the label to all counterprotesters of white supremacists, according to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that opposes anti-Semitism. This kind of mislabeling, the ADL said, could cause police to violate the civil rights of peaceful activists.

The ADL said antifa activists’ violent tactics are wrong, but that antifa and white supremacists are not equivalent. Far-right extremists have killed hundreds of people in the past decade, the ADL said, while there have been no known antifa-related killings.

Fascist Activists Have Spent The Last Year Trying to Win Over Police

Trump-Drunk Republicans Are Choosing Russia Over the Constitution

If the Republiconfederates thought about it, they would be attempting to insure that this was a nation of laws rather than men so that their descendants would be treated equitably. But no one in this country engages in thinking about anything except making the quarter, so it is probably unfair to single outright wingers for being guilty of short-term thinking. Instead, they line up in unthinking support of El Jefe, because they are terrified of opposing him, and getting primaried from the right. 

The Day People Disappeared and a New Strategy for Stealing Votes

Broken white men and the racist media that fuels their terrorism

America's Cult of Ignorance

More people are better educated than ever before, and knowledge is easier to come by. So why do we so often scorn those who plainly know more than we do? File under, "The Death of Expertise."


Unrest Everywhere

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

W.B Yeats

This oft-quoted poem is a relevant today as it was when written 100 years ago. Protests raging on the streets of cities around the world in the past months have  triggers that vary with the locale. But what fuels them are common themes: stagnating middle classes, stifled democracy, economic inequality and the bone-deep conviction that things can be different – even if the way forward is uncertain.

More than 500,000 people rallied in Barcelona …amid a general strike after Spain sentenced Catalonia’s former separatist leaders to prison.

In Hong Kong, the police fired tear gas and anti-government protesters lit fires as tens of thousands of people marched today despite an official ban and attacks on the march promoters.

Chile declared a state of emergency after a transportation fare increase set off violence and looting. Subway stations, banks, buses and the headquarters of the country’s largest electricity provider were burned. Lebanese protesters enraged by corruption and dysfunction marched in Beirut and other cities, calling for the government’s overthrow.

Knowing about what happened to Allende was one of the ends of my innocence, and one of my way-stations on the road to collapse. Learning this story drove home what US foreign policy REALLY meant to a 23 year old with shit for brains, as well as the important lesson that Henry Kissinger was the spawn of Satan. The US was not going to tolerate a Marxist in Chile; but a fascist was just fine. Pinochet was Nixon's man. So they sponsored a coup.

Pinochet's Chile featured crimes against humanity, persecution of opponents, political repression, and state terrorism for openers. From Wikipedia:

The most prevalent forms of state-sponsored torture that Chilean prisoners endured were electric shocks, waterboarding, beatings, and sexual abuse. Another common mechanism of torture employed was "disappearing" those who were deemed to be potentially subversive because they adhered to leftist political doctrines. The tactic of "disappearing" the enemies of the Pinochet regime was systematically carried out during the first four years of military rule. The "disappeared" were held in secret, subjected to torture and were often never seen again.

We'd later learn that coup plotting, torture and wet work were the curriculum at the School of the Americas (now rebranded a la Blackwater, "The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation." Your tax dollars at work.

And an added bonus, Chile got the classical unrestrained “free market” policies of Milton Friedman, enforced by the military junta, which yielded a bumper crop of  human rights violations, institutionalized brutality, and drastic control and suppression of every form of meaningful dissent. The fact is, the truth of what happened in Chile was not that hard to find inside the US. Another fact is that no one cared.

And Haiti is on the brink of collapse because of a power struggle between its president and a surging opposition movement that has led to weeks of violent demonstrations and left streets across the country barricaded. Related stories from 2019:

Human Rights Watch supports US-backed far-right coup in Bolivia, whitewashes massacre of indigenous protesters

Media Silent as Bolivia's Coup Gov't Massacres Indigenous Protesters

Suppressing Dissent Guarantees Disorder and Collapse

The FBI’s Long History of Treating Political Dissent as Terrorism

Civil Unrest Is The New Normal Out There

A world on fire: Here are all the major protests happening around the globe right now

Tensions High as Far-Right Rally Tied To Threats Hits Portland

FBI Received Reports That Border Militia Was Training to Assassinate Prominent Democrats

Larry Hopkins, the leader of an extremist militia group known as the United Constitutional Patriots was arrested by the FBI in April after videos emerged of the group rounding up and detaining migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico. According to the New York Times, the FBI first became aware of Hopkins activities in 2017, when they received reports that his group was “training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama because of these individuals’ support of Antifa,” according to newly unsealed court documents.

