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“No one is going Donner Party …”

Speaking of “To Serve Man” …

Americanmercenary and his family test their food preparations using Augason Farms survival packs and the regular contents of their pantry. So far not bad.

Augason Farms is the company that’s helped turn my local Walmart into a prepper haven. They definitely make a good quality product that’s still selling strongly here two years after I discovered it disappearing healthily from Mr. Walton’s shelves. (Walmart, however, still seems unable to decide whether #10 cans of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods belong in the grocery section, the outdoor area, or someplace else altogether. It’s a hunt every time.)

(H/T jb)


  1. water lily
    water lily February 7, 2014 6:35 am

    Ooh, they have gluten-free products. I’m off to shop. Thanks.

  2. Joel
    Joel February 7, 2014 6:39 am

    If you have a “survival plan” that you don’t rehearse, it isn’t a “plan” it is a “hope for the best.”

    That’s a good essay. I wish more people would think to use their storage food for a period and find out what needs to be added/removed/revised. It can uncover surprises.

    I, for example, possess enough pinto beans to sandbag a bunker but have you ever tried to cook those at high altitude? Better have a good pressure cooker…

  3. Curt S
    Curt S February 7, 2014 11:37 am


    I don’t know your altitude but I used to live in Colorado….a little more than a mile high. If you soak your beans overnight then place them in a crock pot in the morning, by supper time they come out fine. I usually make enough to last me for about 4 days. Just make sure that you keep the beans covered while in the crock pot. I add flavor by adding molasses to them when I put them in…how much? That’s up to you.

  4. Curt S
    Curt S February 7, 2014 11:38 am

    Oops… being covered I mean with water, as well as having the crock pot cover on.

  5. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty February 7, 2014 2:11 pm

    I don’t have one speck of high priced, commercial canned or prepared “survival food” in my pantry (storage), but I think I can manage. I know how to dry, preserve things and store them. I even can grow some of it. This commercial stuff is wonderful for those who need it, but it isn’t necessary for anyone who will invest some time and effort into finding out how to make their own.

  6. LarryA
    LarryA February 7, 2014 2:50 pm

    I trust AmericanMercenary accounted for the water used to rehydrate. The last time we had major SHTF (tornados) there was nothing coming out of our faucets for 10 days. After that we had to be careful not to use too much water, as the sewer system was down for another half week.

    Unfortunately we were in the midst of potty training for our youngest. We’ve blamed that for everything she’s done since. πŸ˜‰

  7. jed
    jed February 7, 2014 3:27 pm

    @ML: and, taking it further, those who don’t know how to do those things will be in bad shape when their supply of Mountain House etc. runs out. Sadly, I have to count myself in that boat, to a large extent.

  8. jed
    jed February 7, 2014 4:03 pm

    I trust AmericanMercenary accounted for the water used to rehydrate. I think the intent was just to try out the food itself. But if you’re going to go all out, do it without grid power too.

  9. AM
    AM February 7, 2014 7:14 pm

    At my current location, water isn’t an issue. So for this rehearsal we aren’t worrying about water. Obviously it takes time and effort to sterilize water, but I also have to work full time and my wife has two children under 5 with her all day. If it was going to be the “end of the world as we know it” rehearsal I’d have to stop showing up for work.

    However we did cover our water estimates in the January. We decided that we needed to add disposable paper plates, cups, and flatware to our survival stocks because simply not doing the dishes will save water, preserving it for cooking and drinking.

  10. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty February 8, 2014 6:25 am

    You are fortunate, AM… for most of us, there is either too much or not enough water at any given time. Long term, we’ll all have to find a reliable water source, since nobody will be able to stockpile enough to last indefinitely. That will be one of the real problems where I live. We’re pretty much OK as long as there is snow on the ground, but the other four or five months can get mighty dry. πŸ™‚

  11. Kathy
    Kathy February 8, 2014 6:43 am

    My local Walmarts don’t stock the cans, but you can order them on-line.

