"Practical Pantry Y2K Got You Bugged? (Portland, Oregonian --Long Post)"

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"Practical Pantry Y2K Got You Bugged? (Portland, Oregonian --Long Post)"

Interesting to see a major city newspaper take such time and effort to spell out Y2K and emergency preparedness suggestions. This, in a city where the city government isnt talking much yet about Y2K, but city employees are encouraged to prepare, behind-the-scenes. Also the FEMA NET & CERT neighborhood training classes are quite well attended.

I'd love to see more city and town papers starting to publish guides like this!

(Someone on another thread made a quick reference to this appearing in todays Oregonian newspaper). -- Diane

Practical Pantry Y2K got you bugged?


Here's a handy guide to storing food for an emergency or for peace of mind as we approach the millenium

By Siobhan Loughran
Of The Oregonian staff

A good Scout's motto is "Be Prepared," and if you're smart you should be prepared for any of life's little inconveniences. You know what they are: power outages, snowstorms, floods, earthquakes. These days, some people are adding to that list any of the disruptions that may result from the millennium bug.

Fears that computers won't be able to handle dates once the century turns over from '99 to '00 are fueling a new sort of jitteriness. At a recent Y2K (shorthand for the year 2000) preparedness seminar at the Mariott Hotel in downtown Portland, more than 500 people listened in revival-like fervor to speakers exhorting them to prepare for what they see as the coming chaos. The speakers' idea of preparation was to encourage people to shell out large amounts of money for enough freeze-dried food to last months or even years.

One speaker, between biblical passages, even touched on stockpiling alcohol and toilet paper as primary barter items in the future turmoil.

Not everybody sees the turn of the century as the turnover of civilization. Nevertheless, having a well-stocked pantry is useful for any kind of emergency.

"I think it makes a lot of sense to store food and water for whatever kind of natural disaster is likely," says Val Hillers, a Washington State University Cooperative Extension food specialist. Hillers points out that most of us have experienced some kind of disruption in the past 20 years -- from floods to power outages to ice storms -- so we should have some idea about how to proceed.

Ken and Linda Cooper of Molalla have given a great deal of thought to preparing for an emergency. Their supplies even include vacuum-sealed bags of their 2-year-old daughter's favorite candies.

They believe the launch into the millennium could be a bit bumpy, so they're taking food storage seriously. They're using buckets, lined with plastic food-grade liners, to store dried pancake mixes, dried bean soup mixes and other dried food products that can be reconstituted and cooked. They've also invested in a canner and vacuum-seal system that let's them store dry foods in plastic bags.

Ken Cooper, who works full time as an auto body technician, is also pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Molalla. Linda Cooper is a nurse at Silverton Hospital. Four of their children are college age, and Carrie Rose is their only child at home.

Some of the Coopers' concerns that people in their community may not be prepared for any kind of disaster comes from personal experience. In 1996, flooding contaminated their community's entire water supply. The Coopers had a well, but it was useless without electricity to run the pump.

That time, the National Guard delivered bottled water to the community. But the Coopers worry that Y2K computer glitches will affect everyone at the same time. Then, they say, it's YOYO: You're On Your Own.

"The more we can prepare and help encourage our neighbors to prepare, the better off we'll all be," Linda Cooper says.

At monthly workshops, they've been teaching 40 to 50 attendees how to safely store food. The tidy kitchen in the church basement bustles as families dry-pack bean soup mixes, flour and other items.

Besides putting aside supplies for themselves, the Coopers are buying basic stores of grain and beans and other food items, in case the church needs to help others. Ken Cooper talks of setting up elk camps with local hunters to help feed others if things get really tough.

Jodean Kimball of Sutherlin also believes in being prepared. The retired 67-year-old has traveled the world for fun and doesn't scare easily. But, she admits, "I do feel some concerns about Y2K."

She decided the best way to address her concerns is to put by an emergency food supply. So far, that's meant putting away her favorite canned foods when she finds them on sale. She's giving thought to water storage, and just this month she ordered a year's supply of meals ready-to-eat, or MREs, from a company in Utah.

Kimball paid $1,495 plus $137 shipping and handling for a one-year supply for one adult. She made up her mind to order early when salespeople at the company, J. Michael Stevens Group of Utah, told her the price would be $150 higher the next day.

Kimball will use the food to round out her supplies and to share with her three children and four grandchildren if they come to stay with her during an emergency. And she thinks the food packages won't go to waste; she's been told they will store safely without any loss of quality for 15 years.

Debbie and Brian McDowell of Southwest Portland recently ordered enough freeze-dried food to feed five adults for a year. They believe it's a good idea to be prepared for emergencies. Since they are Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, prepardeness is part of their religious guidelines.