49 killed in terrorist attack at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand suspect inspired by French writer who fears ‘replacement’ by immigrants

Ocasio-Cortez hits NRA after New Zealand shooting: 'What good are your thoughts and prayers?'

As QAnon Goes Mainstream, Trump’s Rallies Are Turning Darker

Under Trump, conspiracy theories and an all out assault on the truth have created a strange new reality.

‘I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth’ 

A self-proclaimed white nationalist planned a mass terrorist attack, the government says

Imagine what we have to look forward to in an election year.


Environmental Collapse

“A society’s fate lies in its own hands and depends substantially on its own choices.” 
― Jared Diamond

Few know what COP25 stands for (COP means Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.) The 25 stands for the 25th year that such an annual conferences has taken place, each year in different country, a tourist bonanza for the thousands travel but light on results and bereft of action steps.The COP 25 Failure in Madrid this fall encapsulates the impotence of governments around the world to acknowledge there is a problem with climate change, much less summon the will to do anything about it.

It is an illusion to believe that Big Business, Big Industry, Big Finance – and Big Growth-driven Profit – will yield to environmental or climate concerns. In spite of attracting 27,000 attendees, including Time Magazine's Person of the Year Greta Thunberg, the conference achieved alomst nothing.

Ultimately, however, the talks were unable to reach consensus in many areas, pushing decisions into next year under “Rule 16” of the UN climate process. Matters including Article 6, reporting requirements for transparency and “common timeframes” for climate pledges were all punted into 2020, when countries are also due to raise the ambition of their efforts.

UN secretary general António Guterres said he was “disappointed” with the results of COP25 and that “the international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis.”

This section has many links. The headlines tell a story of their own, with news that is almost unremittingly bad.

Sea Level Rise

The Arctic Is Undergoing Changes Scientists 'Never Expected Would Happen This Soon'

With Sea Level Rise, We've Already Hurtled Past a Point of No Return

Global Warming Will Drown Bangkok, Shanghai, Mumbai

150 million people are currently living in places that will be below high-tide in 30 years, according to new research

Nine climate tipping points now 'active,' warn scientists

IPCC report: Sea levels could be a metre higher by 2100

Sea Level Rise Maps

Speculative maps showing the changes to our world from an 80m sea level rise. Effectively all ice on earth having melted. Created with a variety of climate science reference, digital elevation models, and Photoshop.

Alaska’s Sea Ice Completely Melted for First Time in Recorded History

Big Heat

The hellish future of Las Vegas in the climate crisis: 'a place where we never go outside'

‘Bleak’ U.N. Climate Study: World on Track for Up to 3.9 Degrees Warming by 2100

In Greenland’s Melting Ice, A Warning on Hard Climate Choices

Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape

A Weather Station Above the Arctic Circle Hit 94.6 Degrees Fahrenheit

Over the past year, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg gained increased global attention for her work. From speaking in front of the United Nations to creating Fridays for Future,

Greta Thunberg Speaks the Horrific Truth of Humanity’s Fate

Xraymike returns to the keyboard with another lighthearted frolic.

We'd Better Retreat from the Coasts While We Still Can, Scientists Urge Amid Climate Crisis

Do it now or do it later, with much, much worse outcomes.

Degradation

Soil in the Arctic Is Now Releasing More Carbon Dioxide Than 189 Countries

Oceans losing oxygen at unprecedented rate, experts warn

Following a Familiar Script, U.S. Withdraws From Paris Climate Pact

Experts declare climate emergency and warn of 'untold human suffering'

EPA to Weaken Public Protections Against Toxic Coal Ash in Water

Insects are going extinct in DROVES, finds new study

Dark money is pouring in to protect the "worst energy policy in the country"

Report Shows 'Stunning and Dramatic' Scenes of Thawing Permafrost in Siberia That 'Leaves Millions on Unstable Ground'

There used to be 4 billion American chestnut trees, but they all disappeared


Goldman Sachs released a 34-page analysis of the impact of climate change. And the results are terrifying.

