You won’t know until you know. You will experience it, but by then it will be far too late to do anything about it.
Dear hubby was called out of town unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. I was left home unattended so I devised a food/foodless experiment with interesting results of which I will discuss here.
Hubby and I live on a working homestead far from the madding crowd. Our town for grocery shopping is 35 miles away, so we grow and harvest mostly what we eat, preserving vegetables in jars and freezer for winter. Everything you would expect from a working hobby farm. When hubby was called out of town unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago, it gave me the opportunity to see if I could live on what was already in the house. We’re not preppers as you might think, we just live a more sustainable lifestyle. Kind of like what our Grandparents would have been happy with. Generally, we drive to town once or twice a month for food and bill paying. We do have a tiny Mom and Pop grocery/beauty salon/with gas pumps, 4 miles up the road for bread, milk, gas and such. (and chocolate)
Two weeks without the grocery store
The first few days were as usual, but by the fifth and sixth day I began to run out of the “good” stuff. My favorites went first, of course. No bread and the fresh fruit, peanut butter as well as milk and butter were used up. Lucky I had a few cans of evaporated milk in the cupboard but the apple trees won’t be producing fresh ripe apples until fall.
I had tons of oatmeal (did you know that cooked oatmeal with home made canned apple sauce mixed in it is a wonderful breakfast?)and rice, but by the beginning of week two the coffee ran out. Now, that was disastrous! We were pretty well stocked up on pet and live stock food, so I didn’t worry about that so much.
As the days progressed I cleaned out most of the gardens salad fixings and lived on those but my favorite salad dressing is now gone as well. Mind you, this is June in the U.P. of Michigan, short of a few wild greens in the woods and my lettuce, not much else from the garden is ready yet.
Supper had been a hamburg patty and canned green beans for a couple of nights, without butter, and rice and red beans. I have flour to make bread but it takes the two of us to run our farmstead, and I’m running solo. Doing all the work alone left me no time to make the essentials.
Here’s what I know for sure
When the trucks stop or the EBT cards no longer work, people are going to get pretty nasty. Short of the actual hunger, we are going to go through some disastrous physical withdrawal symptoms. I’m talking about just food here. Drugs, cigarettes and booze etc. are another subject. I’m talking about simply what we are used to withdrawals. Lack of junk food and processed carbs being the worst offenders.
There is a real condition called “appetite fatigue.” Just when you need to eat, appetite fatigue from eating the same bland crap day after day, sets in. You know, the stuff that barely keeps you alive. It tends to be seen in small children first. (See Appetite Fatigue and Bad Behavior, page 51–How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out) Small children and the elderly will often times reject unfamiliar foods, making the situation even worse.
In the book “Guests of the Emperor,” during WWII the Japanese held a group of women POWs in a rustic camp in the middle of a jungle. These women were given a daily ration of cooked white rice with brown specks of something in it, for their only meal of the day. After several weeks, many of the women began developing painful hemorrhoids with severe constipation. The fear of pain and continued constipation, the affected women refused to eat. Most of the women in the story were of the wealthier class on vacation when Japanese soldiers captured them and threw them into interment camps, thus holding them as hostages against enemy forces. The Japanese prison guards moved the women several times to different camps, making them walk for days at a time. The guards just couldn’t understand why the women were tired and would collapse on the trail. The guards shot a few of the weak, tired women because they thought the women were faking it. This story was told by one of the survivors of the Japanese POW interment camp.
By the end of the seventh day of my little non-life threatening experiment, I wanted chocolate in the worst way. I’m not sure if it was depression from being alone, or excessive tiredness or lack of carbs that set that into motion. All I know is that I would have given my left hind leg for a chunk of chocolate at that moment.
I can say with authority that an economic collapse or change is definitely coming and this little experiment was such a wake up call for me out here in the boonies. I can’t imagine what kind of hell the cities will go through when it happens. And I had electricity during this experiment, imagine if it were gone too!
Just for Shits and Giggles
How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out–this website
Cookin’ with Home Storage–by Vicki Tate
Country Wisdom & Know-How, everything you need to know to live off the land.– From the editors of Storey Books
How to Dry Foods– Deanna Delong
Ball Blue Book-A guide to Home Canning, Freezing and Drying– This is my bible of home food storage and preparation
Root Cellaring, Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables– by Mike and Nancy Bubel