Cooking

Portable Electric Cooking Preps

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 17, 2016

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When discussing emergency preparedness for cooking, often ignored by preppers are electric cooking devices.  Usually you will find discussion of either Propane or Kerosene fired cooking gear used for camping as the main emergency cooking prep.  The reason they tend to be ignored is that one of the main scenarios that preppers are concerned with is a "grid down" emergency, where electricity is unavailable everywhere in your neighborhood.  In that case, electric cooking gear is pretty much worthless, although if you have a generator or a large battery system and inverter you can still use them.  Still, in that situation it is a pretty inefficient means of using your fuel.  You're better off just to siphon some of the gas and use that for a cooking fuel directly.

However, there are many other types of situations to prep for where the electric cooking gear is actually superior to the propane and kerosene fired gear.  The main one is personal economic collapse, where you lose your job and your McHovel gets foreclosed on and you move into your van to do Stealth Van living.  You still need a source of electricity of course to be able to use the apparatus, and with a powerful enough inverter most any cooking apparatus can be run while your car engine is running.  Again though, this is a relatively inefficient use of fuel overall.

'What you need to do is find sources of electricity you can access while parked.  The easiest and legal methods are to park in a campsite that has electric outlets, or to stay in a motel for a night, where as part of your fee you get all the electricity you want.  If you have friends in the neighborhood you are Van Dwelling who will let you plug into a garage outlet while you visit with them, you can charge up your auxiliary battery system this way,  A couple of hours pulling down 20 Amps or so @ 120V (2400W) to charge your Deep Cycle batteries will cost less than a dollar on their monthly electric bill, typically a kilowatt/hour costs around 15¢.  So 2 hours plugged in here runs around 80¢ or so maybe.

https://www.polartrec.com/files/members/cheri-hamilton/images/img1881.jpgAnother method that is "quasi-legal" here in Alaska is to park in places that have external outlets for block heaters.  Block heaters keep your engine warm on the sub-zero days and make starting up the engine much easier.  On a diesel, you can't live without them in sub-zero temps.  Many restaurants have these external plugs by the parking spots, and many motels do also.  However, if you aren't actually patronizing the restaurant or staying in the motel, then it's not really legal to be plugging in to their juice.  Also, the juice may only be on during the winter, so it's not going to work during the rest of the year if the establishment shuts down the outlets.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/3/18/1395161639328/Power-cables-in-Rocinha-009.jpg?w=620&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10&s=5a4427ec6f69e3cb0a332c9e8fcf16d6The illegal method is to pirate electricity that runs to street lights in any community. In the 3rd World countries this is common in the slums. This is NOT RECOMMENDED!  Besides the legal problems you will run into if caught doing this, you better know your shit as far as wiring and splicing goes.  Quite EZ to electrocute yourself or start an electrical fire when you tap juice from a street light or straight off the electrical conduit serving a residential area.  DEFINITELY do not try to tap long range High Voltage lines!!!!!!!  Unless you are a fully licensed electrician with a ton of experience, you have a DEATH WISH if you fuck with long distance high voltage lines.

OK, with all that in mind, in ths article we're going to look at the FULLY LEGAL methods of Campsites with electric power and Motels.

First is the question of what apparatus you need/want?

The most basic and necessary is the single electric burner, featured at the top of the page here.  These burners come single or double, from around 750W draw to 1500W.  On just the single burner, you can heat your soups, steam your rice, stir fry your veggies in a Wok, fry bacon & eggs, etc.  In other words, there really is nothing else you absolutely NEED other than the single burner.  These burners are lightweight, small and CHEAP.  $15 will get you one at Walmart.

However, for more variety in cooking methods, there are some other portable electric cooking devices you might want to add to the prep arsenal, depending how much room in your Stealth Van you wish to allocate to this type of cooking apparatus.

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/aa/aaf7adf0-e8f3-4a9f-baf2-fc1aae92b546_300.jpgThe first thing you probably want to go for is a double burner instead of a single burner.  This speeds up your cooking a lot and allows for more complex dishes to be prepared.  On one burner you can have your rice steaming, while on the other you are doing a stir-fry in your Wok for a Chinese-style dinner, or you can be heating some Oatmeal on one burner while your fry bacon & eggs on the other one for breakfast.  In both cases, you use up about 15 min worth of juice @ around 1000W, which doesn't draw down your batt set too much.

The next device you might want to add is an electric slow cooker.  These have the advantage of drawing very low power, a typical slow cooker draws about as much power as a 100W lightbulb on the low setting.  If you have some kind of Solar PV system, you may be able to run such a slow cooker when the sun is shining without drawing down your batt storage at all!  Of course, if you are in a motel room, no issues here at all, slow cook up your favorite stew or gumbo or chowder and then package in some tupperware and store in your cooler to eat during the week after short reheating over a kerosene stove or the like.  Or you can even eat it cold if you are a tough guy.  lol.

http://sites.ecovillage.org/sites/default/files/cooker.jpgOther possibilities for reheating while not connected to a power outlet include using a Solar Oven.  These can be constructed from a cardboard box, aluminum foil and saran wrap at the real basic level, but you'll do better with a more robust and well insulated arrangement.  If the sunlight is available on a given day for heating up your food, why use precious electricity stored in your Batt Set or propane or kerosene?  Use what is available for FREE first here, and conserve your other power/heat sources only for when the free sources are not available!  If you are traveling around in a Stealth Van in a neighborhood with a lot of trees, there' probably enough fallen deadwood around to cook or reheat over a wood fire.  Use that before you go to your stash of proane or kerosene.

http://www.gehousewares.com/products/169014%20rotisserie%20large_1098902701653.pngAfter the burners and the slow cooker, the next device you might want to add to your electric cooking emergency apparatus is a Toaster/Oven/Broiler.  these go from super basic to pretty complex, anywhere from $30 to $100 can be spent on one of these.  Some even have built in Rotisseries if you buy a chicken or leg of lamb, have access to juice and want to do your own Rotisserie instead of buy an already rotisseried chicken at the food superstore.  You'll save a bit of money this way as long as you're not paying for the cooking juice.  Generally speaking though, it's just easier to buy the chicken already rotisseried and not too much more expensive overall.  I find that generally 1 Rotisserie Chicken a week purchased at the food superstore provides all the animal protein I need in a week at a cost of around $6 pre-cooked on the hot rack.  I can buy a similar uncooked chicken for $4, but then I have to do the cooking, use the energy, do the cleanup etc.  Not much savings for the week to buy the raw chicken, not worth the trouble either in normal circumstances.  However, if you are getting your electricity as part of your motel bill and you have the time to do the rotisserie yourself, you'll save about $2/chicken you rotisserie this way.  You pay off the investment in the rotisserie oven after maybe 10 chickens the most.  So it's worth spending a little extra for this option.  How you use the chicken over the week is the key here in REAL SAVINGS, and I will be writing a new SNAP Card Gourmet article on the Incredible, Edible Chicken in the near future. 🙂

http://73j7e1utrow1c3hha1rfv18d.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2014/05/egg-sandwich_02_dougyoung-550x410.jpgBesides the chickens though, your Toaster/Oven/Broiler comes in handy for many other things, not the least of which is making Toast!  After a couple of days, whatever bread you are using is starting to go stale even if you keep it well wrapped up.  Toasting up the bread you use in your sandwiches makes them much more tasty!  You also can melt some cheese on the bread while toasting, great for making Bacon, Egg & Cheese on a Kaiser Roll breakfasts, and Cheeseburger Lunches & Dinners. You can Bake Lasagna in your toaster over too, so as long as you have enough juice to run it, you et a huge variety of possible foods to cook up you could not do with just the hot plates or slow cooker.

https://www.cuisinart.com/share/images/products/full/1291/ceg-980t.jpgThe final recommended device in the electric cooking arsenal is an Electric Grill.  I like my steaks, burgers etc cooked over an open heat source where the fat drips sown and then smokes up the meat some, giving it the classic BBQ flavor.  While ideally you want to do this over charcoal with perhaps some mesquite wood chips, in fact you can get most of the same flavor with a propane fired grill or an electric one.  Not the George Forman type of grill where the grill surface itself is heated, but one where the heating element is below the meat, heats up some glass rocks or a metal radiator and then the fat drips down onto that during the BBQing.  You don't want to use these things indoors though, since they produce too much SMOKE.  However, long as you have a source of electric power and can place the device outside, it's a great and EZ way to do a BBQ.