When the Vampire Squid says it's bad, perhaps even the elites will listen. They won't listen to Greta, but when the Squid speaks…

 

Global Burning

Welcome To The Third World, Part 30: California Burning In The Dark 

We’re About to Become People Fighting Desperately Fighting For Survival on a Dying Planet, and It’s Not Going to Be Pretty

Or, When Self-Preservation Takes Over, It Usually Takes Civilization, Democracy, Decency, and Sanity With It

Experts Brace For An Apocalyptic Future As Earth’s Forests Burn To The Ground

Amazon fires could accelerate global warming and cause lasting harm to a cradle of biodiversity

Amazon on fire: 'The earth isn’t dying. It’s being killed.'

Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted

(How) Climate Change is a Hangover of Colonialism, Exploitation, and Slavery

(Why) Climate Change Isn’t About Your Burger — It’s About (Centuries of) 10% of the World Growing Rich by Leaving 90% of the World Poor

Europe is burning just as new research offers a chilling truth about the volatility of climate change

Cooler years mask the underlying behaviour of the system. As natural variations move in the other direction, they can unleash a period of supercharged heating

Satellite Images Show Vast Swaths of the Arctic On Fire

Vast stretches of Earth’s northern latitudes are on fire right now. Hot weather has engulfed a huge portion of the Arctic, from Alaska to Greenland to Siberia. That’s helped create conditions ripe for wildfires, including some truly massive ones burning in remote parts of the region that are being seen by satellites.

The New Trail of Tears: How climate change is forcing the relocation of species, including our own

Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change

The North Atlantic ocean current, which warms northern Europe, may be slowing

'We are 50 to 100 years ahead of schedule with the slowdown of this ocean circulation pattern,' says climate scientist Michael Mann.

Heatwave: Think It’s Hot in Europe? The Human Body Is Already Close to Thermal Limits Elsewhere

Earth's Ancient Life Forms Are Awakening After 40,000 Years in Permafrost

By 2050, many world cities will have weather like they’ve never seen, new study says

Humans destroyed 10% of wilderness in just 25 years

The poisons released by melting Arctic ice

This remarkable Greenland photo highlights extreme Arctic melting

Report: Prepare for the Climatic Collapse of Civilization

The end of the Arctic as we know it

Arctic Is Thawing So Fast Scientists Are Losing Their Measuring Tools

Previously thought stable permafrost terrain high in Arctic is melting due to increased summer temperatures

Start planning for catastrophes, new EPA document says

Release of a government report means that even the last to know, know. regardless of their public posturing. Research details how human-caused climate change is contributing to record heat, more-intense storms, more-severe flooding and other events.

 

Biodiversity

'What Could Be More Important?': World Leaders, Media Ignore Biodiversity Report Detailing Mass Extinction Event Now Underway

California's monarch butterfly population drops 86% in single year

'Almost certain extinction': 1,200 species under severe threat across world

Climate of North American cities will shift hundreds of miles in one generation

Science, Sensationalism, and the Lessons of 'Insectageddon'

Humans Are Wiping Out Species So Fast That Evolution Can't Keep Up

Arctic sea ice loaded with microplastics

Plants are going extinct up to 350 times faster than the historical norm

 

Food and water

Water is a growing source of global conflict. Here’s what we need to do

Climate crisis reducing land’s ability to sustain humanity, says IPCC

Why does Stamford company director say: "We are going to starve to death?"

'Biggest Crisis No One Is Talking About': Quarter of Humanity Faces 'Extremely High Water Stress' Intensified by Climate Emergency

The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it's rapidly disappearing

Ruined crops, salty soil: How rising seas are poisoning North Carolina’s farmland

Climate Change Is Here—and It Looks Like Starvation

Over One-Tenth of Global Population Could Lack Drinking Water by 2030

First global look finds most rivers awash with antibiotics

Almost two-thirds of the rivers studied contained enough antibiotics to contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Victoria Falls dries to a trickle after worst drought in a century

Himalayan glaciers that supply water to a billion people are melting fast

Expert Says Indians Will Soon Become Water Refugees Heading for Water-Rich Europe

Rajendra Singh, also known as the “Waterman of India”, says over 70 percent of the country has dried up, and this may lead to climatic migration to other countries.


