Last-minute Y2k preps OR...Y2k Preps for the Complete Idiot.greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread
Y2k Preps for the Complete Idiot - Part I
For someone new to Y2k prepping, or someone with limited culinary skills, someone who has limited time to prep, someone who doesn't live on a farm, doesn't have the first clue about canning, may be single or just has a few mouths to feed, and chooses not to raise rabbits for meat in a highrise apartment building, you can still prep for 6 months or longer using goods available at your local grocery or hardware store right now. I'll give you some ideas to start you off. Food ideas are meant to be quickly cooked, nutritious, and provide variety in your diet. If you're looking for high-caloric items, this is not the thread for you.
FOOD: An Essential
Dry Cereals....check the expiration dates carefully. They're typically on the top of the box. Here are a few examples. Tastes differ by individual.
Frosted Mini Wheats.................................................19 oz. box.............$1.99 Honey Bunches of Oats (with almonds).................16 oz. box.............$2.99 Raisin Bran...................................................................15 oz. box.............$1.96
Of course you'll need milk to put on your cereal. Dry milk tends to go bad soon after opening, so if you don't intend to use a lot at one time, I'd suggest the Kroger Freshlock Instant Nonfat Dry Milk packs. You can cut them open, take out enough for a quart of milk, and close it back up again with the FreshLock Zipper top. The packs each hold 3 quarts worth, and prices range from $1.79 to $1.99 on sale.
You need water to make the milk. I'd stear clear of the one-gallon variety because the containers tend to leak with time. If you don't have a garage, this causes a mess in a hurry. In fact even if you DO have a garage, it can STILL cause a mess in a hurry, and spiders LOVE to lay eggs around the containers. Critters even bite into the containers. Don't ask me which critters, because I haven't caught any in the act yet. In fact, don't ask me how I know about ANY of this. I don't want to confess to being the idiot for which this thread is intended. Since this thread ASSUMES you're short on time and don't want to spend it sterilizing tap water, I'd suggest those 5-gallon heavy-duty water bottles sold at your local grocery. You can expect to pay from $5.79 to $6.69 on sale. They're still plastic, and downright heavy, IMO, but the plastic is heavy-duty and I haven't seen ANY leakages. If you want suggestions on larger quantities of water or water-filters, see the other threads on water. One last note here: If someone at the store suggests that you need to pay a deposit on those 5-gallon water jugs (which can be returned to the store and refilled once you're done), go to another store, or (better yet), return to the store late at night when that person isn't around. If you're TRULY sinister, you could return the empty bottle and ask for your deposit (even though you never paid it.) The rule of thumb for water seems to be 1 gallon/day per person, so add up what you need for the period of time you expect, and react accordingly.
As though getting through breakfast weren't hard enough, you STILL need a means to chill the milk once mixed. Modern refrigerators tend to come with ice-makers, so you need to look into your needs on this one. I bought ice-trays and hope to fill them with water, set them outside at night and hope like heck it gets cold enough to freeze the water. Prices on ice-trays range from 3-packs (12-cubes is pretty standard) at $.88 to 2-packs for $1.25. Of course then you need a cooler in which to place the ice and the milk, not to mention a container for the milk. 48-quart coolers are on sale NOW for $14.99 even at the local groceries. 2-quart plastic pitchers can be obtained for $1.69 with REALLY tight seals. You don't want spills in your cooler. I would think that if the heat is off, you could set your ice-trays on a window-sill in northern climates (even in a high-rise apartment) and have ice in the morning. Refill and replace as necessary. Consider the water you need for your cooling needs in addition to the 1-gallon/person/day recommendation.
Continuing on with breakfast:
A glass of grapefruit juice is a nice addition. 46-oz cans range in price from $1.09 to $1.19. You may prefer grapefruit sections, available canned at $1.09 for a 16-oz can. Mandarin oranges in 11-oz cans can oftentimes be obtained for $.50.
Hot cereals/coffee, tea, hot chocolate:
I've lumped these all together because they need heated water. If you're a lover of percolated coffee, I can't help you. The coffee drinkers here drink the instant stuff and we don't even have a coffee pot. Tasters' Choice does the best job of labeling their coffee with expiration dates. As I said above, you'll never have more interest in expiration dates than you have now. A 4-oz jar can be obtained for $4.89. 7-oz jars can range in price from $5.64 to $5.99.
