As the world continues to tailspin into whatever kind of crash is coming, you may find that you’ll have to make a run for it, in spite of all your preparedness planning. For instance, suppose the crash has come, but you’re not worried because you are safely ensconced in a carefully planned twenty acre homestead environment. Your drilled deepwater well is powered by a solar panel, you have five years of long term storage food on hand, a garden in the soil and plenty of seeds for the coming years. You don’t need a generator because you have a small wind turbine as well as the solar panel, and you heat with wood which you carefully harvest from your sustainable woodlot.
But as careful as you were with your planning, you didn’t pay enough attention to the risk of a nuclear warhead being dropped in a distant city a couple of hundred miles away from you. But drop it did, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and now there is a highly radioactive cloud coming your way, making every inch of soil it floats over uninhabitable for a long time. The warnings have been issued and you have to bug, and bug out fast, or risk being contaminated by the fallout. You didn’t think you’d need a bug out bag, did you? Well you do, and because you didn’t prepare one you have to throw everything together in ten minutes time, and you know what happens when we pull that kind of stunt.
You may forget to include sufficient cooking utensils, but as long as you have cans and tin foil, you really don’t require any solid cooking vessels to survive. They do make life a lot easier, but they aren’t 100% necessary for a successful meal. And remember, when it comes to survival, a successful meal doesn’t mean a five course extravaganza to impress the neighborhood. It means putting needed calories and nourishment where it belongs, and nothing more.
Canned food can be cooked right in the can, and you can wash out the can and use it for cooking other meals as well. You can boil water for coffee and tea, as well in a can. Vegetables can be boiled in the water already in the can by simply removing the label before opening. Don’t remove the lid entirely, but leave a bit attached so you can hinge the lid for use as a cover. One problem here is that vegetables should be placed into boiling water, which you cannot do if you have no vessel in which to boil water, so save those cans for later meals.
Meats, fresh or otherwise, can be wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on a bed of coals for cooking. Remember to wrap whatever you are cooking with the dull side of the foil touching the food. That dull coating is a protective layer that keeps the aluminum from leaching into the food and possibly contributing to some health problems.
To make things easy, and to help a bug out situation along, I suggest you do the following:
Obtain a two burner camp stove and at least six bottles of fuel to have on hand. Measure the dimensions of the stove and then buy a plastic tote with a snug fitting cover large enough to hold the stove and some extra gear. Get an extra set of camp cooking utensils that can fit into the tote as well. Many stores such as Wal-Mart and other department stores sell a kit with at least a fry pan, covered stock pot, coffee boiler, a saucepan and four sets of plates, bowls, cups, and utensils such as forks, knives spoons and cooking tools as well. You can pack that right into the tote with the stove and fuel for convenience. Throw in a few packs of strike anywhere matches and you’ll be good to go in a rush at any time.
Of course, for best results nothing beats a good set of cast iron cookware, but in a pinch tin cans and foil will still get the family fed.
As an added measure, get one of those collapsible water jugs as well. They fold flat and will be handy for lugging water for washing or cooking, provided you can get some clean water for those purposes. If you have questionable water, don’t use that jug for drinking until you have thoroughly disinfected it.
Here are a few hints from Belle DeGraf on camp cooking you may find helpful for your planning:
The simplest food is the most appetizing and also the best to eat and prepare. Good coffee will cover a multitude of shortcomings, and put everyone in good humor. To make really good coffee in camp is an art. One of the first essentials is to have the coffee pot thoroughly washed each time it is used. Let it stand open in a sunny place when not in use. This is most important; otherwise the coffee will be bitter. Allow 1 rounding tablespoon ground coffee for each cup of water used, then allow extra tablespoonful in the pot for good measure. Use cold water and set the pot in a hot place and allow reach boiling point and boil three minutes, no longer; in a warm place, but not over the fire, add ½ cupful cold water and let stand 5 or 10 minutes before use. The pot should be tightly covered, even taking care stop up the spout so that none of the aroma will be lost. The ½ cup of cold water is added last to clear the coffee. Egg may be added instead, and if used should be mixed with the ground coffee before adding any of the cold water. A clear, golden coffee will reward your efforts, which with canned cream and sugar will be hailed with joy. No matter how weary and tired from a day’s tramp, a good cup of coffee will stimulate and rest everyone.