    With regards to water, we are in Virginia where rainfall should not be a problem so I have a 300 gallon rain barrel and a stock of filters with a simple bucket system for filtration. Monolithic filters – developed to assist in disasters –

  12. LarryA
    LarryA February 8, 2014 1:18 pm

    I was pretty sure AM had considered rehydration water, but I mentioned it because an amazing percentage of my Hunter Education students have not. I also run into preppers who haven’t considered rehydration needs when calculating water amounts for drinking and hygiene.

    At my current location, water isn’t an issue.

    The only place I’ve been like that was the Vietnam jungle. I learned camping around Barstow, California. (There are two seasons in Barstow; the dry season and the day it rains.)

    When we finished eating we’d let what was on our plates and utensils dry (two minutes or so) then scour them with sand. (We had LOTS of clean sand.) Dust them off and they’re ready to go.

    We’re pretty much OK as long as there is snow on the ground, but the other four or five months can get mighty dry.

    That would be true where I am now, except we only get measurable snowfall about one day a decade.

    The good news here is that we’re close to the headwaters of the river that’s our main source of water, and sitting on an aquifer backup. The bad news is that an hour downstream is a major city that will soon be running low.

    The amusing part of the electrical substation attack was:
    The sniper apparently utilized 7.62x39mm rounds, such as those used in an AK-47

    According to the video and photos I saw the range was about 500 feet. The MSM “sniper” is not my “sniper.”

  13. kevin m
    kevin m February 8, 2014 11:11 pm

    The only thing I know about links is sausages. But, I found the Mormons sell these cases of oats and beans and such cheap. Google Family Home Storage. 6 # 10 cans for around 30 bucks. Oh and you don’t have to be a Mormon either to order. Plus I bought this GIANT pair of white coveralls for 50 bucks. [winter camouflage suit]

  14. kevin m
    kevin m February 8, 2014 11:17 pm

    Was just remembering that Wal-Mart, Sams Club, and CostCo carry these types of food also. You can order online and they will ship to a local store for free in many cases.

  15. Claire
    Claire February 9, 2014 11:21 am

    Roger — That’s sad. But you’ve got to admit, the average vole is cuter and fuzzier than the average human. So putting their interests over ours is obviously justified. πŸ˜‰

    I’ll bet JD will be thrilled to see his book mentioned “across the big pond.”

  16. zelda
    zelda February 10, 2014 4:55 pm

    Joel, if you will brine your beans for 24 hours they will cook up just perfectly with no further soaking, no crock pot, no pressure cooker, no long cooking time. I live at altitude too, had given up on beans (which I love) until I learned about brining. Use cheap regular table salt, non-iodized non-sea salt (like Kosher salt) or the beans will taste disgusting from the iodine. I do about a pound of beans at a time but you may not be able to store that much. I’ve done 8 different kinds of beans, including two types of tough old limas. It worked on all of them. For 1 pound or 2 cups of beans, dissolve 3 tablespoons of salt in 4 quarts of cold water, stir until salt is dissolved. Rinse beans, dump in salt water. Leave for 8 to 24 hours (I do 24). Pour off salted water, rinse beans well. After a rinse I let them sit in plain water for an hour or so. Pour off the rinse water, then add water to cover and cook. Don’t add salt while they are cooking. The beans will cook very fast, so keep an eye on them. I burned a few batches, not realizing how quickly they would be done.
    If you need a quick brine, use the same amount of salt, water and beans, but in a pot, heat to a boil, remove from heat, cover, let sit for one hour, rinse and cook as above. I like the results from the overnight brine better. A hot pinto bean open face sandwich: homemade chewy wheat or sourdough bread spread with a bit of olive oil, hot pintos heaped on bread (mash first if you wish, I don’t), top with shredded/grated cheese of choice and melt it if the hot beans don’t, top cheese with lots of salsa/hot peppers of choice. Simple, satisfying to the max, good nutrition, cheap and comfort food on a cold, windy day. Add whatever else you think would be good – bacon, ham, lettuce, tomato.

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