The McDowells ordered their food from Perma Pak, the Utah-based company that presented the recent Y2K seminar in the Marriott. Debbie McDowell, who attended the seminar, has always practiced food storage. She's a whiz at canning fresh produce and meat. But in the past year she's slacked off a little in her kitchen activity.

That's because she and her husband are newlyweds with other preoccupations -- like blending the nine children they have between them into a new family. "We decided to purchase the food package for our own peace of mind," she explains. She did not like the scary Y2K scenarios the Perma Pak people conjured up because she felt they were preying on the fear of some attendees. But she's convinced the quality of the Perma Pak food is excellent and she does think there will be some inevitable glitches when 2000 rolls around.

"I've been told since I was a little girl that you need to have supplies on hand," she says.

The McDowells' peace of mind didn't come cheap: A food plan for five came to $8,475. (The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the cost of feeding a family of four for a week from $125.90 to $188.90.) But they say that spending the money from their savings was a good idea.

In stocking up on emergency rations, one thing nearly everyone recommends is setting by a supply of food you know you and your family will eat. A natural disaster or emergency is not time to start introducing your family to the wonder of wheat berries. If your kids can't go for three days without their favorite macaroni and cheese, be sure to set a few boxes aside.

It pays to remember that food you store has to be prepared. That means you'll need to think about reconstituting dry milk. Or soaking and cooking dry beans.

Vickie Tate of Manti, Utah, learned self-sufficiency and food storage growing up on her family's ranch. After she married, she continued her practices and was soon helping neighbors with their food storage questions. She's a guest speaker at preparedness seminars, has written for "Backwoods Home Magazine" and self-published Cookin' With Home Storage.

Tate suggests including spices you like to cook with when storing food and to tuck in recipes. It's also a good idea to pack away oil, shortening, baking powder and bottled multivitamins, plus "psychological goodies." That's where the macaroni and cheese or pudding and your favorite candy can come in very handy.

OK, you've put some food aside for emergencies, whatever they may be. Still, just because you've got all kinds of supplies socked away doesn't mean they're good forever.

You need to store what you eat and eat what you store, food storage experts say.

Remember to inspect your supplies routinely and rotate them. Rotating does not mean turning boxes and cans over: It means using them. And don't forget the manual can opener.

Hillers says it's a good idea to keep an inventory of what you have on hand and to eat up the food supply every six months.

Proper storage is important. Put bulk dried foods in airtight glass, metal or rigid plastic containers, because insects and rodents can eat their way through paper, cardboard, plastic or cellophane packaging.

As for water, figure on 2 gallons of water per person per day for hygiene, food preparation and drinking. Think about stocking up on paper plates and disposable utensils to save water during cleanup.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency points out that you probably already have spare water in the house -- stored in the water heater tank (drain it from the bottom with the power off) and in the pipes.

Before you store water, be sure to sanitize it with liquid chlorine bleach (see accompanying story).

Store water in a cool dark place. If you store your own, use clean food-grade plastic containers, treated first with four drops of chlorine bleach per quart of water.

If the power goes out, you might need to think about how you'll cook. A charcoal grill or camp stove will work, but use them outdoors only. Open flames generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

If the power goes out, be sensible. Use your most perishable foods first. That means eating what's in the refrigerator, then in the freezer. Keep your freezer door closed until you absolutely have to open it. That will keep the food inside cold and fresh longer. And remember to unplug appliances in case there's a damaging surge when the power comes back on.

Anyone spending time on the Web or listening to radio talk shows knows there are plenty of merchants of doom encouraging people to go to extremes in preparing for the turn of the century. But just because we're on the cusp of the millennium doesn't mean the sky is falling.

Still, the focus on planning does serve to remind us that natural disasters and power outages are an inconvenience many of us have experienced. It never hurts to be prepared.

You can reach Siobhan Loughran at 503-221-8515 or by e-mail at siobhanloughran@news.oregonian.com.

Related Information:

Food Shelf Life


Food Shelf Life

Just because you've got all the right foods stocked up doesn't mean you can walk away from them and forget them. Storing food items longer than the recommended time does not make them unsafe, but some quality will be lost.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers guidelines on shelf life. Here's a sampling:

Use within six months:

 Powdered milk

 Dried fruit (in metal containers)

 Crackers (in metal containers)


Use within one year:

 Canned meats, fish and soups

 Canned fruits, fruit juices and vegetables

 Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals (in metal containers)

 Peanut butter

 Jam and jelly

 Hard candy, chocolate bars and canned nuts

May be stored longer (in proper containers and where it's dark, dry and cool) :

 Whole-grain wheat

 Vegetable oil

 Dried whole-kernel corn

 Baking powder


 Instant coffee, tea and cocoa


 Noncarbonated soft drinks


 Bouillon products

 Dry pasta

 Powdered milk (in nitrogen-packed cans)

You can add popcorn and different types of beans to these basic items. They're nutritious and store well. And if you have pets, you'll need to store food for them, too.