There are of course innumerable other specific devices such as electric steamers and electric skillets that are available, but the hot plate will do what they do as long as you have the right pots and pans.  For instance I have a Lodge Logic Cast Iron Skillet I can use over a campfire, but it will also drop right on top of either my 2 burner electric hotplate or my 2 burner propane stove.  Why do I need a separate electric skillet here?  I don't need a dedicated electric Wok or dedicated electric steamer either.  So the basic 4 devices are all you really need here, and total cost can be kept under $200 if you shop wisely for Low, Low Prices Every Day at Walmart.  LOL.

How do you use the Electric Cooking devices in the Campsite/Motel Van Dwelling Paradigm?

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http://resources1.news.com.au/images/2009/03/29/1225697/711409-family.jpgNow that you have all your devices stashed in the Van ready for your Bugout when the Sheriff arrives to foreclose on your McMansion, how are you going to live and do your cooking, and how much is this going to cost you a month?  First off let's stipulate this is for the single person, or at most a couple.  If you have kids, the Van Dwelling paradigm becomes much less plausible, although to be sure there are plenty of examples of families living in their cars.

At the time you purchased the McMansion, you were a successful network engineer making $80K/year.  You had a $2000/mo mortgage, utility bills of $300/mo, insurance etc.  You were pretty good with your money, not buying a new car every year, and your 4 year old Mercedes is almost paid of.  You also have your prize Harley you rode on summer weekends, it's paid for.  Since you were also a Doomer prior to getting your pink slip, you ALSO have your Bugout Machine, a 10 year old Chevy passenger van and a 15' enclosed Utility trailer.

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You're hopeful for a couple of months, sending out the resumes and meeting your bills out of your savings, but they are depleting quickly with your high monthly bills.  At the end of the 2nd month you still can't find any job at close to your old salary, but you have landed a part time low wage job as an Asst. Manager at Safeway.  You make $12/hr to start and get 20 hours/week for a $200/week paycheck after taxes and SS are taken out.  At the end of month before you completely deplete your savings you implement your Emergency Plan.

http://www.all-secure-self-storage.com/theme/allsecure/img/galleries/100_1156.JPGYou sell your Mercedes and after paying off the remaining debt on the car loan actually come out $2000 ahead.  You get $3000 for your Harley, less than the $5000 you bought it for but it was purchased for cash.  You have a yard sale and get rid of what you can of your furniture and old clothes and other junk, and raise a few hundred ths way as well.  The few things you want to keep go in a Storage Unit you contract for $50/mo.  For an extra $30/mo, you can park your utility trailer on the storage unit property also.  This is your new "rent" bill of $80/mo.

On the 1st of the month, you send in the Jingle Mail.  Since you were a Doomer before buying the McMansion, you made sure to get a non-recourse mortgage so as soon as you send in the Keys and the Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, you are out from under all the debt there, even though the McMansion was underwater.  You also have eleiminated all your utility bills, home insurance etc.  You no longer have a car payment.

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"I'm just happy to have a job"

How do you now budget your $200/week, $800/mo income?  $20/week is already gone to your storage unit rental, and you have a $40/week SNAP Card Gourmet  food budget, still have $160/week left here.  You get a gym membership for $60/mo, $15/week to shower daily and stay in shape, now down to $145 left.  Your smart phone with internet costs you $80/mo, $20/wk, now down to $105 week. Your insurance on the van costs $40/mo, $10/wk, now down to $95.

You now develop a circuit of sleeping spots around town not too far from your job at Safeway, keeping your gas costs down quite low, you drive no more than about 10 miles a day at most, usually much less.  Gas costs you $1/day, $10/week with some bonus driving on weekends.  Now down to $85.

For the most part just this small amount of driving each day will keep your deep cycle marine battery pretty well topped off to do typical reheating type cooking.  You can bring your slow cooker into work with you and plug it in to have a nice hot stew ready by the time you finish your 4 hour shift.  You can quickly fry up some bacon and eggs for breakfast on your hot plate.  If not connected to external power you only use your hot plate for maybe 15 minutes a day off the deep cycle marine battery.

Once a week you get either Camping spot with electricity or a motel room $20 for the camping spot or $50 for the motel room (Tom Burdett will leave the Light on for you at Motel 6).  You check in at 4PM after work and check out is noon the following day,  During this 20 hours you do laundry, you shower, you plug in your deep cycle marine battery to top it off for the week and you cook up a big batch of chili in the slow cooker and bake a lasagna in your toaster oven.  After stuffing yourself with the freshly cooked food, you take the rest  (most of it) and package into individual servings which go into your cooler with ice you get from the motel ice machine.  If you're a regular at the motel they'l probably be OK with you stopping in during the week to refresh your ice, but even if not worse case scenario you buy block ice for $2 once a week.  Winter when it is below freezing you won't need to buy ice at all, just leave a bottle under the van to freeze up and put that in the cooler.

RE-EwzYou can of course scarf up additional electricity on visits with friends as mentioned earlier, and you can even develop a portable battset/charger arrangement to charge up in places like internet coffee shops and laundromats.  I have 3 10AH SLA batteries wired in series for 36V which run my Ewz scooter.  Together with the 36V 2A charger, they fit inside a Briefcase (a HEAVY briefcase though! lol).  From almost dead to full charge takes about 5 hours, but rarely do I discharge that far down.  If I ever really had a need for it, I could disconnect the batteries, connect up one of the 12V batts to a 500W Inverter and run a hot plate long enough to fry an egg or something short like that.  However, between your daily driving and your weekly motel visits for charging and full scale cooking, you're unlikely to need such a supplement.

Does this mean you need to go ALL electric with your daily cooking while van dwelling?  Of course not, in fact most of the time when not connected to an external power source you'll probably use your propane or kerosene fired stove instead, or if out in a park that allows BBQing or even provides outdoor BBQs, you will throw in some charcoal and grill an nice juicy rib-eye for dinner instead.  Besides that, your workplace or a convenience store probably has a microwave you can use as well, providing another way for you to get some hot food each day without using your own electricity or fuel.

http://cdn.tegna-tv.com/-mm-/bf36b4c6941ee8531d0aa6cc129086fad95ded7c/r=x404&c=534x401/http/www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/29d215570eaa3c21f8299595dadea3fd20738899/c=95-0-1527-1077/local/-/media/2014/12/11/KXTV/KXTV/635538576530020263-shelter-church.jpgThe advantages to having portable electric cooking apparatus are many though.  You can use them in places that otherwise might not permit you to use a propane or kerosene stove, a public Storm Shelter for instance.  If you have to leave your McMansion due to a flood and go seek shelter at the local HS gymnasium, you'll probably have access inside the gym to a power outlet to run your hot plate.  Having  hot cup of soup to eat while the hurrican blows through town can make all the difference between being glum and depressed or feeling safe and warm and relatively happy to be alive.