The Great Culling: They Don't Give a Flying Fuck About You

“If people feel lost and alone and helpless and broken and hopeless today, what will it be like if the world really begins to come apart at the hinges?” 
― Brandon Andress​

If you’ve made it this far, you had an opportunity to contemplate the many vectors of environmental ruin headed our way, at a time when collectively we are at one another’s throats with an enthusiasm and sense of purpose rarely seen since the last Civil War.

The current world population is estimated to have reached 7.7 billion people as of April 2019. It took over 200,000 years of human history for the world's population to reach 1 billion; and only 200 years more to reach 7 billion. We are now faced with automation and AI, at a time of profound income (and thus power) inequality. connect the dots to see that robots and algorithms can replace a lot of labor, which is occurring as we speak. And what happens when any private industry takes over a public one? They slash payroll, loot pensions, and rid themselves of "useless eaters," and redistribute the savings to "investors." Wash, rinse, repeat.  Thus, whether by design or default, the Great Culling is Coming To a Theater Near You. "The Great Culling" is not about putting fluoride in your drinking water so much as a plan to reduce earth's population over generations.

RationalWiki calls this a conspiracy theory. And you won't easily find much credibly written on the subject. Yet it is difficult to consider the toxic hellbroth of the rise of ethno-nationalism, climate emergency, the increasingly oppressive tone and tenor of life under increasingly straightened circumstances, the ethics of investment banks and the logic of the spreadsheet, and conclude that such a plan is not in effect as a practical matter. If this hurts, you can always get some Oxycontin from kids at your local middle school. Here are stories that moved in 20019 that illustrate the point.

Sackler Embraced Plan to Conceal OxyContin’s Strength From Doctors, Sealed Testimony Shows — ProPublica

Opioid epidemic may have cost states at least $130 billion in treatment and related expenses – and that's just the tip of the iceberg

The blood of poor Americans is now a leading export, bigger than corn or soy

Good to know the FSoA can still make something that other people in the world want to buy. Besides arms, that is.

Harvesting the Blood of America's Poor: The Latest Stage of Capitalism

When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested

Welcome to Coffeyville, Kansas, where the judge has no law degree, debt collectors get a cut of the bail, and Americans are watching their lives — and liberty — disappear in the pursuit of medical debt collection.

Just 100 Companies Will Sign Humanity’s Death Warrant

Digital dystopia: how algorithms punish the poor

Turkish Scientist Sentenced to Prison for Publishing Paper Linking Pollution to Cancer

The Secretary of Agriculture Just Came Out and Said America Is for Big Business

Interesting tack at a meeting of small farmers who are already in trouble.

How Capitalism Torched the Planet by Imploding Into Fascism

Why Catastrophic Climate Change Is Not A Problem For Fascists — It Is A Solution

Martial law masquerading as law and order: The police state’s language of force

The gloves are off: 'predatory' climate deniers are a threat to our children

"The Public Is Now Aware That the Elites Are Taking Them To Their Death!" Roger Hallam, Extinction Rebellion

NASA Study Concludes When Civilization Will End, And It's Not Looking Good for Us

Pentagon Wants 16-Year-Old Kids To Fight The Empire's Wars

I am among those who think that launching a gratuitous, meat-grinder war in spring of 2020 to self-anoint as a "wartime president™" is completely within Fat Orange's capability. It may already be part of his campaign plan, given the sheer evil of his administration.

For me here is the money shot:

If The Donald gets us into a big shooting war over in the Middle East or in the South China Sea, the mandatory servitude of conscription will be required. It won’t be a turkey shoot like Iraq or Libya. It will be an existential threat, so all males —criminally inclined or not — between 16 and 45 will be inducted, same as they were after FDR tricked the Japanese into invading Pearl Harbor, or Johnson said the North Vietnamese attacked our warships in the Gulf of Tonkin. 

Anyone who thinks that Iran is going to do an "el foldo" like Saddam Hussein did in Iraq is sadly mistaken. Unlike Iraq, which was cobbled together via the Balfour declaration and held together by Saddam's brutality, Iran has a long, continuous history as a people and are not going to be exterminated quietly. Since Iran is surrounded by American bases, the outcome will never be much in doubt, but the costs will be extreme and the fighting scorched earth. Victory will be had, at the cost of your last grandson or granddaughter, so there is little doubt that Uncle Cracker will be looking for fresh meat.

Savage tick-clone armies are sucking cows to death; experts fear for humans. 

