Frequently Asked Questions
This is a open letter from us to you, in which we want to answer the questions we hear most often regarding our company, philosophy, and why we do what we do. The questions we hear most about individual products are answered in those product descriptions. If you have a question about a product but do not see what you are looking for in the description, please email us and we will answer you directly.
1. What do you mean by "kitchen self-sufficiency"?
We live in a fast-paced, fast-food world; I do not only mean the place you drive up to a window and your food is passed to you by a polyester clad team. I also mean much of what we eat from the store. We enjoy the convenience, myself included. There is always a cost for this convenience and sometimes it's a deceptive one. We want to encourage you to choose health and freedom by learning some basic old-fashioned food production, preparation and preservation skills. If you know how to purify your own water, you will not rush to the store to fight over the last two packages when the power goes out, the municiple water main breaks, regional storm, etc. If your pantry shelves are full, then a financially tight month won't hurt so much. If your cupboards have the colorful array of last summer's harvest, you are less likely to turn to chemical-laden subsistence that is passed off as nutrition. Kitchen self-sufficiency means removing yourself from the three-day food life line supply found in most local grocery stores with just-in-time logistics. It's a sense of security and of accomplishment!
2. Why on earth should I learn to garden, can, or bake bread when the grocery store provides many healthier versions than ever before?
We all have to make the best decisions in the context of our personal and family's needs. This can mean different things for different people and there is no guilt trip from me, I promise! Some families are gluten-free, we are not. Some are dairy-free, strictly organic or vegan or any-number-of-things that we are not (personally speaking). Yes, there are more options than ever before lining your store's shelves; they do come with a price tag that many of us are unwilling or unable to pay. And do we really know what we are getting? For instance, what is "all natural" anyway? Arsenic is "all natural". There is the economic reason on learning these skills: it's far, far cheaper to bake the best bread you've ever eaten than to try to pay $6.00 a loaf for a distant second. We also believe that families should leverage dollar cost averaging when the purchase food. Some food is naturally shelf stable (i.e. refined sugar, salt and honey). To purchase a small surplus of these today will mean that you can store that item into the future and reap the savings rewards long afterwards. That is to say that your 2011 food dollar will naturally purchase more than your 2012 food dollar due to inflation. There's the security reason for food preparation and preservation: when others run to the store with the threat of a natural disaster, you can take quick inventory and know you're family's needs are met--and be prepared to be charitable to others in their need. There is yet another extremely important reason: your health! Visit our blog and knowledge base to read some interesting articles about wheat, gluten, phytic acid, and so on. Even a healthy family is surprised (as ours was) by the changes experienced with the addition of substantial, old-fashioned FOOD! None of these reasons may be compelling for you to take up new hobbies or skills and that is okay. But if you're worried about the time or think such archaic skills have been lost for a reason, I'd leave you with one thought: providing nourishment for the body nourishes the soul in ways you wouldn't expect. There is joy in knowing that you are doing the best thing for yourself and your family (whatever that "best thing" might be).
3. My mom never canned so I do not know how and I'm not sure I can learn! Besides, I have always been told that pressure canners are dangerous!
Okay, this is less of a question and more of commonly-held-myths. People have told me that they know of someone who was hurt in the process; inevitably it was years upon years ago with an old canner. Please check out our pressure canners to learn more about the safety features that set the All American Pressure Canners apart from their competitors. But let us start now by stressing the importance of that metal-to-metal seal that eliminates the need for replacing a worn gasket. An old gasket with a hairline crack could give way, releasing steam into the kitchen unexpectedly. That cannot happen with an All American--there is not any gasket to fail! The manual that comes with it is extremely thorough, and the process (although intimidating at first) is really quite simple! There is no magic to canning; you follow a step-by-step process that will ensure your safety and the safety of those who eat that home-processed food. Have a "canning party" with a friend who is confident putting up the year's produce...or watch some excellent videos, such as the one by the West Ladies; they are so at-ease with the whole process, you cannot help but to catch their confidence! If you are new to canning, and you want to get the nuts and bolts of it or if you have been canning for awhile and you need additional help we could not recommend highly enough Sharon Peterson's website. And if you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to email us at: email@example.com.
4. I see what is happening in our society, and I am getting nervous! The economy is poor and I want to start learning more self-reliance. I am overwhelmed, where do I start?
My first piece of advice is to remember that God is sovereign over all things and He is never shocked by current events (see Romans 8:12-17 for an "eternal perspective"). With that said, having a well-stocked pantry means that you can go and live life, knowing that you've prepared your house and heart just in case. Most people get homeowner's insurance not because they have clairvoyance to see a catastrophe (say, a fire for instance) behind every corner, but so that they rest knowing that if there ever was one they would have the assistance they need. And they don't live in that constant fear that every piece of burnt toast is going to end in smoldering ruin of all they hold dear. Having a good and adequate skill set coupled with calluses from doing them gives you a certain level of self-sufficiency in the kitchen and around the house. Call it "cheap insurance," "pantry insurance," "pioneer skills" or whatever you want, the pay-off is the same.
Now, for my pragmatic answer: if you are truly overwhelmed with the notion of where to start, I recommend Doctor Prepper's Making the Best of Basics Family Preparedness Handbook, which you can find on our "Self-Sufficiency Primers" page. I recommend that one because it's full of worksheets to get your scattered thoughts organized into a cohesive, workable plan. There are many wesites and blogs out there that can help motivate you, educate your mind, nourish your spirit or balance your perspective. We list the websites that we check in with regularly in point #11 (below).