Baked beans, well cooked, make a good dinner. Dig a hole large enough to hold several stones; heat them very hot, also have a bed of coals. The beans should be soaked overnight in sufficient cold water to cover. In the morning drain off all water cover with fresh cold water and bring to the boiling point and cook about ½ hour. Drain again. Put a piece of salt pork or bacon in the bottom the bean pot or iron kettle, add beans, another piece salt pork or bacon. Mix seasoning of mustard (may be omitted) salt, pepper, and either sugar or molasses, the latter giving the best flavor; add a pint of hot water and pour over beans; then cover beans entirely with hot water, cover closely and set on top of hot coals; put the heated stones on top, pack with dirt and make as nearly air-tight as possible. Let cook all day—about 8 or 10 hours. Be sure and have a kettle or pot large enough to hold sufficient water to completely cook the beans; otherwise they will taste scorched. If brown beans are preferred, they should be soaked overnight also, but they will not require so long a time cook, and the seasonings should be tomato sauce and onions. A small fireless cooker is a great help on a long camping trip.
Flat Cakes and Breads:
Self-rising pancake flour is easy to carry and is most convenient for outing trips. These flours only require an equal quantity of cold water and they are ready to bake. With a small bed of coals, a griddle or heavy frying pan can be kept at a uniform heat, and if different persons take a turn at frying them, this type of pancake will make an easily prepared meal.
Perhaps the hardest task of all is to make the camp bread, and to be able to make it well is one of the tests of a good outdoor cook. The best utensil for baking in camp is a shallow iron kettle with an iron cover, commonly known as a “Dutch oven.” Have a bed of coals, but rake them to one side and set the kettle in the center; put in the bread, cover and heap the coals on top and let bread cook about ½ hour. One of the commonest faults with camp cooking is having too much heat; the inexperienced camper builds a big fire which creates a quantity of smoke and makes cooking impossible. Hot coals are needed and a well-built campfire will soon produce them. Avoid having leftovers, for it is not easy to utilize them in camp cookery. Have simple meals, but aim to have food well prepared. Variety at each meal is not essential, but variety is desirable each day. Beans served for several meals in succession are certainly not appetizing.
Potatoes and fish may be wrapped in clean wet paper and cooked in hot ashes. If canned milk is used allow 1/3rd milk to 1/3rd water for cooking purposes. When milk is mentioned in a recipe it means fresh milk or canned milk diluted in this proportion. Any food which is cooked in a frying-pan or kettle can easily be managed over a campfire. If each person will do their share of the cooking and the inevitable dish washing, a camping trip will work no hardship on any one individual.
4 cups flour (1 quart). 2 rounding tablespoons shortening
2 level tablespoons baking powder
I &3/4ths (about) cups milk or half milk and half water
2 teaspoons salt
Mix all dry ingredients; rub in shortening with the finger tips, and gradually add liquid, using a knife for mixing. Knead a little in the bowl, pat into shape, and place in a greased iron kettle or heavy frying-pan; cover closely, set over hot ashes or heated rocks, cover with hot coals or rocks and bake about 30 minutes.
4 cups corn meal.
2 cups of milk or half milk and half water.
4 cups boiling water.
2 teaspoons salt.
3 tablespoons melted shortening
3 tablespoons sugar
2 level tablespoons baking powder
2 eggs, well beaten
Pour boiling water over corn meal and let stand until cool; then add remaining ingredients. Beat well and pour into a heated iron kettle or frying-pan. Set over hot ashes or heated coals until done. If baking powder and eggs are not used you will have corn pone.
Camp Pot Pie
Any kind of meat may be used. Cut in medium-sized pieces and dip in flour. Heat drippings or shortening in a heavy kettle or frying-pan, add meat and brown on all sides. If there is a quantity of meat, fry only a portion at one time so all will be brown, then cover with boiling water; cover tightly and set over hot ashes or a low bed of coals for 2 or 3 hours. The meat should cook under the boiling point, otherwise it will be tough. About an hour before serving add seasonings and vegetables.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (level) baking powder
1 cup milk,
Mix in order named and drop by spoonfuls on top of boiling stew. Cover closely and cook about IS minutes. These dumplings are very acceptable at the camp dinner. Success depends upon having the liquid constantly boiling and keeping kettle closely covered.
Prepare one-half the camp bread mixture. Bake as directed for bread. When cooked, split open, butter and spread with sweetened fruit. A very easy dish to prepare.