I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't drink caffeinated beverages. I also don't want to mess with tea-balls and tea-leaves, so I buy the already done herbal stuff. I drink Celestial Seasoning as well as Bigelow and have varieties ranging from chamomile and echinacea all the way to raspberry. Prices range from $2.29 to $3.19 for boxes of 20 bags each. I know it's not a good idea to use Lipton tea bags twice, but I use the herbal bags 3-4 times before throwing them away. No need to worry about expiration here. This stuff lasts FOREVER.
There are lots of options here, but the easiest option is to buy packages of 10 1-oz envelopes with marshmallows. What's hot chocolate without marshmallows? These packages of 10 are available for $1.49. It's actually called Hot Cocoa Mix.
You have two choices here. You can get 12 not-quite 1-oz packages for $2.49 or go with the regular boxes of Quaker oats for larger portions. An 18-oz box is $1.50. We don't "do" other hot cereals, so look elsewhere for other types.
2-lb boxes of Aunt Jemima pancake mix (just add water) can be obtained for between $1.58 and $1.69 apiece. You need a bowl and a frying pan to make these. Even an idiot like me had those two items already. You also need some means on which to cook them (if your stove isn't working?) I opted for a Coleman one-burner number and paid the ridiculous price of $34.99 for it at Academy last summer. It promises to run on simple unleaded gasoline, but a petroleum engineer told me that was a fire-hazard in the making. The camp fuel is MUCH heavier, and much safer, even though it costs $3.00/gallon. Another option for cooking (if you can cook outside) is a barbeque grill. We didn't even have one of those, but got one free from my room-mate's mom. You can get 8-lb bags of self-igniting charcoal for between $2.00 and $3.00/bag in the summer. A 15-lb bag of the same can be obtained for $4.99 in the summer. For some reason beyond my logic, the cost of this stuff goes UP off season. I tried this cooking on a grill for the first time in my life this summer and didn't burn myself. I DID, however, watch the flames until they went away before I left the grill alone to prepare the food.
Sweeteners and other coffee-type additives:
Lots of folks put sugar on their cereal (cold or hot). 4-lb bags (with appropriate expiration dates) can be obtained for $1.25. 10-lb bags (same expiration date passage) can be obtained for $3.32.
If you prefer not to use your milk in your coffee, you can obtain 6-oz jars of coffee-mate for $1.39, or 11-oz jars for $1.68.
A 3-lb jar of honey can be obtained for $4.98 for those of us who may prefer honey in tea, coffee, or cereal as a sweetener. Check the expiration dates before buying. Must I keep repeating that, or have you caught on by now that this is the most important thing you'll want to do in your shopping? A thought on that honey: Put a piece of cardboard or something below it so it doesn't stick to your pantry shelf.
Butter, Syrups, Jelly and Jam:
Pancakes aren't good without SOMETHING on them, right?
Butter-buds come in 4-oz packages that equal 2 lbs of butter. You can obtain these for $1.92 each. There's also a shake-on variety that I've never tried, but that would work equally well on pancakes. Speaking of those pancakes, I forgot to mention some oil in which to fry them. 1 pint of corn oil can be purchased for $1.69. If you intend to use a lot, the 1.5 qt variety can be obtained for $2.67.
Maple syrup can be obtained in 24-oz containers for $4.39. If you prefer strawberry syrup, Smuckers has one that you can obtain for $2.29. It's much smaller than 24-oz...the price you pay for strawberry syrup, yet variety IS the spice of life. Butter-lite syrup is $3.19 for 24-oz.
Jams, jellies, and fruits:
SOME folks prefer jam or jelly on their pancakes. Smuckers has a good variety of jams and jellies that are Y2k compliant. [grin] Strawberry jam goes for $3.69 and strawberry preserves go for $2.99 for an 18-oz jar. Grape jelly can be picked up for $1.19 for a 32-oz jar.
Other folks prefer to add some fruit (either as a side-dish to breakfast) or as an addition to their cereal. Delmonte has a great selection of the traditional peaches, pears, mixed fuits, etc. that range in price depending on sales. For more non-traditional fruits to add to cereals or use as sides to breakfast, check out Oregon brand fruits. Bing cherries can be obtained for $2.28-$2.69 for 16.5 oz. Blackberries range from $1.96 to $2.49 for the same size. Blueberries = $2.39 - $2.69. Red raspberries go for $2.79. Strawberries go for $2.19.