If you need to break out these emergency supplies, use them in combination with one another to stay healthy.

If you store grain and wheat, you'll need to get a hand-cranked grain mill to grind it into flour. And, remember, you'll have to cook the dry beans. Grinding grains and boiling beans will eliminate nasty digestive problems that could make for some very cranky campers.

Friday February 12, 1999

Other Food Options


Other Food Options

By Siobhan Loughran

So, you don't want to stock up on canned foods because you have haul it home from the grocery store and remember to rotate, or it will take up too much space. There are a few options, although they're more expensive.

The basic choice is MREs, Meals Ready to Eat. Think of C-rations '90s style. The freeze-dried food takes up less space, is lightweight and easy to prepare. Just add hot or cold water, let sit for about 10 minutes, and they're ready.

The shelf life is also an advantage: They last for years without a change in quality. And the quality is pretty good. Backpackers have been using them for years. And now there are even some vegetarian entrees.

 Mountain House: Oregon Freeze Dry, P.O. Box 1048, Albany, Ore. 97321; 1-541-9926-6001.
Mountain House is one of the major suppliers to camping stores like REI. These folks have been in the business for about 25 years. Entrees range from Mexican-style Chicken With Rice to Beef Teriyaki, Wild Rice & Mushroom Pilaf and even a Seafood Chowder. You can order single servings, two- or four-person entrees. Suggested retail prices vary from $4.35 for single entrees to $10.25 for four-serving entrees.

 Sgt. Gator's Post Exchange, 19855 S.E. Sunnyside Road, Damascus; 658-4903.
At Sgt. Gator's, manager Don Wicklund sells MREs for $5.99 per meal or $69 for a case of 12. That's cheap compared to some other retailers. The water-activated heat sleeves used to warm up each meal are $5 per dozen. Prices are on the lower end, but stock is somewhat limited.

 American Family Network, 6750 S.W. 111th Ave., Beaverton; 672-7502.
A much larger supply and variety of MREs are available through mail-order outfits or locally through the American Family Network. Robert Shangle, founder and president, has a Beaverton warehouse stocked with MREs; books on survival, food preparation and storage; grain grinders; portable stoves; storage supplies; generators; first-aid kits and more. He can supply customers with an extensive catalog that costs $20, but that fee is then rolled into the cost of purchases. Among his products are MREs from MilSpec, a leading maker. A case contains 12 meals for $95.40; 50 or more cases are $69.50, plus shipping and handling.

 The Country Store, 11013 N.E. 39th St., Suite A; Vancouver, Wash.; 1-360-256-9131.
The store offers all kinds of storage gear, kits, books and supplies; and there is a catalog. Country Store is closed Mondays, but you can call for helpful directions to the store and for catalog ordering options.

 Perma Pak, 3999 South Main, Suite S-2, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107; 1-877-634-1079.
Perma Pak sells food kits containing vacuum-sealed grains and cereals, vegetables, dairy and poultry items and more. The shelf life is 10 to 12 years on most items, six to nine years on dairy products. The meals are planned around 2,000 calories per day; prices range from $1,795 for a one-year adult package to $5,085 for a three-person package. (Shipping and handling on the one-person package is $200 and $600 for the three-person package.)

American Family Network in Beaverton offers similar meal plans with similar prices.

Other Basics


Other Basics

By Siobhan Loughran

You've got a basic list of what to put aside for food, but what about lighting, cooking, sanitation and water? Here's a rundown of some information available from the Oregon Trail Chapter, American Red Cross. The Red Cross promotes storing enough supplies for at least 72 hours.


 Water: * gallon drinking water per person per day plus same amount for hygiene and cooking

 First-aid kit

 Food (packaged, canned, no-cook, baby food, and items for special diets); see accompanying list from the North Dakota University Extension Service

 Can opener (manual, not electric)

 Essential medications and eyeglasses

 Food and water for pets

 Portable radio and spare batteries

 Flashlights and spare batteries


 Large plastic trash bags for trash and waste, and to protect water supply

 Large trash can

 Bar soap and liquid detergent



 Feminine and infant supplies

 Toilet paper

 Household liquid bleach to purify water

 Eyedropper to measure bleach

 Newspaper to wrap garbage and waste

 Pre-moistened towelettes


 Barbecue and/or camp stove (use charcoal grills outside only)

 Fuel for cooking

 Pots and heavy-duty aluminum foil

 Paper plates and cups

 Plastic spoons, knives and forks

 Paper towels

 Cooking utensils

What You Need


What You Need

This list of basic emergency supplies comes from North Dakota State University Extension Service, which deals with many blizzard emergencies. The extension advises keeping enough on hand for seven days; its recommendations are based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid:

 Vegetables: 3-5 servings per person per day: canned vegetables, canned vegetable juice.