Everyone’s Got a “Surveillance Score” and It Can Cost You BIG Money

Congress Targets Middle-Class Retirement Savings

A Stealth Levy on IRAs and 401K Plans to Pay for Corporate and 1% Tax Cuts. Because the Waltons Just Don't Have Enough.

Humans consume the equivalent of a credit card worth of plastic every week

Mitch McConnell is Making the 2020 Election Open Season for Hackers

Millennials are ‘canaries in the coalmine’ for toxic economic trends, say Stanford scholars

A new report by Stanford scholars lays out the problems U.S. millennials face as a result of decades-long rising inequality. Problems they experience include rising mortality rates and increased poverty among those without college degrees.

Audit: Pentagon Cannot Account for $6.5 Trillion Dollars in Taxpayer Money

Banned bread: why does the US allow additives that Europe says are unsafe?

U.S. HAS SPENT SIX TRILLION DOLLARS ON WARS THAT KILLED HALF A MILLION PEOPLE SINCE 9/11, REPORT SAYS

From New York’s fake heiress to Donald Trump, we’re living in the age of the scam

Everywhere you look, there are people who have figured out ways to game our shoddy system

List of mass shootings in the United States in 2019

Our Towns: What Happens to Abandoned Malls?

Meet the precariat, the new global class fuelling the rise of populism

Suicide, alcohol, drug deaths reach all-time high

When the Interests of Monopolists and Authoritarians Coalesce 

 The U.S. is funding dangerous experiments it doesn’t want you to know about

No One Trusts the US Government, Not Even the American People – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Crumbling infrastructure is a hidden tax on all Americans

10 Mind-Blowing Pentagon Audit Reports All Americans Need to Know

Dutch historian Rutger Bregman goes viral after challenging Davos panel to talk about taxing the wealthy

Where he said, unforgettably:

I mean, 1,500 private jets flown in to hear David Attenborough speak about how we're wrecking the planet.
"I hear people talking the language of participation and justice and equality and transparency.
"But then almost no-one raises the real issue of tax avoidance, right, and of the rich just not paying their fair share.
"It feels like I'm at a firefighters' conference and no-one's allowed to speak about water."

He made the mistake of telling the truth.

USDA says filler once known as 'pink slime' can be labeled ground beef

E Coli is a vitamin under Trump. 

"Beef trimmings are easily contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella, so they need to be sterilized with "a puff" of ammonia…"

Bon appetit.


Lying Corporate Media

"Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."

-A. J. Liebling

The news media in this country is under assault both from the political establishment and from the same market and technology forces that have disrupted other business sectors. Newspapers are shrinking, press jobs lost, and many towns are without a daily paper in print. And for those that remain are a hollow, shrunken version of their former selves. Smaller, fewer sections, reliance on wire service content: "yesterday's news tomorrow." Accelerating their demise is their adherence to a radically false doctrine, that of "Both Sides Do It" and thus "both sides" deserve to be treated with fairness and balance. But that doesn't work when one side works in relentless bad faith.

The bad faith works as follows: "We are not bound by what you call facts. We have our own, and we will proceed to put them out regardless of the evidence. We’re not trying to 'win the news cycle,' or curry favor with you. We’re trying to demonstrate independence from and power over you people, and stick your own rules up your nose. Your program is a theater of resentment in which you play a crucial part, and since our base hates your guts, we get to score points with them by displaying our contempt for you."

Here's an excellent analysis of the failures of Chuck Todd (and by extension, the rest of the corporate media opinion-manufacturing industry) by one of the country's best observers of the press, Jay Rosen.

The Christmas Eve Confessions of Chuck Todd

After the better part of a career of allowing republican politicians to posit falsehoods as divinely-received wisdom, Chuck Todd had an epiphany:

Three years after Kellyanne Conway introduced the doctrine of “alternative facts” on his own program, a light went on for Chuck Todd. Republican strategy, he now realized, was to make stuff up, spread it on social media, repeat it in your answers to journalists — even when you know it’s a lie with crumbs of truth mixed in — and then convert whatever controversy arises into go-get-em points with the base, while pocketing for the party a juicy dividend: additional mistrust of the news media to help insulate President Trump among loyalists when his increasingly brazen actions are reported as news.

