Guest Post: Food

by Ken

Let’s make a few assumptions, here, before we start:


1) You have at least a year’s supply of food and water, in a safe, transportable

manner for your whole family/crew/group.

2) You have a secure location, and you are all safely-arrived there after

“Something Bad” has happened.

3) You have the means to protect your location, by whatever means.

4) You have warm/cool/dry enough accommodations (tents, RV’s, cabins, yurts,

whatever your choice…)

5) You have stored seeds and an adequate supply of local wildlife to produce

food for yourselves.


You’re in Fat City, right?  You’re all hooked-up.


Did you ever consider what you plan to do with all of that food when the time comes

to eat it?


After a week of MRE’s ( I admit they are better than the infamous can of  Ham and

Lima Beans of the Vietnam era, but not much) or Canned Pork and Beans heated in a

canteen cup, people will start to complain, loudly. This is a guarantee.


No one is going to expect 4-Star cuisine after a disaster (and if they do, you might

want to reconsider including them in your group..) but, a hot, tasty meal is,

perhaps the best way to keep up morale, when everything else has Gone West.


I will be the first to admit that I keep ‘minimal’ cooking equipment in my 72-hour

“Get-Home Bags” (small gear stored in stainless steel ‘flan molds’ that can be used

as cooking pots, stainless steel chopsticks, a spork, salt, herbs and spices in a pill-pack

and folding knives), but that is for ‘stuck 3 days’ not a life-changing disaster

(i.e. TSHTF), but if you are planning on any real length of time (like for the

rest of your life), I would strongly suggest a better survival kitchen than a

tin can and a Kabar that you ‘sharpened’ on a rock.


Here are a few ‘minimal’ survival kitchen ideas:


Cast Iron:

A 5, 7, or 9 qt Dutch oven with a lid. Spend the extra cash to get the wire-bail

handle. You will get burned less often and you can hang it from a tripod over a fire.

A cast-iron skillet the same diameter as the Dutch oven, so you can re-use the lid.


Cutting Tools:

A good-quality 8-inch chef’s knife ( I prefer Santuko shape, but a French knife

works too)

A good quality paring knife ( A Mora ‘Sloyd’ craft knife works admirably)

A good utility knife – I love my antique Herter’s model, but Cold Steel’s “Canadian

Belt Knife” can do a lot in a small, light package.

A serrated Y-shaped vegetable peeler

A long, serrated “bread knife”

A set of sharpening stones (coarse, medium, fine, Arkansas stone)

A “Crock-Stick” – the typical chef’s steel LOOKS cool and flashy, but it can mess up an edge faster

than you can imagine. Take your time with the Crock Stick, and you can shave

with yout kitchen knife, and sharpen less often.

A small triangular Crock Stick to tune up the serrated blades (often sold as hook sharpeners).



A good, long set of tongs, or 5 – they are handy.

Wood, or nylon spoons and spatulas (metal will kill your pans, trust me… Dollar

Stores are your friend)

At least 1 “BigAss Pot” – 20-30 quart – canning, chili/stew/soup-making, cooking ‘windfall’

items that come your way quickly. The heavier the bottom of the pot, the better


“BUT”, I hear you say – that stuff is expensive.. I can get more pork and beans and

ammo, instead….


Three words, young padawan.. “Restaurant Supply Store”.  A net-search (or phone book)

for one in your area will open up whole new vistas of affordable equipment. Most

don’t care if you own a restaurant, they’ll sell you tools.  Talk to the owners

and staff- make friends and you can almost always get great deals, above and

beyond already-cheap prices. (last week I picked up a 10-inch “steak scimitar”

butchering knife, that I have seen online for $27 – a good deal, for $8, just sayin’)

Go local, and you definitely beat ‘megamart’ prices, beat many online prices, and,

just maybe, make new friends who can help if TSHTF.


The food will be better, in any case, and that can be the difference between

just surviving, and living well in a new situation


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  1. I second the idea of using a restaurant supply store for those types of items mentioned above. One of the best I’ve found online is Their normal prices are good, and many of their sale item prices are VERY good. I’ve also used them to buy other less common items like liquid paraffin lamp oil, etc.

  2. I want to thank you for all the wonderful info and wanted to add that along the same lines check out your local scrap yard . Most have great deals on all kinds of things . I bought a troy built tiller at mine and a wood heater for my shop as well as a lot of stainless steel pots .
    Robert W

  3. I would like to point out that you make a lot of assumptions that might not apply to most people, even preppers. With the expectation that you would, therefore, have a lot of meals to prepare, even a quality campfire dutch oven might not be enough given that you would need an abundance of firewood to use it. I would suggest that people look to more passive (or less fuel intensive) modes of cooking such as solar cooking or even thermos cooking. Unless you’re VERY well prepared then even cooking a modest three meals a day over a campfire could be a chore.

  4. Thanks for the comments .

    Another aspect of the stuff that you can pick up cheaply at your local restaurant supply store is ‘trade goods’.

    Walk into your local place with $100, go into the ‘smallwares’ section, treat it like a toy-store, and walk out with a huge tote full of knives, pans, ladles, spatulas, tater-mashers, etc, put them away for safe-keeping, and well-before you find yourself haggling for a truck tire with that guy who has been eating MREs for six months, spend some time in front of a mirror practicing saying “welllllllllllll, my friend….. I just MIGHT be willing to part with this…… ” 🙂

    They might not trade that tire (or whatever) for your gold bar, but I’m betting that the carbon steel paring knife and stainless skillet that cost you $10 total can seal the deal. Jut something else to think about .

  5. I agree with you completely, millenniumfly. That’s why I specified a “minimal” survival kitchen, and “ideal” pre-conditions. Too many articles elsewhere lead people to believe that a single backpack full of ‘stuff’ and a gun will keep you alive indefinitely. It’s intended to be food for thought for individual preparation, not a canon.

    Yes, you’re going to need to build solar ovens and water-heaters and straw-box-cookers. You’re going to need a protected cool spot to store/cure food. You’re going to need to know how to make soap to clean your tools. You’re going to have to learn to safely smoke meat, and how to kill and butcher it. You’re going to have to know how to grow vegetables and harvest what else nature may provide.

    Sometimes, you have to live with a 500 word article vs. 500 page guidebook, and I don’t claim to be able to write that one 🙂

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