For better or for worse, our lives are full of stress. The weather, our jobs, the economy, financial woes, and poor health can all contribute to stress. In addition, for most of us, the biggest stress is simply that there are not enough hours in the day. Add prepping and learning new skills to the mix and life can get dicey.
Whatever the reason, many of us are under a relentless cloud of stress that never lets up. We find ourselves enveloped by an undercurrent of tension that exists as we go about our day, even during normal times. I can only imagine what stress will be like following a disruptive event such as a disaster or collapse of some sort.
I am here to tell you that comfort foods can be a great stress-reliever, expanded waistlines notwithstanding. For better or for worse, comfort food can, for a short period at least, bring back nostalgic memories of better times. For lack of any other reason, that alone, dictates that comfort foods belong in the survival pantry.
Comfort Food to the Rescue
Before we jump into 20 comfort foods for the survival pantry, let me give you some personal background: I have a reputation for being a food snob. I prefer natural foods, preferably fresh and organic and simply prepared without excess adornment. Even so, I recognize the value of comfort food when life is not going according to plan.
What do I mean by comfort foods?
As I stated above, these are foods that take us back to a time when we were carefree and stress-free. For many this was childhood and before the big “R” (Responsibility) became a part of lives. It should come as no surprise, then, that many comfort foods are soft, smooth, soothing foods that go down easy and make you feel happy.
The bottom line is that coping after a disruptive event is going to be difficult. We may be confined to our homes and unable to get to the store to purchase fresh food. Even if we did, the shelves are likely to be bare. Over an extended period, we may have to settle for a diet of rice, beans, oatmeal and other bulk foods that are supplemented by whatever we have growing in our gardens.
If that happens, comfort foods are going to be necessary not only to add variety to our daily fare, but also to mitigate food fatigue and boredom, and to serve as a stress reliever. Although comfort foods transcend our quest for proper nutrition; it becomes “mental health” food, and I make no apologies for that.
What Are Some Common Comfort Foods?
I am so glad you asked.
Here are 20 of the comfort foods in my own survival pantry. Note that this list includes many items that are suitable for short term storage and, although with proper packaging and storage conditions, may be viable for a lot longer than that. I am purposely not including specialty freeze-dried foods (brownie mixes, ice cream bars, and the like) but of course, they too would be a welcome addition to the food storage pantry.
1. Popcorn to prepare the old fashioned way in old pot sitting on top of the burner or the campfire
2. M & Ms or what I like to call, “Survival Tranquilizers”
3. Hard Candies such as butterscotch drops or Lifesavers
4. Chocolate Pudding Mix
5. Dark Chocolate Bars
6. Granola Bars
7. Kraft Mac & Cheese
8. Hot Cocoa Mix
9. Coffee, or in my case, French Roast Beans
10. Raisins, Craisins, Trail Mix and Other Dried Fruits and Nuts
11. Biscuit Mix to enjoy with jam and honey
12. Hostess Cupcakes – don’t laugh; they never go bad
13. Mashed Potatoes made from Instant Potato Pearls
14. Peanut Butter
15. Spaghetti and Pasta Sauce
16. Chicken Noodle Soup
17. Campbell’s Tomato Soup
18. Canned Chili and Baked Beans
19. Oreo Cookies
20. Organic, Unprocessed Honey – so good, you can eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar!
The Final Word
Food rotation is especially important with your comfort foods since most are not easily packaged for long term storage. Once exception is popcorn which stores extremely well.
Now for some homework. This is my list. What about you? What items additional items would you include as comfort foods in your own food storage pantry?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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I frequently emphasize the importance of “Comfort” when it comes to survival. Whereas being truly comfortable during and following a disruptive event is an oxymoron, there are items that I feel will contribute to our comfort, for better or for worse.
Let’s start with something we can use to brew coffee and move on from there, ending with some games to keep our minds occupied.
Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator: I own this manual coffee grinder but have not used it yet although the reviews are good: Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill. Note that whole beans store well when sealed in a Mason Jar (see How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning).
Lodge Logic Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Drop Biscuit Pan: Biscuits with jam is one of my favorite comfort foods. This is the pan I purchased for biscuit making and to me, it was worth the cost. If you don’t mind seasoning your own (it’s easy), you can save some money with this one Texsport.
Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Having adequate light when the grid is down is another key to comfort. Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price.
Coleman Mini Lantern: You already know that I have a think about flashlights but this is a slightly different take on portable lighting. It is 7.5 inches tall lantern and weighs just seven ounces, including batteries. And boy does it give off light.
Mr. Heater Portable “Big Buddy” Heater: Off course you are going to need a heat source. With Mr. Buddy heater, you can use propane indoors safely. It features an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system that automatically turns the unit off before carbon monoxide fumes reach dangerous levels in the home. To learn more about propane, read the series Propane for Preppers.
Ticket To Ride: This my favorite board game, bare none. Family friendly, you will spend hours in front of the fireplace playing Ticket to Ride with your favorite people. This is worth the splurge.
Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards: This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out. Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness kit.
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