Note that the very guy who has made a living inviting pathological Republican liars to be on his TV show continues to feign shock at the discovery that they pathologically lie when they're on his TV show. Since taking over the Meet the Press chair from David Gregory, Chuck Todd has displayed the sense of "both sides" faux  balance that has made him one of the Republican party's favorite towel boys. This it would be amusing  to see ol' Chuck protesting and trying to push back with his atrophied, baby arms now that the Republican grifters and Trumpsuckers who come on his show for the purpose of extruding the propaganda do so with the same impunity that he has provided them.

Since 2007 Todd has been NBC’s political director, which means he has influence over all coverage the in-house expert and decision-maker. You don’t get to claim you are naive about politics in such a role. Well, that’s the job. The truth is It’s not naiveté. It’s a willful blindness to what the Republican Party has become.

As such Todd provides a template for most the mass media, whose behavior can be observed (and predicted) though the filter of a quote by Noam Chomsky:

The major media-particularly, the elite media that set the agenda that others generally follow-are corporations “selling” privileged audiences to other businesses. It would hardly come as a surprise if the picture of the world they present were to reflect the perspectives and interests of the sellers, the buyers, and the product. Concentration of ownership of the media is high and increasing. Furthermore, those who occupy managerial positions in the media, or gain status within them as commentators, belong to the same privileged elites, and might be expected to share the perceptions, aspirations, and attitudes of their associates, reflecting their own class interests as well. Journalists entering the system are unlikely to make their way unless they conform to these ideological pressures, generally by internalizing the values; it is not easy to say one thing and believe another, and those who fail to conform will tend to be weeded out by familiar mechanisms."

Oc course, none of this is new. It was observed by muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair in The Brass Check, a book few of us have ever read, let alone heard of. For those of us who virulently distrust corporate media, it's good to know that one of the pillars of the muckraking era exposed it all a century ago and despite being on elf the literary lions of the era, had his book constructively buried and erased from history.

A brass check was the token purchased by a customer in a brothel and given to the woman of his choice. Sinclair implies that, in a similar fashion, the owners of the mass media purchase journalists' services in supporting the owners' political and financial interests.

Sinclair criticizes newspapers and the Associated Press (owned by newspapers) as ultra-conservative and supporting the political and economic powers that be, or as sensational tabloids practicing yellow journalism, such as newspapers run by William Randolph Hearst. In both cases, their purpose is to promote the business interests of the paper's owners, the owner's bankers, and/or the paper's advertisers. Clearly, some things never change.

For his trouble, Sinclair challenged those who charged him with inaccuracy to review his published facts and to sue him for libel if they found him wrong. None did. But because Sinclair was denied access to the mainstream media to refute such charges, they assumed an aura of truth and gave the book a reputation for inaccuracy that have caused it to be largely forgotten.

Those who reviewed the book found The Brass Check's analysis of the media accurate and valuable, "astonishingly prescient in its critique of the coziness of big media and other corporate interests."

The stories:

Newsweek Journo Quits After Editors Kills Report On Syria Chemical Attack Scandal

The Media Yells Cut Whenever Trump Challenges War and Militarism

Who Will Tell the Truth About the Free Press?

The False Balance Between Fascists and Antifascists

Former Israeli Intel Official Claims Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell Worked for Israeli Intel

A former high-ranking official in Israeli military intelligence has claimed that Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual blackmail enterprise was an Israel intelligence operation run for the purpose of entrapping powerful individuals and politicians in the United States and abroad.

The Incredible Belief That Corporate Ownership Does Not Influence Media Content

The Pentagon Wants More Control Over the News. What Could Go Wrong?

The Pentagon is using a moral panic over “fake news” to gain influence over the domestic news landscape

Corporate Media Filled With Nameless Voices Attacking Progressive Democrats

Of Two Minds – It's Not Just the News That's Fake–Everything's Fake

Tiptoeing around Trump’s racism is a betrayal of journalistic truth-telling

Asymmetry between the major parties fries the circuits of the mainstream press – PressThink

Per one source, Russia has seen 42 Journalists killed during Putin's Rule

Trump and Putin Joke About 'Getting Rid of Journalists' on Anniversary of Capital Gazette Shooting

Some Real News About Fake News

It’s not just making people believe false things—a new study suggests it’s also making them less likely to consume or accept information.

Fake Has Become Realer Than Real And The Dogs Of War Are There To Keep It That Way

This is long; you may want to pack a lunch, but it is well reported, and I'll bet you've never heard a bit of it. By design.

