How We Stopped Worrying and Started Our Food Storage
October 1978

“How We Stopped Worrying and Started Our Food Storage,” Ensign, Oct. 1978, 50

How We Stopped Worrying and Started Our Food Storage

Food storage was my modern “Noah’s ark.” Perhaps like some of Noah’s friends I believed in the basic principles but when it came right down to construction it seemed ominous—even a little ridiculous. Cans of dehydrated carrots—who would ever use them? Then the correct principle loomed apparent. Noah didn’t build a canoe or a cruiser; he built exactly what he needed—an ark. Most likely he didn’t stock it with a lot of things he didn’t plan to use.

So I began my storage program. Many good plans on food storage are available. I studied several of these to learn what basics are suggested.

After family home evening one night, I asked my family to list four or five of their favorite dinner menus and the same number of their favorite breakfasts. From their lists, I created menus for fifteen breakfasts and thirty dinners—making certain that all meals satisfied basic nutritional needs.

Using this “rough drawing,” I then matched breakfasts and dinners (I used the fifteen breakfasts twice) so that the best variety and combinations were developed for each day. I planned so that if I have chopped ham, a few days later I have split pea soup to use the chopped ham juices and leftovers. If I have bacon for breakfast, I wouldn’t want to serve bacon and tomato sandwiches for dinner.

I now had a pretty good idea of what my family could eat and enjoy for one month. With my plans in hand, I set about to develop a list of materials—how much, what kind, etc. I listed the ingredients and amounts required for each recipe and then multiplied by twelve to determine the amount needed for a year. For example, I know it takes one can of tomato soup to make my recipe of Spanish rice, so I need twelve cans for the year. Of course, I use tomato soup in other things, so I consolidated the items from each menu, using a grocery store checklist.

With all this done, I now had my year’s supply—on paper.

I built my “ark” in a small fruit room and then proceeded to lay in my supplies. Some items, such as bottled fruit, were already on hand. But how, with rising food costs, could I really get a year’s supply?

I found that if I divided my list into twelve parts and planned to purchase one-twelfth each month, I could slowly stock my shelves. That also allowed me to watch for sales. It became exciting to squeeze out extra dollars from other areas to add to our food supply.

Of course, not all food supplies can be stored—lettuce just won’t keep well in a basement storeroom. But carrots will store in my garden through the winter, and jello makes a good salad substitute during winter months.

With my “ark” stocked, I have a supply I can rotate in a little more than a year. And if the rain never comes, no matter—my family is safe, snug, and we are using the supplies and replacing them anyway. And we sleep very well knowing that we are ready. Irene Fuja, Provo, Utah