Eventually when the grid goes down for good, your protable electric cooking devices will be all but useless, unless you have access to a mega large Solar PV array, but that day is probably still quite a ways off for the FSoA.  Temporary power outages and brownouts become more likely as time goes by, but a complete & permanent electrical grid collapse is ultimately a Mad Max scenario in places currently wired up and dependent on this power.  As long as there is some BAU going on, there will be electricity to be had somewhere.  For this period, portable electric cooking apparatus is a must-have prep.

Of course, the scenario I painted above does presuppose the former Network Engineer is able to find at least a part time job at a low wage for some monthly income in order not to be draining savings.  However, even if not, it's going to make what savings he does have last a whole lot longer.  He also won't even appear homeless at all if he is careful.  He'll be clean and presentable every day at work with his daily workout and shower at the gym before going in to work.  He'll be readily accessible to receive job interview phone calls and emails.  He'll be eating well on a budget he can afford, without having to buy expensve restaurant meals.  With luck after a few months or even a year of living this way, he will finally get a full time job again in IT, although probably not at the old wage and be able to afford a regular apartment again, smaller than the old McMansion but bigger and a bit more comfortable than the time spent living in the Van.

Having such an "off the cliff" economic plan to tide you over an extended period of unemployment can be the difference between being able to climb back out of the chasm, or falling completely off and plunging to the valley below in the final crash of your life.  It doesn't take a lot of money to create such a plan, for a single adult.  A good used van can be had on Craig's list for $3000, a trailer for another $1500.  Another $2000 in equipment you otherwise don't already have probably will fit it out OK to begin with.  It's an Insurance Plan you dont want to be without, if you can afford to put it together.

Coming Soon on Diner You Tube: Van Dweller Part 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Spy Doom: Tea Light Slow Cooking and Heating

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 20, 2015

Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner

Bed-Superstar
RE recuperates after the Neck Job

Over the last few months as I contemplated the possibility of my descent into Homelessness as a new CRIPPLE, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to negotiate life on a very limited budget with no fixed domicile to live in. 

Fortunately, this does not now seem so near on the horizon for me since my Bennies came through, but I know it is for others, so I want to share a few more strategies that I have come up with, beyond the SNAP Card Gourmet recipes for cheap eating without much in the way of a kitchen.  The recipes are tasty though regardless of your circumstances, so I recommend trying them out even if you are not on the cusp of Homelessness! 🙂

Insofar as Energy is concerned, beside the cooking you also have Heating requirements if you are in a cold climate (I live in Alaska), lighting and refrigeration.  These are the primary energy intensive needs you have to plan for once you fall off the economic cliff so far you cannot afford a fixed domicile anymore.  Hopefully, you still have at least a Stealth Van and a Storage Unit to live out of in this situation.  In this article, I am going to cover just the Cooking & Heating Energy needs, not lighting and refrigeration.  These will come in another article down the road a piece.

http://ll-us-i5.wal.co/dfw/dce07b8c-2726/k2-_02df1d66-387f-4f61-a787-6123d6292296.v1.jpg-88cf4f1e48f30aa6de47685475c31c5eb31b4386-optim-450x450.jpgNow, there are certainly many commercially available camping stoves and heaters on the market, the most popular these days being the ones run on propane cannisters which cost about $3 each.  You don't usually get much more than an hour or so of cooking time with them, and used for heating they also burn the the fuel quite rapidly.  It's convenient, but it's not very economical portable cooking and heating.  The stoves and heaters that use these cannisters also are fairly pricy, going anywhere from $30 to $200 or so depending how big you get with them.

Kerosene heaters and wick stoves are more economical than this, and besides that you can store a lot more fuel safely as kerosene than as propane.  A 5 gallon can of kerosene will last you probably 6 months just used for cooking, according to my podcast with Van Dweller,who relies mostly on kerosene.  So this is definitely superior to the propane systems, but it is still not as cheap as you can get if really in a pinch to provide some heat for yourself and ability to heat up some soup or cook some eggs to get some nice hot food into your stomach.  This isn't just important for the Homeless Person, even in your own McMansion if the heat goes out after an ice storm, how are you going to keep warm and do some cooking?

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Tuna-Soup Can Rocket Stove

At the left of the page here you see my design for a "rocket stove" made from a can of Bumblebee tuna and a can of Progresso Soup.  These cans were chosen because they have the same diameter and are designed to "nest", so the bottom of one fits neatly into the top of the other one.  The top can of Hunt's pasta sauce is what holds the soup or whatever I am slow-cooking in it.  Alternatively, you can drop a small fry pan on top for frying an egg, although the frying goes rather slow and it comes out more like a poached egg than a fried one.

As you can see, both cans on the bottom are perforated with holes, done with a hand drill.  You can punch holes too with an awl, but this tends to bend up the cans and they don't nest so well once bent. (click the pic to see more detail)

The tuna can on the bottom allows air to flow in from the bottom, and it also keeps the fire in the upper can off the surface you are using to cook or heat on.  Further holes are punched into the bottom of the soup can to let the air flow up through the fire in the can, and then further holes are punched into the side of the soup can to let the CO2 exit the can while cooking or heating.  You need to ventilate it or the fire will extinguish itself quite rapidly.

What do you use for fuel in your Tuna/Soup Can Stove/Heater?  Well, the absolute cheapest is twigs and small branches you collect up (FREE! 🙂 ), but this is rather smoky to use indoors, so if you are using this as fuel you need to do the cooking and heating outside before transfering it into your Tent or Stealth Van.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAlmost as cheap though and way more convenient and usable indoors is to use Tea Lights as your fuel source.  These come in packages of 100 for around $5, for 5¢ apiece.  They have exactly the correct diameter so that you can fit up to 3 in your Stove/Heater, though I find that 2 is enough for most purposes, and even one is usually enough.  You will notice in the pic at right that the currently burning tea lights are actually sitting on top of some old tea light shells.  Reason for this is to raise the heating element closer to what it is heating for less waste of heat.  You do need a couple of inches space at least though or it won't ventilate well.

For cooking, obviously your Tea Light stove will not heat up a can of soup as fast as a propane camping stove.  You can heat up a can of soup with that in 5-10 minutes.  Over a double tea light, the same can takes about 30-40 minutes to heat up to good eating temperature, depending on the ambient temperature.  Further insulating the soup can with a "sleeve" made from a space blanket will help conserve the heat while heating in very cold temperatures.  However, the temperature inside your Stealth Van or Tent should not be going below 10F or so no matter what.  Extended periods at such low temps no matter how good your clothing is an invitation to hypothermia and/or frostbite.  Every Alaskan Musher and Canadian Hoser knows this.  Even with really good cold weather gear it's just plain uncomfortable to have your living environment that cold, and I like it cold, I'm well aclimated to it.  32F is shirtsleeves weather to me. When the temps go down to 10F though, you just have to burn more tea lights or fire up your kerosene heater.