 Fruit: 2-4 servings per person per day: canned fruit, canned juice, dried fruit.

 Bread, cereal, rice and pasta: 6-11 servings per person per day: ready-to-eat cereal, instant hot cereal, instant rice, crackers, canned spaghetti, canned soup containing noodles or rice.

 Milk: 2-3 cups (reconstituted) per person per day: evaporated canned milk, dry milk.

 Other protein sources: 2-3 servings per person per day of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts; canned meat, poultry and fish; canned meat mixtures; canned or dried beans; dried meat (beef jerky); peanut butter; nuts; canned soup containing meat or beans.

 Fats, oils and sweets: according to your family's preferences.

 Other supplies: prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, baby formula, baby food, coffee, tea, cocoa, powdered beverages, soft drinks.

Finding Answers


Finding Answers

If you need help planning your pantry, several organizations have information on the do's and don'ts of emergency preparedness.

 American Red Cross, Oregon Trail Chapter: 3131 N. Vancouver Ave.; 284-0011, Ext. 194.
The agency recommends keeping enough emergency supplies on hand for at least 72 hours. At the end of its recorded telephone message, you can request a 16-page brochure that includes checklists for a first-aid kit, emergency supplies (sanitation, cooking, tools and storage). There are also safety recommendations for natural disasters and tips for coping with disasters. The agency's Web site is http://www.redcross.org.

 Oregon State University Extension Service: Check with your county extension office for information on resources for Y2K and other emergencies. Reference fliers can be purchased for a small fee. Extension experts can answer your questions about food storage.

Clackamas County Office, 200 Warner-Milne Road, Oregon City, 655-8631; Multnomah County, 211 S.E. 80th Ave., 725-2000; Washington County, 18640 N.W. Walker Road, Suite 1400, Beaverton, 725-2300.

 Oregon: Information about Oregon's Y2K readiness can be found at http://y2k.das.state.or.us/home.htm.

 Washington State University Cooperative Extension: Cowlitz County Office, 207 Fourth Ave. North, Kelso, Wash., 1-360-577-3014; or check the food safety resources site on the Web at http://foodsafety.wsu.edu.

 Washington State Department of Emergency Management:
The agency recommends preparation for 72 hours without basic services; it offers a publication, "Family Emergency Preparedness Plan." Call 1-360-902-2973 for information. On the Web, follow the links from http://www.wa.gov/mil/wsem. Also check out The Washington State Year 2000 Program Web site, http://www.wa.gov/dis/2000.

 Federal Emergency Management Agency Family Protection Program: P.O. Box 70274, Washington, D.C.; its Y2K Web site is http://www.fema.gov/y2k/; or call the toll-free Y2K hotline, 1-888-872-4925. FEMA does not have a recommendation for storing food and water specific to Y2K, but it suggests storing a two-week supply of food and water as part of any emergency preparedness.

Take a Class


Take a Class

By Siobhan Loughran

Bob's Red Mill is offering a Y2K Planning Class from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20. Erica Calkins will talk about resources and foods for the next millennium. Calkins, author of "Hatchet, Hands & Hoe; Planting the Pioneer Spirit," often teaches cooking classes at Bob's Red Mill, 5209 S.E. International Way, Milwaukie.

Seminar participants will receive a how-to packet with information on Internet resources, food and water storage, a 72-hour emergency car kit list, a list of suppliers and resources, recipes and more.

The class costs $15. To register, call 654-3215.

Bob's Red Mill will accept wholesale orders of 500 pounds or more of grains, soup mixes and other items on the day of the class and every Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), February 16, 1999


Thanks for posting this, Diane :) :)
Ashton & I have gone on a couple more field trips to Bob's Red Mill since we went with you. Absolutely perfect place. Got lotsa bags of sproutable grains/seeds/nuts/legumes etc. No cooking, no heat, no smoke, no odors, yes chock-full of live enzymes & life-giving goodies. Then went & canned at Mormon cannery.

The Mill workers say their Y2K classes are so full they don't know where they're going to seat all the ppl. High interest.

Like the articles in today's paper. Layout very pleasing. The Mill is near the resting point of the famous pioneering Oregon trail. They have ponds, steams, bridges, & ducks & geese on their campus. Still a rugged individualist spirit in the beautiful sloshy Pacific NorthWest :)

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, relieved practical preparation guides are starting to come out into more public view

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), February 17, 1999.

Thanks for going to all that trouble, Diane. It's good to see a sensibly-written, informative and comprehensive Y2K article--this one is perfect to hard copy and give to those who don't yet get it.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), February 17, 1999.

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