 


Economic Fix is In

"The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing."

–Frank Zappa

“If you sit in on a poker game and don’t see a sucker, get up. You’re the sucker.” Crony capitalism that in which businesses thrive not as a result of risk, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class. Typical tools include permits, government grants, tax breaks, or other forms of state intervention, especially where the state can confer public goods. Think "looting of the commons."

America's economy was a success in the 19th century due the plunder of a pristine environment and abundant natural resources. Before the frontier was closed, all one had to show up and build wealth using what was at hand. The world wars finished off Europe as an economic dynamo, bankrupted the British empire, and put economic and financial supremacy in Washington’s hands.  The US dollar became the world reserve currency, enabling the US to pay its bills by printing money. And enabling the US to plunder foreign resources the way vanishing American resources had once been plundered. We plunder in a more sophisticated way now; see John Perkins in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man for how that works.

As it gets harder and harder for corporations to make an honest buck, they have to go "where the money is," much like bank robbers did before credit card fraud. And tht means you: your pension, your Social Security, your 401K. They want it, and they'll get it. Meanwhile, economic life in the "Home of the Brave, Land of the Free" means death by a thousand cuts for too many people. Here are 2019 stories that make the point:

The US Economy Is a System of Plunder

We Can Only Choose One: Our National Economy or Globalization

The world is sitting on a $400 trillion financial time bomb

Why the middle class can’t afford life in America anymore

Fed Ups Its Wall Street Bailout to $690 Billion a Week as Media Snoozes

Connecting the Dots to the Budding Wall Street Crisis

The Dirtiest Secret Capitalism Doesn’t Want You to Know

Have the Slow, Catastrophic Costs of Capitalism Exceeded the Long-Term Benefits? Or, Why Capitalism Failed Spectacularly as a Global Economy

The Repo Loan Crisis, Dead Bankers, and Deutsche Bank: Timeline of Events

This is (just another) absolutely terrific by the Martens. If you read nothing about money, read this.
The timeline is particularly telling, especially this gem:

May 19, 2019: The New York Times’ David Enrich writes the bombshell report describing how a Deutsche Bank whistleblower, Tammy McFadden, and four of her colleagues, had their efforts blocked by the bank when they tried to file suspicious activity reports on bank accounts affiliated with Donald Trump and his son-in-law/advisor Jared Kushner. The suspicious activity reports (SARs) should have been filed with the Federal agency known as FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) but were quashed by a unit of the bank that manages money for the super wealthy. The article appeared in the print edition of the New York Times on Monday, May 20, 2019. The stock closes that day at $7.43.

We're back to counting dead bankers. It may be that having HIV is safer than working for Deutsche Bank

Day After Trump Said 'Inequality Is Down,' Federal Data Shows US Income Inequality Highest Since Census Began Measuring

How Much (Money) Does America Really Have to Invest in its Future? 

The answer, of course, is the triumph of libertarian PR. Every man an individual, in the endless war of all against all. 

America’s Collapse: An Economy Based on Plunder

Noam Chomsky: “Worship of Markets” Is Threatening Human Civilization

Revenge of the Power Grid

The ‘giant sucking sound’ of NAFTA: Ross Perot was ridiculed as alarmist in 1992 but his warning turned out to be prescient

New Survey: 69% Of U.S. CFOs Believe That A Recession Will Start "By The End Of 2020"

The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich

Social Security Benefits Have Lost 33% of Their Buying Power Since 2000 

Economic Hitman John Perkins reveals US-led Blueprint for Acquiring Countries

The Coming Generation War

Russia tops global gold buyers list as it turns away from US dollar

Deep adaptation, post-sustainability and the possibility of societal collapse

The Internet Knows You Better Than Your Spouse Does

Found this article on Scientific American this morning while compiling the paper. Gives a glimpse at the sort of tools already in use to track us, sift and resell our preferences, for purposes unknown. What could possibly go wrong? The traces we leave on the Web and on our digital devices can give advertisers and others surprising, and sometimes disturbing, insights into our psychology

"Middle Class" Once Meant Stability and Now Means Fragility


What Don't fit

This is a grab-bag where a number of doom- and collapse-related stories of note that don't fit the other categories have gone to die.

The Ultimate Doom Post | Just kidding, it's worse than that.