How long do the tea lights last?  Generally about 3 hours of continuous burn time.  You can use larger candles for longer burn times, but I just replace the tea lights when they burn out.  They tend to come in the cheapest, and 3 hours of burn time is plenty

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThat covers the cooking side of things, how do you use them as Heaters?  For this, instead of a can of soup heating up, you put a Rock or Brick on top of the heater, and let the tea light heat that up.  After about 10 minutes, the rock is radiating heat at about 120F with one tea light under it.  It becomes a miniature Radiator.  In a small tent, just one of these will take the chill out of the air and raise the internal temp of the tent about 5-10F, depending on external temps, how windy it is and how many people/dogs are in the tent. If you have one person and 4 dogs in a 3 man tent, forget the tea lights, you're going to be sweating just from the body heat if you don't ventilate.   In a larger space such as a Van on a cold night you would use 4 heaters, one in each corner of the Van.  3 hours of steady heat while you are awake and keyboarding at the laptop costs you about 20¢.

Why do you need the Rock or Brick?  Won't the tea light by itself heat the air?

Well yes it will somewhat, but heat capacity of air is very low, and it circulates around inside the space and is quickly dissipated into the environment.  By heating the rock up, it concentrates the heat into this location, and it stores and radiates it more efficiently.  The rock will continue radiating heat for quite a while after the flame goes out also, and you can pull tricks like taking a medium warm rock and throwing it inside your sleeping bag to warm it up before going to sleep.  DON'T DO THIS WITH A REALLY HOT ROCK THOUGH! You'll melt the nylon of the bag or start a fire!  You should be able to pick up the rock with your hand with no glove on and it should be warm/sightly hot to the touch, maybe 120F or so max.  Then wrap it in a hand towel and stuff it into the bottom of the bag.  It will keep your feet warm for hours.

Do you need to run the tea light heaters all night?  Well, you can but it is not really necessary if you have a good sleeping bag for most temperatures you would normally deal with, say 0F-50F where you might fire up a tea light heater.  If you are subject to temps lower than this, then you are going to need more than tea lights!  You'll want a kerosene heater for this eventuality, but even in the part of Alaska I live in (the Mat-Su Valley) there aren't too many sub-zero F days in the winter anymore.  Maybe a couple of weeks worth the most.  You can conserve your kerosene for nights like this and not waste it on more average cold temps.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYou can further increase your heating efficiency by isolating the heat source to just where you are, and setting it up to mainly heat YOU, not the whole Tent or Stealth Van.  In this image, I have taken the Heater and placed it underneath my desk chair, which then also has a throw/blanket on it.  When I sit down on the chair, I take the blanket and throw it over my lap.  Now the heat being radiated by the rock is mostly trapped under the chair, and the Heater is right next to my feet, keeping them toasty warm.  Then the heat radiates upward to my butt, keeping my core body temperature up as well.  In a real pinch, this will keep you from freezing to death or losing your toes to frostbite.  If you have a bag of 100 tea lights in your SUV, a Tea Light Heater and a Space Blanket, you can set the heater down on the floorboard, sit in the passenger seat with the space blanket over you and keep warm while you wait for the Blizzard to die down without wasting gas running your engine.  If you use 10 tea lights/day, you have 10 days at least where you won't freeze to death stuck in a snow drift.  Start the car once a day for maybe 1/2 hour of run time to keep the battery charged without using up too much gas.  Cut that to every other day if you get below a quarter tank.  Have a supply of Oatmeal and Bear Creek Soups also in the SUV to heat up for food during this period.

Now, what about the situation where you can't GET tea lights?  The shelves at Walmart have been ransacked of them and your Dollars are worthless and won't buy any even if they were available.  Nobody who has Tea Lights in a cold climate will even trade them for GOLD!  What do you do then?

Answer: Make your own tea light!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIn this example, I took one of my old used up tea light shells, filled with some vegetable oil and made a wick out of a scrap of a paper towel.  On another occassion I filled it with some leftover Bacon Fat and made a Wick out of some Jute Twine.  The amount of fat was about half the amount left over after frying just one strip of bacon for my morning SNAP Card Gourmet breakfast!  Bacon and cooking oil aren't the only things you can use here for this, even motor oil for your car will work.  Pine Tar will work too, and so will a stick of butter or margarine.  However, I think Tea Lights will be available for a while longer, and you certainly can stock them in your preps, they never go bad far as I can tell.  I have about 5 bags of them, around 500 in the preps.  Great Barter Item too.

Stay Warm, Stay Well Fed with Hot Food with your Tea Light Tuna/Soup Can Stove!

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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

Chicken Soup

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on June 6, 2015

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Also known as "Jewish Penicillin"

    If you were brought up by a Jewish mother, chances are you have been prescribed a hot bowl of chicken soup at a time you felt under the weather. Dr. Mom may have insisted it was a type of "Jewish penicillin," that it would lessen your sniffles and perk you right up. She was, in some regard, correct. In a 2000 study published in the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, researchers found that chicken soup could help reduce upper-respiratory inflammation, which leads to those annoying qualities of a cold, like a stuffy head and incessant sneezing. Many doctors believe that colds are caused by viral infections. The body responds to these infections by sending over white blood cells to take charge, though they are not really effective in killing the virus. Instead, they lead to those cold-like symptoms that make you feel crummy. Stephen Rennard, M.D, Larson Professor of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and one of the study's leaders, found that fewer white blood cells attempted to be heroes when the body had chicken soup in its system. The soup had some "very modest but clearly measurable" ability to promote an anti-inflammatory activity, he explained in a UNMC video about the research (watch here). Even more, fluids — not specific to soup alone — loosen congestion and support hydration.

Chicken Soup is actually ubiquitous through just about every culture that raises Chickens for food.  Besides the Matzoh Ball variety favored by Jewish Grandmothers, there are many others.

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   Chicken Noodle Soup    Clove Garlic & Chicken Soup        Thai Chicken Coconut Soup    Chinese Won Ton Soup

 

This of course doesn't even scratch the surface of all the types of Chicken Soups out there, many of which you wouldn't know from the name that use a Chicken Broth as a Base.  For instance, here's a recipe for Alaska Halibut Chowder:

Great Alaska Halibut Chowder

Great Alaska Halibut Chowder• Two pounds cubed halibut (approximately ½ inch by ½ inch cubes)

• 1 small can clams (reserve half of the juice)

• 1 cup diced celery

• 1 cup diced onion

• Vegetable oil

• 2 cups chicken stock

• 2 cups heavy cream

• 2 teaspoons dill

• 2 cups diced red potatoes

• Salt –to taste

• Pepper-to taste

• ¼ cup cook diced bacon (optional)

• 1 cup cooked, drained spinach (optional)

 

Sneaky using Chicken Broth instead of Fish Broth in this Chowder!  🙂  

Here's another one, Borscht:

Chicken Borscht Recipe2 pounds skinless chicken thighs

8 cups chicken stock

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes (not drained)

3 large beets, peeled and shredded

1 large carrot, grated

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 bay leaf

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Now, why is Chicken Soup so popular with so many variations?  Partly because it is DELICIOUS of course, but much more historically because it makes the maximum out of the the nutritional value in your Dead Chicken.  Nothing goes to waste. Whether you Roast it, BBQ or Fry it, everybody knows that after you finish off eating the meaty parts of the chicken from its bones, there's always still a ton of good stuff left on them, not to mention inside them in the case of the leg bones and thigh bones (Crack them before simmering with a Hammer or Rock).

http://bellpub.com/images/ugcoverphotos/UG_201107_CoverPhoto.jpgThe best way to get all that good stuff off is to simmer the remaining leftover bones (and gizzards) slowly over a few hours and create your base Broth, which you then can use in all the Chicken Soup recipes you can find. As Diners who follow my SNAP Card Gourmet series know, I'm always looking for ways to EAT CHEAP but EAT WELL, and Chicken Soup is one of the best ways of doing that. So I decided this week to see just what I could get out of 1  4.5 lb Organic Chicken as my entire Animal protein consumption for the week.