5. I received a shipment, and the box was used. Why is that?
We believe that the earth and the natural resources from it need to be protected because God made the earth (Genesis 1:1), gave Adam the charge to take care of it (Genesis 2:15) but we never see where God changed His mind and gave the go ahead for waste, abuse or have a lack of stewardship over creation. The boxes and packaging we recycle are from a local high end electronics manufacturer who allows us to reuse the boxes in accordance with ISO standards/requirements. Since commercial grade electronics packaging is among the highest quality, we find this opportunity fortuitous as well as a reasonable step of "due diligence" in reducing the load on our local landfill. If this sounds a lot like the placard "Please hang up your towels and help Brand XYZ Hotel save the earth by not using XX,XXX gallons of water . . . " you are right. The motives may be different, but capitalists can be still be green.
6. I just opened my package, and the receipt was missing.
It is a matter of policy that we email your receipt to you. We tend to err on the side of practicality and our reasons for doing this are three-fold:
- You will more likely lose or misplace a paper-copy, and we would like for you to retain it in case a return or repair is necessary.
- If you do need to make a return, a digital copy is in a usable format. You can just email it as an attachment. No need to make a copy or scan it.
- We seek to be good stewards of the earth when we can. By eliminating this single (redundant) paper copy in each package, we can make a dent in our paper usage.
With that said, we are more than happy to include a paper copy in your box upon your request at time of purchase.
7. Why do you not post pictures of your children on your blog?
We truly value your privacy. We allow guest check-out accounts and will never sell, rent or distribute you information. Likewise, we keep our blog related to our primary focus: food production, preparation and preservation (and other subjects as related to food and household management). Furthermore, up until this point in the development of man's knowledge, there is yet to be electronic storage media sufficient enough that can hold all that cuteness.
8. I see that you do occasional interviews, product reviews, and other features on your blog. Do you have guest bloggers? How can I submit a request for an interview or review?
Please do not hesitate to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org each request will be handled individually. We also have some limited advertising spots available on our website, too. We must see those advertisements as congruent with the mission of Pantry Paratus. Guest blogs are up to the discretion of Pantry Paratus with preference given to topics that cover the production, preparation and preservation of food (i.e. agriculture, homesteading, cooking, baking, animal care, canning, etc).
9. What is that cool song that you play for the intro and outro on your podcast?
The name of the song is This is How the World Will End by Wilson's favorite band, The Elms. The song is used with permission and can be found on their Great American Midrange CD. The Elms have posted a very compelling video of the song here on youtube.
10. I want to order something from you, but I do not want to receive spam-is that possible?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: The only ways to be added to our email list and receive very infrequent news letters from us (we are anit-spam) is to actually sign up in the designated field on our website or enter a drawing to win something we happen to be giving away. We do not automatically convert (which is industry standard policy) our paying customers into advertising targets. We would rather "Wow!" you with customer service and have you return that way. If you did decide to sign up for our news letter, I would hope that we would not earn your discontent.
11. I see that you give away free Bibles, can I get 25 of them for my small group?
The free Bibles are given away at zero cost (including shipping) one per address anywhere the USPS will deliver Media mail within the 50 States or US Territories. This is at our expense. If you have a need for Bibles in quantity, please check with your local church body and see if anyone else in your church shares that burden too. We simply cannot supply bulk Bibles for the asking.
12. What blogs do you follow? What websites do you check in on for perspective?
These are a just a few of the internet resources that we rely on to stay in the know (listed alphabetically):
http://www.cheeseslave.com/ Ann Marie's blog for the love of cheese, bacon and all those other things that are supposed to be bad for you. Great blog for food science, WAP info and of course Raw Milk.
http://thedailyretort.com/ Run by our friend Tor Constantino, it is a great blog on perspective on life as a parent and as a spouse.
http://www.doomandbloom.net/ Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy post GREAT content on all kinds of things related to medical skills. Check out their great book as well.
http://www.foodrenegade.com/ Still having delusionsabout packaged, processed and unpronouncable food? Check out the official politically incorrect blog about food.
http://homesteadgeek.com/ Like gardening, farming, homesteading but you still groove on microscopes, telescopes and oscilloscopes? Homestead geek is a great blog for anyone who takes their apple pie and the scientific method seriously.
http://homesteadrevival.blogspot.com/ Real life and real homesteading, we love Amy's content and great photography.
http://kellythekitchenkop.com/ Kelly is not afraid to say what needs to be said about the politics of food and kitchen arts.
http://newlifeonahomestead.com/ Kendra takes you along with her from the start to her current progress.
http://nourishedkitchen.com/ A foodie's foodie blog--great content in the WAP method of healthy eating.
http://www.permies.com/ A great forum with great people. Two best things about this website: huckleberry pie and Paul Wheaton.
http://placesbetweenspaces.com/ Great write ups on GREAT food and neat places with some of the best photograpy I have seen on the web. Photojournalism done so well, you will feel like you were there!
http://www.polyfacefarms.com/ Joel Salatin, high priest of the Pasture - he is our personal hero.
http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/ Jill Winger takes you through the good, the bad and the truly endearing parts of homesteading.
http://preparednesspro.com/ Kellene is aptly called "Pro" for a reason, check in here for all kinds of good info and calm advice.
http://www.richsoil.com/ Paul Wheaton, Lord of the Jungle, gives you the nuts and bolts of Permaculture.
http://www.rural-revolution.com/ Economics of homesteding and families. No one, and I mean NO ONE tells it like Patrice Lewis!
http://www.southernplainsconsulting.com/ Mark Smith gives great perspective on the metrics to preparedness.
http://summertomato.com/ REAL food and REAL food science - we love Summer Tomato.
http://www.survivalblog.com/ James Wesley Rawles, what else needs to be said?
http://thesurvivalmom.com/ Keep calm, and carry on - Lisa Bedford gives great advice.
http://wild-heirs.com/ Parenting, this is a blog on how to do it without taking yourself too serisously or losing your sanity.