2019 hasn't been easy and the word of the year proves it

The mainstreaming of Occupy Wall Street: How rethinking American capitalism became the most important debate of the 2010s

Fleecing the Flock: A Snapshot of America's Richest Pastors

Even among people who observe and measure how the wheels are coming off the wagon, plenty of disagreement. An old Diner friend Ugo Bardi makes an appearance in this article.

The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun

Scientists disagree on the timeline of collapse and whether it's imminent. But can we afford to be wrong? And what comes after?

All Great Civilizations Fall. Is America Next?

Read Sacha Baron Cohen's scathing attack on Facebook in full: 'greatest propaganda machine in history'

We're running out of time to stop killer robots

A new report warns that they're coming sooner than you think

CIA, the Real Lords of The Poppy-Fields & Striking White Gold in Afghanistan

‘OK Boomer’ Marks the End of Friendly Generational Relations

How America Failed to Understand its Own Collapse

Google Is Coming for Your Face

Personal data is routinely harvested from the most vulnerable populations, without transparency, regulation, or principles—and this should concern us all.

Did a large meteorite hit the earth 12,800 years ago? Here’s new evidence

Democracy Is Now a Hindrance to the Imperial State

Democracy is the coat of paint applied for PR purposes to the Imperial State.

White House Pressed Agency to Repudiate Weather Forecasters Who Contradicted Trump

Why “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself” Became a Populist Battle Cry

‘This Will Teach You Next Time,’ 911 Dispatcher Told Arkansas Woman Who Later Drowned. 

Debbie Stevens was delivering morning newspapers in her S.U.V. when she was swept away by floodwaters in Fort Smith, Ark.

‘We are moving into a new, controlled society worse than old totalitarianism’ – Zizek on Google leak

Study Finds Rise In 'Doomsday Prepping' Due To Mainstream American 'Culture Of Fear'

The Granddaddy of American Conspiracy Theorists

Decades before QAnon, false flags, “crisis actors” and Alex Jones, there was Milton William Cooper. An exclusive excerpt from ‘Pale Horse Rider’ 
Long before there was a Diner, long before 9-11, there was Milton William Cooper. His book was an underground sensation. The Hour of the Time radio program was also circulated and downloaded long before podcasts existed; I have them all. He was right about so many things, including 9-11, and the fact that he knew that by telling the truth, they would come for him and kill him. Which they did.

First human-monkey chimera raises concern among scientists

Researchers reprogrammed human cells before injecting them in the monkey embryo

This is what algorithms see when they spy on you in public

They see a lot more than you think and can make inferences about everything from personal relationships to life expectancy to “social worth.”
 

Why an “AI Race” Between the U.S. and China Is a Terrible, Terrible Idea

‘Years and Years’ is TV’s most haunting show

Foreskin reclaimers: the ‘intactivists’ fighting infant male circumcision

The U.S. Military Will Have More Robots Than Humans by 2025

We spoke to survivalists prepping for disaster: here’s what we learned about the end of the world

ARE WE LIVING IN THE DAWNING OF ALFONSO CUARÓN'S CHILDREN OF MEN?

The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps

China forcefully harvests organs from detainees, tribunal concludes

Organ transplant trade is worth $1 billion a year. 

Senators get classified briefing on UFO sightings

Tennessee Pastor Who Repeatedly Raped Daughter, 14, Gets Light Sentence Because Jesus

Was Shakespeare a Woman?

A thousand guns were found in an LA mansion. Then the mystery deepened

Trump Wants to Make It Legal for Debt Collectors to Text You “Where’s the Money, A$$hole?”

Ethiopian Bible is oldest and most complete on earth

Scientists Call for a Moratorium on Editing Inherited Genes

Amid a controversy over gene-edited babies, leading researchers want to call a halt and install a global governance process.

Opium-Addicted Parrots Are Terrorizing Poppy Farms in India

The Inconvenient Truth of Modern Civilization’s Inevitable Collapse

Medieval Letter Reveals Bawdy Nun Who Faked Her Death to Escape Convent

When the Trucks Stop Delivering, ‘The System’ Will Collapse

And that's a year's worth of doom. As we head into a pivital year of impeachment, elections and the usual schemes, here's hoping we're together back here next year "pretending that the downside doesn’t exist." Enjoy your new year!

 


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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