I also added another limitation here, NO REFRIGERATOR.  I just used my Cooler with 2 bags of Ice for the whole week.  The concept here is that if I was living in the Bugout Machine and couldn't afford to keep the Fridge running, could I keep my food good a whole week for eating?  Or if I was living in a Tent in a Homeless Camp, etc.?  Of course, I'm not living that way yet, but it seems to be getting closer by the day.  Best to be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best of course.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe experiment began with the Weekly Shopping Trip at 3 Bears.  The Organic Chicken which came in at exactly $6.66 On Sale  🙂 actually was purchased some time ago and has been in the Freezer, so I took that out to thaw.  I could have bought a new chicken just as easily though, even a precooked one hot off the Rotisserie.

In addition to the Chicken, I bought the usual Fresh Veggies you drop in Chicken Soup, Carrots and Celery.  Both keep quite well in a cool place for a week, in the case of carrots a good deal longer than that.  The carrots in particular are a good source of vitamins, so make your soup even healthier once brewed up.  I also bought Fresh Garlic, which not everybody who makes chicken soups likes in there, but I like it plus it also adds vitamins and wards off Vampires & Zombies too!

https://www.atncorp.com/night_vision_images/products/318/images/big/04.jpgJust about every form of Chicken Soup also has its Carb Content, whether that comes in the form of simple Potatoes, Noodles, Couscous or Rice or more creative ones like Matzoh Balls, Dumplings or Wontons.  In the case of Matzoh Balls, you get some additional Protein and Vitamins because you use Eggs with the Matsoh Meal; in the case of Wontons you get additional from leftover meat (sausage usually).  For my purposes this week, I did the KISS principle, utilizing Rice and Noodles (mini-shells I found ON SALE) and Rice I have many vacuum sealed bags of as the Carb Component of my Chicken Soup.  Both of these dried forms of Carb even without vacuum sealing last months without refrigeration, so they are ideal as long as you the Homeless Person has a safe place to store them.  For this, you should have a Storage Unit, which you can usually find for $30-50/mo for the size a single homeless person would need for safe storage of personal possessions.  I don't need one of those yet, I still have my cubbards and a lock on the door so my preps are *relatively* safe at the moment.  However, at this SAME moment My Future is So Bright I Have to Wear Night Vision Goggles TM. As I outlined in last week's Sunday Brunch article, it's really remarkable how fast you can fall off the economic cliff if you run into Medical Issues, even if you HAVE some savings.  I'm fortunate that I do, because if I did not, I would already be cooking my chicken soup behind my Bugout Machine in some Walmart parking lot.  Not there YET though, so I can still tell the tale here on the Diner! 🙂

OK, off the tangent of my personal trials & travails these days as I inch towards Homelessness, Quadraplegia and inevitable DEATH, and back to the topic of Chicken Soup and this week's Experiment!

After simmering the leftover chicken carcass overnight in the Slow Cooker, I strained off the bones and meat to have just broth, which I put in the Fridge to cool overnight.  Purpose of that is to skim off the FAT from the top which solidifies, to reserve for use later in making Matzoh Balls for another Chicken Soup down the line.  You can also just leave the fat in the soup, and have it that way though it makes the broth very rich.  Afterwards, I picked off the best remaining meat chunks and added them back into the soup.

http://stephanieodea.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/2-quart-slow-cooker.jpgNow, obviously I got two things here which the Homeless person probably does not have, a Slow Cooker and a Fridge, both running on electricity piped into the digs by the local electric Co-op.  The Homeless person might be able to pirate electricity from some source though, but probably needs to use his Cooler and Ice for that process.  For the Slow Cooking though, this can be done by heating up some rocks over a fire, digging a pit and dropping your crock pot in over the stones and covering the whole biz with dirt for overnight slow cooking.  Basically the same way you do a clambake.  Other alternative is just to keep the pot simmering over a low flame, but you have to maintain that low flame for many hours which is a pain in the ass.  With a group of Homeless people much more possible than for a solo, as you can rotate the job of maintaining the fire at the right level.  Burying the crock is more energy efficient too, if you are short on firewood.

Another possibility for the Homeless Person is a Solar Cooker, escpecially in the warmer and sunnier parts of the country.  You can put these things together with cardboard boxes, aluminum foil and saran wrap if necessary.

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http://cdn.recipes100.com/v/5eba6fa84e9abcce8c84bd6efaac20f9.jpgIn terms of Total Nutrition, I got more meals and more than 1 person needs in a week of Animal Protein out of this chicken.  I consumed the nice Meaty Parts over 4 days, together with Rice & Beans or Baked Potato.  Some of the nicer leftover meat I made a Chicken Salad out of with some Mayo, tarragon, chopped onions and celery etc and dropped on nice fresh Kaiser Rolls.  The Soup itself by the time all was said and done adding the veggies and noodles and rice made 3 HUGE Bowls of very tasty Chicken Soup.  Utilizing a larger crock, adding a few more of the carbs and veggies to this equation, easily you can feed 2 people for the week this way, for a likely total cost of under $20, $10/person.

http://cdn.ebaumsworld.com/picture/gionet2454/fatty.jpgThe great problem here in the FSoA and in Industrial Culture as a whole though is that many if not most people never learn to Cook at all, and all the prepared foods have come so cheap for so long, you have an entire generation of people who know nothing more about how to prepare food other than Microwaving it or buying cooked up already at Mickey Ds.  Why are people starving on a SNAP card allotment of around $140/mo per person?  Because they buy bags of potato chips that run $5 a bag with the SNAP Card, that's why!  FAT and STARVING at the SAME time!

You might not be able to make it on the $2/day Egyptians and Indians and many others in the 3rd World have for their food budget here in the FSoA, but you DEFINITELY can make it on $5/day if you don't buy all the junk and stick to the basics.

Of course, the food DOES need to be available on the shelves at Safeway, and the Money or SNAP Card does need to work to buy it.  Still working as of today, so enjoy it while you can.

Eat Cheap, and Eat Well! TM

 

A Homeless Thanksgiving

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 27, 2014

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FoodDonationsFrom the title you might have suspected that I headed over to one of the “Thanksgiving Blessings” that several Churches and Senior Centers do around here, which actually we have been helping to supply from the Food Pantry I volunteer at.  We rounded up 100 cans of Cranberry Sauce for one of these Blessings.

Twice a year, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, these large scale “traditional meal” extravaganzas are held to make sure even homeless people can share in the great Food Bounty of Industrial Agriculture.  The rest of the year, as a Homeless person you are basically SOL, because there are like ZERO Soup Kitchens that operate year round.

http://photos.dailycamera.com/News/Annual-Thanksgiving-dinner-at/i-xksSZf7/0/M/1120DINNER5-M.jpgThe Thanksgiving Blessings around here also mostly don’t serve real Homeless People, as there are very few of them.  They mostly serve the population of Octogenarians and up who either did not have families of their own, or whose sons and daughters moved on elsewhere and don’t fly them in to wherever they now live for Turkey Day.  If they still can take care of themselves on their SS and Pensions, they live in usually dilapidated houses, and then eventually they end up in Nursing Homes of varying quality depending on what kind of monthly income they still have.  The population of elderly people with no children who care about them is quite large actually.

