We talk a lot about kitchen “self-sufficiency” but I think we all know that there is no such thing, honestly, since I cannot produce and preserve 100% of my spices, produce, and meats. I want to make some clarifications as to our philosophy and what we are attempting to inspire in you. Self-sufficiency is not referring to the mountainside prepper with 12 children and concertina wire.
It is referring to breaking free:
Breaking free from dependency from prepackaged foods. These are making you sick (even if you haven’t fully realized the results yet—go off of them and you’ll see it). These are costing you money. These are hurting the environment and typically have waste and poor farming practices. I’m not saying that I’m a purist and never pick up a box of goldfish crackers when I know I’m going to be watching a house full of other people’s kids. I’m trying to be honest here. But it does mean that I don’t use those types of crutches often and I certainly do not have the dependency upon them from whence I once suffered.
Breaking free from dependency upon the just-in-time food transit system. What if the news reports tell you not to drink the water for 3 days because of contamination? What if a storm blows through and knocks out power lines so that grocery stores have to close their doors? What if the threat of a storm creates long lines, screaming children, inflated pricing, and empty shelves? What if—you had your own Berkey Water Purification System and some vacuum-sealed food in a closet? What if you had canned, cooked ground beef and some canned salsa that you could just smear onto some tortilla chips for a candelight, homemade dinner when there is no electricity or transportation?
Breaking free of “never enough.” I hope and pray that you—dear reader and virtual friend—are not one of the millions in this country with food insecurity who do not know the source of the next meal. I have been one of those millions before. Learning to buy in bulk (not easy to do if you wait for the financial crisis to occur first) means that—if nothing else, you can mill some wheat and add some water to make homemade tortillas. If nothing else, you can boil some dehydrated potato slices and fry them up in a skillet for a nourishing homemade meal. These were the meals of our poverty and you know what? We enjoyed them and we nourished our family without fear.
Breaking free of “just enough.” Just enough means you cannot think about that neighbor who lost his job 2 months ago; there is no inviting someone over for dinner because you didn’t plan for it. There is no homemade loaf of bread to share with the single mom or family coping with a new diagnosis. But…what if you have something to share? What if you can give a tangible act of love and concern to someone else in need—with surprisingly little effort—because you were prepared? We cannot give what we do not have.
Breaking free of fatigue, sickness, allergies, eczema, food-induced behavioral symptoms, and much more. No, I’m not a doctor, and no, changing your diet may not heal everything. But I got healthy by learning to prepare my own foods and I’ve spoken to hundreds of others with the same result. A good doctor should admit willingly that food is medicine—and if our national statistics on heart disease, diabetes, and obesity do not win your physician over to your renewed interest in real foods, then find a new doctor.
Break free from ignorance. We all pick and choose which life areas we will pursue, which to ignore. I don’t expect everyone to feel as passionately as I do about food science or about food ethics (like my rage against the 200,000 children forced into slavery for cacao production, for instance). But how can you even begin without the basic “grammar” of the discussion? How can you decide what is important without evaluation? It’s downright frightening how many people blindly accept what they’re fed, with the notion that “the FDA approved it; it must be okay.” Agent Orange was once approved; cigarette use during pregnancy was once encouraged, you know. Let everyone else make their own choices, but you make yours with deliberate decision.
Break free from lack of options. I guarantee—if you decide to begin kitchen skill-building (i.e., try cheese making, maple sugaring, or canning), you will feel free to create and redefine your own recipes in your own kitchen. You will know how to make that casserole without store-bought, high-sodium stock. You will know how to make your own pickles without the standard food coloring added for shelf appearance. You will make the decisions, not Nabisco, Kraft, or General Mills.
Own Your Kitchen.
I hope that you now understand what we mean when we use the term “self-sufficiency” at Pantry Paratus. We think that freedom should not stop at the threshold of your kitchen. Many of you have already learned the freedom that comes with debt-free living, or limited media, or –pick one—any other cultural pitfall. Somewhere in the depths of all of us is that desire to be free from addiction, dependency, and a choice-less-ness in society. If you have never made the logical leap to the practical application on your dinner table, now is the time.
Nothing in this blog constitutes medical or legal advice. You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes. Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.