Emergency Food Supplies and Young People
by Simon Fowler
There is a lot of talk about storing food for a long period of time, but there is still the question of whether family members, especially younger ones, will actually eat these things. Sure, there is a saying in most languages that you will eat and be thankful for anything when there is no choice, but take a look at the dietary habits of most young people (or older people even) in the western civilizations and you may get the first feeling of slight unease about the matter. My family will happily eat rice and beans as a main meal, but I am not sure how well that will work after the third day. I have never been brave enough to try. Dried beans are great food, but not very exciting, and remember that they have to be soaked in water for some time before cooking, so they are not exactly ideal for a time when you are travelling.
Especially with smaller children it will take some days of hunger before they will happily adapt to a basic diet, and think of the screams and whining you are going to have to listen to in that time. If you are planning to stay where you are and have a large stock of preserved food in the cellar for an emergency, then it is probably mostly things that you eat regularly anyway and the choice will in most cases be less limited, but for those that are planning to travel, whether from necessity or desire, the question of supplying a diet that young people are happy and willing to eat is one that has to be faced. Sure, we can be brutal and say that they will eat anything after a week of starvation, but who is going to do that to their own children, and who can put up with a whole week of whining, screaming and temper tantrums without slaughtering the little darlings?
On a more practical note, extended starvation will greatly reduce their resistance to disease and ability to travel, so you can soon end up having to carry them, which will further reduce your ability to transport appealing food stuffs.
It is not just a question of not wanting your children to suffer, nor am I suggesting that you should pander to their every wish, but a certain practicality is essential in any form of planning, and this is one point where reality will probably win over theory.
Since my children are now big, I do not have to worry about this subject too much, but those of you with children up to the end of puberty should really consider how to deal with this, whether additional food additives are necessary, or different foods should be added, or simply if you will have one day in the week where the foods chosen to be taken with you should be consumed to the exclusion of everything else. Certainly it will be essential to take some form of vitamin and mineral supplements to replace those parts of the planned “balanced and healthy” diet that has been organized and taken, but that not everybody is prepared to eat.