“86% of Americans aged 45 or older have had children, and nine in 10 of these say they would have children if they had to “do it over again.” Of the 14% of Americans aged 45 and older who do not have children, 50% say that if they had to do it over again, they would have at least one child.”

14% never had children at all, then of the ones that did, if they are in their 80s they may have actually outlived any children they did have.  With the Mobile culture we developed, families did not stay together in any event, and my best guess is for people 80 years and older now, at least 25% of them have nobody who even visits them in the Nursing Home, much less invites them for Thanksgiving Dinner.

I remember in this case my mom’s oldest sister, my Aunt Ruth.  She was 20 years older than my mom, one of those scenarios of the long fertility time from 15 to 50 for women which can have some pretty wide spreads in siblings.  When mom was in her 60s, Ruth was in her 80s and in a Nursing Home.  She went to visit with her maybe every other week or so.  Ruth did have children, and they actually lived in the same general neighborhood, but you know how BUSY everyone is of course.  Maybe she got a few visits a month.  You can see the reality of this simply by visiting a Nursing Home, which I do periodically but not this Thanksgiving.  Its very depressing overall to do this, and a good reason to hope you go out quick at some point rather than last a long time this way.

So, rather than attend one of these Dinners, with the Buffet Table of the usual Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Sweet Potatoes, I though I might examine today how a real Homeless person can feed himself or herself, both most of the year as well as on Thanksgiving.  Also, I am still going to do this on the SNAP Card Budget, and keep the Daily Expense down to $5/day.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-It0-vR16wYc/UXbNTU_aboI/AAAAAAAABx0/jsaO96_fbTQ/s1600/bag+lady.PNGThe completely destitute Street Person Bag Lady type of Homeless person who pushes all her meager belongings around in a Shopping Cart has VERY limited ability to either acquire food or cook it, I often wonder how these folks survive at all.  Mostly by dumpster Diving I suspect.  Leaving your cart of stuff to go into a Food Emporium to shop risks having it stolen, or more likely trashed.  So you would have to hide it somewhere.  Said Bag Lady also probably does not have a Camp Stove in her cart, so the only cooking means would be to drop in a Convenience store and use the Microwave, or make a Fire Hobo style, but finding fuel to burn and a place to do it in the city where you won’t be accosted by the police also very hard.

Besides this is the problem of Food Storage.  As a Homeless person of this type, you have no ability to buy in bulk and store food, and no refrigeration to store your Leftovers.  As mentioned in prior SNAP Card Gourmet episodes on this topic, for the single person both buying in bulk and eating leftovers are a big part of keeping your costs down.

So, in this thought experiment, my homeless person is not a completely destitute Street Person.  He used to work up here in Alaska on the Slope as an Ice Road Trucker, and for many years made a good living.  He used his savings to go into Real Estate development, and did even better for another decade.  However, he was levered up heavily before the crash in 2008, and after the Bankruptcy proceedings were all said and done, he lost all the properties he was planning to develop, plus his house which he had used as collateral for a really choice property on the Matanuska River he was going to build a Hunting & Rafting Resort on.

http://businessbewareshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/walmart.jpgAll he was left with in the end was a few hundred dollars in his checking account, his SUV and clothes and his camping gear.  He also has some Medical Problems, he is in his late fifties and not yet eligible for Medicare or Social Security but has Peripheral Artery Disease in his legs which makes walking difficult and a semi-paralyzed right arm.  He is too proud to go for SSDI, and doggedly looks for a job, finally landing a part time Minimum Wage position 20 hours a week as a Greeter at Walmart.  He does apply for SNAP card, and he goes to the Food Pantry he used to volunteer at once a month for a Food Box.

His total income not including the PFD he gets from Alaska Oil every year is around $600/mo gross, less after the taxes are taken out but we’ll call it $600 for simplicity purposes.  He looks around for a place to live, but they all cost more than he makes each month, or right at it, so he elects to live in his SUV, also getting a Storage Unit with 24/7 Access which costs him $80/mo.  He keeps his food, camping gear, clothes etc in the storage unit, and he sleeps in his SUV.  He buys a $50/mo membership at the Alaska Club, where he showers and cleans up every day so that he is presentable for his shift Greeting at Walmart.  He also keeps a Cell Phone with the minimum 1GB 4G Data Plan for $30/mo so he can still receive calls and pick up email on jobs he sends out Resumes for.  He uses Free Wifi most of the time from the Coffee Shop for doing serious Web Surfing, and to run the Free Blog he has on Blogspot and the Free Forum he has on Create-a-Forum along with his You Tube Channel and Soundcloud Channel where he has the Basic Free Accounts and does periodic Podcasts and Vidcasts to chronicle his life as a Homeless Person.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CAg8G1mk3vY/UjKpFOnT4MI/AAAAAAAAALk/skIyIG5bMXU/s1600/IMG_0403.JPGIn his SUV he also has wired in a Deep Cycle Marine Battery which mostly charges off the car alternator, but he periodically tops off by charging it while doing Laundry at the Laundromat or while surfing the net at the Coffee shop.  He has a 500W Power Inverter for AC Current which allows him to keep all his Diode Lights and Cell Phone and Laptop charged up all the time.  He also can run his Slow Cooker and DC Cooking Oven off the battery to heat up food.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHis fixed monthly costs besides running the car are $140.  He spends all his time in the Mat Valley, with Daily Driving around no more than 10 miles/day, mostly less since he also has an Electric Scooter to make grocery trips and trips to the coffee shop on.  Average driving is 200 miles/mo, around 10 gallons @ 20 mpg @ the current price of $3.50/ Gallon for $35.  Insurance costs him another $50/mo, and Registration $10/mo.  Add this to the $140, total fixed costs now @ $235, still well under the $600 he earns at Walmart as a part-time Greeter.

To complete the Picture here before we move on to the COOKING, here is how yesterday went for this Hypothetical Homeless Person (HHP), as he told it to me:

“I woke up yesterday morning parked in an Apartment Complex  in Wasilla.  These are better than the commercial parking lots, the cops don’t cruise them so much.  It was around 25 F last night which is pretty toasty warm in winter here so I just needed my Sleeping Bag good to -30 and did not have to use my DC current blanket or foot warmers. When I woke up I drove over to the convenience store to hit the toilet and brush my teeth and Nuke Up a Breakfast Burrito.  Then I drove over to the Alaska Club and worked some leg therapy exercises for my legs, took a shower and changed clothes.  After that I drove over to the Coffee Shop and did some Web surfing, then over to Walmart for my Greeting shift.  I picked up a can of soup and a can of beans and a can of corn to make a Gumbo with.  I went over to the Storage Unit after my shift and heated up the soup and rice and had a nice dinner.  After that I drove over to the Laundromat and did some writing on the Laptop until just before they closed at 10PM.  I topped off the Big Battery while I was there, because it was supposed to drop down to 15 tonight and I like to run my Foot Warmers all night at 15.  I don’t have to add in the electric sleeping pad until it goes below Zero.   I did some more writing in the SUV before leaving, until about 11, then drove over to another apartment complex and sacked out. I use different parking lots all the time so I don’t get noticed by the residents of the complex.  I woke up this morning early around 6, so headed over to the Coffee Shop to do some web surfing, and found your Blog, the Doomstead Diner!  Maybe we can meet up since we both live around here!”

