Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mormon for Dummies-food storage edition

If you'll look back to this post and the accompanying comments, you'll see that in another lifetime (i.e., before the birth of Her Highness), I agreed to post a little briefing on the Mormon faith and food storage at some point. This is that point.

I'll start with a little disclaimer. These are my thoughts, opinions, and experiences with food storage as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A more official explanation can be found by going to, and clicking on the "Family Home Storage" link on the left hand of the page.

So, with that, here we go!

Section 1: Food Storage

WHO: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and anyone else who feels moved, compelled, or so encouraged.

WHAT: Obtain and maintain a supply of food-generally enough to satisfy the family's needs for anywhere from three to twelve months. When I was younger, the directive was a year's supply of food. I remember being exhorted in church meetings and other places to make sure that our family had our "year's supply". I also remember us having a family evening one night completely devoted to getting an inventory of our food storage, determining whether we had our year's supply or not. Now, the directive has changed somewhat. We are counseled to have a three month's supply of food, a supply of clean drinking water, a financial reserve (i.e.-savings), and once those have been met, a longer term supply of food.

WHERE: Anywhere. Many homes belonging to LDS people are built so that there is a storage room somewhere in the basement, specifically for food storage. When my parents bought the home I grew up in, there was such a room, right next to my bedroom, actually. We called it "the fruit room". It was un-carpeted, unheated, and consisted primarily of shelving lining the walls, and a big 50-gallon drum (full of wheat) in the center. In addition to this, my mother had a pantry, where she kept the goods that we used more frequently. In my home, I've tried to do something similar. Between Eric's man room (which has now been converted to my "work-from-home-area" incidentally), Heather's baby room, and our bedroom, we don't have an extra room that we can dedicate to storing our food. So, we store it in our crawl space. Here are some pictures of that space that I took this morning.

Notice all the boxes in the background. Each of those brown boxes theoretically contains 1/2 of a one-month supply of food for one person.

Here, I'll show you what a one-month supply of food breaks out to in terms of actual food:

Wheat, Oats, Macaroni, & Flour combined with . . .

Rice, Beans, Sugar, Milk, Shortening, and Salt.

Then, like my mother before me, we also store more of our day-to-day needs in our pantry. I took pictures of that as well, although I'm somewhat embarrassed for you all to see how disorganized my pantry is at the moment.

This is my favorite thing about the pantry. I have all the shelves labeled. This shelf, for example, is where all the protein items (dry beans, peanut butter, etc.) go. Let's just see what is considered as protein in the Cantwell family, shall we?

Oh yeah! Animal Crackers and Fruit Juice? Does it get more protein-rich than that?

Okay--enough of the show-and-tell and silliness, back to our briefing:

WHEN: Now. Members of the Church who have not yet established their food supply are counseled to start the process immediately. However, members are also counseled to be prudent about getting the supply, and to do it gradually, as their means allow. Running up a credit card debt to obtain a year supply all at one time for example, would be frowned upon for obvious reasons.

WHY: Now we get into my opinions. I think there are several reasons why having a supply of food is a good idea. Here are some of them:

1. Peace of Mind: I feel more calm knowing that if a reversal should hit us (whether it be a natural disaster such as an earthquake or something a little more common, such as an unexpected job loss) that we have a cushion of food and savings between our family and starvation.

2. Ability to Help Others: When my own house is in order, so to speak, I am more in a position to share with those who find themselves in trouble.

3. Home Economy: Having a food supply means that I rarely pay full price for non-perishable goods. I stock up when things are on sale, and so when I need the food, it is there. When I see that I'm running low on tomato sauce for example, I watch for the next sale and purchase a bunch. Knowing what I have helps me be more efficient and prudent in my meal planning as well.

And finally, we have the big final question:

HOW???: One step at a time my friend, one step at a time. It can be daunting to think about amassing a food supply all at one time. Fortunately, we don't have to. I started my food supply by purchasing 1-2 extra cans of beans, tomato sauce, or chicken soup each time I went to the grocery store.

And there you have it--Food Storage for Dummies, by Charlotte.

In other news, Heather has been sleeping better, and not coincidentally, I've been in a better mood lately. That's been nice. To add to the fun, Eric has arranged to have his parents watch the little princess this Saturday, so we are going on an actual date--our first during Heather's lifetime. I can hardly stand to wait. What will we do? See a movie? Eat at a restaurant? Take a walk in the canyon? (Probably not-it's supposed to snow) Who knows? The sky is the limit!

One thing I do know for sure.

There will be kissing involved.



NOTE: I welcome any requests for "Mormon for Dummies" editions in the future. Like most people of faith, I love to talk/write about my beliefs.


layjent said...

Great post. I'm glad to hear that both you and Heather are sleeping more now!

Jodi said...

For some reason this has been on my mind today. I was searching through the Sugar and Spice ladies posts to find something to get me started and this is just the thing. I have almost too much information and this is just the basic guide I need.

Glad to hear the princess in sleeping. What a hot commodity sleep becomes during this time in their life and yours.

darla said...

How do you feel about having it in the crawl space? Do you fear any varmits down there?! It is dirt under that plastic, right? Do you feel like any of the food or water is absorbing any earth smells? Now...GOOD FOR YOU! I'm not so surprised that the accountant can save us. You'll just "count out the beans!"

Charlotte said...


I don't worry too much about varmints so far. It's mostly rocks and dirt under the plastic, but I've never seen any evidence of so much as a mosquity there so far, so I feel pretty good about it. As for the earth smells, that definitely could be happening, especially with the water (I should probably check that). The food is all in cans or heavy-duty plastic containers, so I don't think many smells can penetrate to the food.

Jodi-sleep IS SURELY a precious precious commodity these days! I used to think that I loved to eat, but now I know that almost nothing compares to how much I love to sleep.

Laura said...

Do you know how helpful that was?
It totally makes the quote about keeping your house in order...yours? I love love love it.
I did not get it I do.
I need a pantry.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see a canister of Pero in your pantry. Jacob mocks me for drinnking it but it's nice to know a fellow Corry enjoys a nice hot cup of Pero as well. (although I add lots of milk and sugar so I don't know if you could call me a purist)

Charlotte said...

Laura-I'm SO glad it was helpful. As to the "setting in order my own house", I wish I had come up with it on my own. It's actually stated in one of our books of scripture (Doctrine & Covenants), and is quoted and applied fairly frequently by the prophets and apostles. You can see the reference at this site:

Melissa-I'm sorry to dissapoint you, but I do NOT like drinking Pero. I keep a can for those times that I want to make Coffee-free Tiramisu. If you want the recipe, let me know. It's actually not too bad, as long as you use egg beaters (it uses eggs, and they are never cooked).

Jake said...

Thank you Charlotte. The mocking will continue.

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