HHP is not a REAL PERSON of course, he is just a Thought Experiment of who I COULD BE if I fell off the economic cliff for one reason or another.  He is my friend, and he is with me all the time in my head.  There But for Fortune, go you or go I.

Now, obviously HHPs daily activities vary some from Day to Day, but overall it’s not THAT much different than the life I live right now.  Main difference is of course I have a Home and place to cook and store all my stuff, which makes everything WAY easier.  For the added Convenience and Comfort, it costs me around another $1000/mo, by the time you add up the Rent, the Heat & Electricity and the Broadband Internet.  The Psychological difference would be enormous though, having your own space to putter around in and just the overall level of COMFORT makes it much better.  Besides that though, none of the cooking aspects from here on in would be different, so let’s move on now to some daily meals & methods for HHP to eat, as well as his Thanksgiving Dinner, which he elects to do on his own rather than going to a Thanksgiving Blessing and getting depressed hanging with all the rest of the people who are off the cliff.

First we have to examine what Cooking Utensils and methods HHP actually has.

His personal Cooking Artillery consists of a Propane fired Portable Grill,  a Propane fired Camp Stove, a Solar Oven, 12V Oven and Immersion Heater and Electric Slow Cooker.  His Utensils are a couple of Pots, a couple of Pans a Dutch Oven or Roaster and his Hobo Knife set.  He also can access Microwave ovens in Convenience stores.  Everything we prepare will be possible with these tools for cooking.

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With your Storage Unit, you have a place to store bulk foods, but your Refrigeration capability is limited, although here in Alaska from about November through March it is cold enough all the time you can keep leftovers in a cooler without too much problem. The rest of the year you can buy Bagged Ice @ $2.50/Bag which probably is good for around 2 days most of the time.  However, I would mostly avoid trying to store foods that need to be kept cool.

The main Bulk Foods you keep in the Storage Unit is Rice, Pasta, Flour and Potatoes, aka CARBS.  You can add these to any Canned or microwave food to double or triple calorie content while keeping the cost down and leftovers to a minimum.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFor the first meal, we will cover the Gumbo that HHP had yesterday. This actually IS a meal that a Bag Lady could do, long as she can get hold of the canned food without having her shopping cart trashed while she buys it anyhow.  Its pretty much all Canned Foods, although you definitely can expand on it easily with a little Rice and leftover meats if you have some. ,  You start with a Can of Progresso Soup, I like to use either the Minestrone or the Black Bean & Vegetable varieties for this, but you can drop in similar things with most of their soup varieties.  By themselves, they are a bit pricey and only come in around 300 calories or so, not enough to fill you up.  Around here most of the time, around $2/Can, but On Sale you find them often around $1.50.  In order to fill them out and make them “heartier” you add a can of beans and can of corn, around 75 cents each.  This adds another 300-400 Calories.  This is probably enough if you had a Breakfast Meal that came in at around 800 calories, but you can add to it by boiling up some Rice also and adding that in, or adding in a Potato you microwave at the convenience store when you drop in there.  Here’s the real complex cooking proceedure for your Canned Soup & Veggie Gumbo  which you basically just need a pot, a can opener and source of heat to cook up.  You could in fact eat it cold if necessary.  Meal Cost without Rice, $3, add 50 cents to double the calorie content with rice.  The Header Video covers this complex cooking technique.  LOL.

I mentioned having a good calorie filled Breakfast here, and one EZ way as mentioned is to just buy a Breakfast Burrito at the conveninece store for $2.50 or so.  Add a Microwave Potato, you are in good shape overall.  However, you can occassionallly do better than this if you got some time, making Steak & Eggs with sauteed peppers and onions, home friees or pancakes or toasting up some leftover bread and melting some cheese and garlic on it.  All this EZ to do with just a grill and Camp Stove.

Stews also very EZ with your Slow Cooker, which you can use together with your Solar Oven, bury with some Hot Rocks in a hole overnight, or just use stored Electric power in your Battery to cook for a few hours.  Combinations of stuff you can throw in the slow cooker are endless of course.

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I picked up this Organic Chicken ON SALE for the Bargain Price of $6.66. What Doomer could resist that BUY for Thanksgiving Dinner?

For Thanksgiving, I am doing a Miniature Version of the Turkey I used to cook when we did the big family Thanksgiving back in the Flushing McHovel, in this case using a smaller Roaster and an Organic Chicken in place of a Big Turkey.  Stuffing it full of Goodies, and filling up the rest of the space with carrots, potatoes, onions etc.  I’ll cook it in the Oven of course burning the NG that flows in here at a pretty cheap price these days, but I could cook it with the other methods if necessary.

However, since this is THANKSGIVING, and you are supposed to have more out on the Table than you could possible eat, I am NOT stopping at the Roast Chicken.  I also picked up a “Flamecraft Ham”, which is Fred Meyer’s ripoff of Honey Baked Hams.  “Possibly the BEST ham you will ever Eat” says the tag line, and they are quite tasty, as are the Honey Baked Hams themselves.  These come in a good deal cheaper though, and I bought a half ham size which will for a single guy besides adding more to eat on Thanksgiving be part of Breakfast for the next week at LEAST.

Besides just making the plate more full though with Goodies to Consume, there is Nostalgia behind my reasons for buying the Flame Craft Ham.  During my Trucking Years, my sister ran the annual Thanksgiving Food Fest, and since I was out in the Truck I couldn’t do too much in terms of cooking, but since I had copious MONEY at the time, I would buy a Honey Baked Ham to add in to our Turkey Day Food Celebrations.  As I recall, they usually cost me around $60 at the time, and there were always leftovers which I took back on the road in the truck to eat for the next week.

http://www.commonsensewithmoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Honey-Baked-Ham-Coupons.jpgThe BIG Problem of course with the Homeless Thanksgiving Dinner though is of course the storage of leftovers, since even a small chicken is more than I will eat at one sitting, especially with the potatoes and rest of the stuff for this meal.  Fortunately though, this time of year average temps are around 25, so I can just store the leftovers in a pot left in the cooler.  I can probably work through it all in 3-4 days, making a soup stock and chicken salad out of the leftovers.

Not stopping there either, I ALSO bought a huge thick and juicy Ribeye which I marinated for a few days in a super secret Marinade, which will cook on the Homeless Grill and then I will Thin Slice and serve with Sauteed Mushrooms on my Thanksgiving Platter.  It will probably take me all day to work my way through eating this plate, and OBVIOUSLY if I was really HOMELESS I would never do this.  Too many Leftovers to store up.  In fact any ONE of the meat dishes, the Chicken, the Ham and the Steak are good for at LEAST 4-5 days of Leftovers, so I will be eating this stuff well into December to consume it all.

As has been noted by Surly in some of the previous SNAP articles, this is strictly a First Worlder problem, even a relatively poor HHP First Worlder.  On a very limited budget by First World Standards, if I harbor my money carefully I can buy COPIOUS food to eat and rather than starvation the usual bigger problem these days is to limit yourself so you don’t get outrageously FAT.

For the real Kollapsniks here, you’ll find all sorts of reasons why this paradigm won’t work too well in the future. Most obvious one of course is the GAS needed to run your SUV.  However, when we have descended so far you cannot access any gas at say$5/gallon, the whole society would be in a world of shit, not just the HHP living in his SUV.  I don’t currently think we will get that low in the next 5 years, though I may be wrong on this estimate.

Also unclear how long Walmart would keep me on as a Greeter since their profits are going south or how long JP Morgan Chase will keep refilling SNAP Cards, so when these supports drop off the map the paradigm ends.  However, so ends at this time ALL semblance of middle class living too, even if you HAVE a domicile you are quite fucked here.  The ONLY difference here is having a domicile to live in, everything else the average Konsumer must have to move around the society.

As it appears at the moment, the meme is for ever increasing impoverishment, with the system still operational to some extent.  I’ll guesstimate that can last another 5-10 years, so for this period, this Homeless Person Paradigm might work.  It depends of course on having a functioning Automobile and available GAS to work.  When this type of Homeless Paradigm does NOT work, just about everyone in Middle Class Amerika is EQUALLY FUCKED.  HHP has reduced his expenses so much here he could probably stand a rise in the price of Gas to $10 or even $15/gallon and still maintain his SUV Sleeping Quarters.  Most remaining Middle Class Amerikans could not withstand such a price increase in gas.

When the Gas becomes either completely unavailable OR outrageously expensive, even people who still HAVE domiciles in suburbia will generally be forced to either abandon them or to live without heat, electricity etc.  The whole system just will not run if/when the prices run up that far, and at the moment it does not look like they will, but rather go in the opposite direction, while more unconventional oil fields are shut in, and more people drift off this economy one way or the other.

In the best case scenario, during this devolution off the Industrial system, localities will develop their own economic system.  Making the Changeover is the next great CHALLENGE we face, and to negotiate it successfully we must all work together in our local communities, right after we hang all the Banksters and Frackers who got us into this mess.  As one of my Tag Lines goes, “The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth. Right AFTER the Meek get very, VERY Angry.”

To close this Thanksgiving Food Extravaganza, a few thoughts.

First, although I can do a Thought Experiment on how it might be for me if I were to fall off the cliff economically, there is no way to really know how it is until you are THERE.  I’m not REALLY Homeless, and I’m not REALLY limited to a SNAP Card Food Budget either.  I also have Savings that insulates me from DISASTER.  What happens in HHPs life if the tranny on his car gives out, and it costs $2000 to fix it?  Even if he HAS the $2K to fix it, he is without his sleeping quarters for a week or two while it is in the shop.  What does he do if that happens in Mid-Winter and it is 30 Below outside?

Second and even more affecting to me is that while I have this cornucopia of food to cook up on my porch and I can make an intellectual assesment of how it is possible to feed yourself on a limited budget, I know for a FACT that in reality there are many children out there going HUNGRY tonight, maybe not too many in the FoA, but globally in the millions easily.  There is no good reason for this right now, since at the moment there is plenty to feed even the 7B human Souls walking the Earth.  Right now, it is just a distribution and economic issue, not a supply issue.

It is also plain stupid that there are any Homeless People AT ALL in the FSoA, because there are simply TONS of foreclosed on and abandoned properties these folks could make into viable shelters, but the LAW prevents them from doing so.  Besides the empty McMansions, there is empty land everywhere people could set up Tents on, but if you do it the Gestapo comes and sweeps them away.  You MUST pay into the Rentier economy to have a place to live!

We have to let this stupid sort of Economy GO!  It’s not working now, and really it has NEVER worked, it impoverishes most people while making a few rich beyond measure.  It is WRONG.

I will leave you this Thanksgiving with a Hans Christian Andersen story, The Little Match Girl.  She is coming back here now, and only YOU can keep her Warm, if it is in your Heart to do so.

http://www.catherineshafer.com/images/martch_girl_1_.jpgMost terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening– the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that? They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast.One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold. She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no one had given her a single farthing.She crept along trembling with cold and hunger–a very picture of sorrow, the poor little thing!The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful curls around her neck; but of that, of course, she never once now thought. From all the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt so deliciously of roast goose, for you know it was New Year’s Eve; yes, of that she thought.

In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to go home she did not venture, for she had not sold any matches and could not bring a farthing of money: from her father she would certainly get blows, and at home it was cold too, for above her she had only the roof, through which the wind whistled, even though the largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags.

Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might afford her a world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out of the bundle, draw it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. She drew one out. “Rischt!” how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle, as she held her hands over it: it was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the little maiden as though she were sitting before a large iron stove, with burnished brass feet and a brass ornament at top. The fire burned with such blessed influence; it warmed so delightfully. The little girl had already stretched out her feet to warm them too; but–the small flame went out, the stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt-out match in her hand.

She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil, so that she could see into the room. On the table was spread a snow-white tablecloth; upon it was a splendid porcelain service, and the roast goose was steaming famously with its stuffing of apple and dried plums. And what was still more capital to behold was, the goose hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor with knife and fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl; when–the match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger, and more decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant’s house.

Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when–the match went out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.

“Someone is just dead!” said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.

She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love.

“Grandmother!” cried the little one. “Oh, take me with you! You go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!” And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety–they were with God.

But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall–frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the child there with her matches, of which one bundle had been burnt. “She wanted to warm herself,” people said. No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things she had seen; no one even dreamed of the splendor in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year.

RE

The SNAP Card Gourmet 004 – Chicken SNAP Alaska RE

Off the keyboard of 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

Discuss this article at the Diner Pantry

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 001

Off the keyboard of RE

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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.

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/draghi/may_foodstamps.jpg

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

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  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Waterboarding Flounder"Serious oxygen loss between 100 and 600-meter depths is expected to cover 59–80% of the ocean [...]

Of Warnings and their Ripple Effects"We need wooden ships, char-crete buildings, bamboo bicycles, moringa furniture, and hemp cloth [...]

"Restoring normal whale activity to the oceans would capture the CO2 equivalent of 2 billion tr [...]

Ukrainian Rhapsody"Our future will be more about artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and non-state actors tha [...]

LeBron’s Chinese Troll Mobs"In the 36 hours after James’ delete, a troll mob with bot support sent a flame tsunami at the [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

What extinction crisis? Believe it or not, there are still climate science deniers out there. And th [...]

My new book, Abolish Oil Now, will talk about why the climate movement has failed and what we can do [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

quite excellent... this quote from section 4.8: "Energy’s cost share of our economy, after five [...]

Cost was first. I also am not sure how much was known about the annealing issue when the transmissio [...]

Interesting. I noticed in the third document you linked the point is made that when offshore wind is [...]

Hagens is a interesting fellow with quite a background. Also a mushroom hunter, which dominates my i [...]

Trump the peace president and the degrowth president. What more can we as for? [...]

Living around 5300' elevation, the only flood we'll likely see is refugees. Although, that [...]

For those safe from the rising seas, the ocean acidification will fcuk you up instead [...]

Here's an article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-imo-shipping-factbox/factbox-imo-2020-a-m [...]

What is the shift away from bunker fuels? [...]

Yeah, when the water heater goes out the day after you just put new tires on one of the cars, etc... [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

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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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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

The effect of urbanization on microclimatic conditions is known as “urban heat islands”. [...]

Forecasting extreme precipitations is one of the main priorities of hydrology in Latin America and t [...]

The objective of this work is the development of an automated and objective identification scheme of [...]