I don't know about YOU, but around here we take our vitamins at breakfast. If you're an oldster, you can expect to pay $9.49 for 100 Centrum Silvers. You can also get 100 Kroger Complete Seniors for $4.99. Kroger-brand also has an advanced formula vitamin of 130 for $4.99, as well as a High-Potency number for $6.69. Chewable "C" vitamins can be obtained at any health-food store at $4.39 for 60 of the 500 mg variety.
I thought I'd introduce this here because honey was already mentioned here, and if my mom gets a sore-throat or cough, she SWEARS by the honey/lemon remedy. An 8-oz bottle of Realemon juice can be obtained now for $1.29.
Prices will vary from location to location, depending on sales. I mention prices only because I had NO CLUE what things SHOULD cost.
I'm done with breakfast, and will wait until responses either throw me off this forum or find this information of some use to folks in these positions. If the responses are positive, I will move on to lunch, dinner, snacks, other emergency items, etc.
-- Anita (email@example.com), July 20, 1999
They'll have to throw us both off. This is *exactly* the kind of thing I was ranting and raving about the other day. However ideal that storing food in mylar bages etc. may be, it is NOT the only way.
You've given great advice here that I'm sure will help many. Keep up the good work.
-- Got Grub?
-- Greybear (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 1999.
And if you're really CHEAP(like me) and are lucky enough to have an Aldi's,Sav-a-lot,or Costco near you, you can even save on these prices. We got buttermilk pancake mix 2#/.99 and syrup for.99. Make sure your pancake mix has the egg and milk already in it, so all you have to do is add water.
Teabags were 100 for $1.00 and we really stocked up on these so we could make ice (well cool) tea in the summer. Not as good as fruit juices but a big savings on space.
Need that important fruit every day so we are hoping to buy big bags of citrus in Nov or Dec, which will keep well if kept cool. If we can't or when we run out, the large size pure apple juice was .99 and small 15 oz. mixed fruit was .59. Large 28 oz. peaches and pears were .89.
Another alternative for milk is evaporated at .49 a can. Mix it with equal amount of water.
If you like hot cereals probably worth the extra money for the "instants".
If your really good, you'll get up an hour before breakfast and set everything outside to chill(well, the milk and fruit juices anyway). If you're not that good then do the ice cubes the night before.
Don't hold me to these prices as they seem to be changing daily. Macaroni and cheese went from .19 for the 7.5 oz. box to .23 to .25 within 2 weeks.
-- sue (email@example.com), July 20, 1999.
Good basic information for newbies and reminders for us all.
Coming at the problem from a slightly different perspective--as a an English transplant, vegetarian AND new diabetic--I'd like to add a few commnents. Don't be scared off by the vegetarian and diabetic labels; both types of lifestyle are extremely healthy and, after living a very long time in New Orleans on a tight budget, HAVE to mean delicious, low-cost meals for this two-person family!
Let me digress a tiny bit (promise) on Type II diabetes (formerly known as Adult Onset Diabetes). As the boomers reach that Certain Age and beyond, many will succumb to this disease; it's beginning to show signs of being an epidemic--estimated 16m in the pop. right now. You can slow down or even avoid diabetes by being sensible about the foods you eat NOW. Don't say, "there's no diabetes in my family anywhere, I don't have to worry." There's no sign of it in my huge extended family either, back to my great-great ancestors (no deaths in middle age, e.g.). If there are severe problems with Y2K and you can't get medical attention or the major necessary medication, which is manufactured in France, what will you do??? Think about it. Okay, lecture over.
Ready-to-eat cereals are usually freshness dated about 9 months hence. Store in jumbo ziplocks and they should last beyond the date; buy smaller sizes if necessary to fit bags; store brands are fine. Diabetics stick to very low-sugar, complex-carbohydrate cereals, such as bran-type shredded wheat (basically, the less processed, the more complex). This diabetic despises artificial sweeteners and has gone cold turkey on cereal with milk only. It's really not that bad. DBs have to have a portion of fruit at each meal, so 10 grapes (yup, 10), or 1/2 cup canned fruit (in light syrup, hold the syrup), or small apple or orange (if available) supply some sweetness.
Powdered milk: I've been using no-fat powdered milk from the Food Co-op or whole foods megalomart for ages, and buy it in bulk. It's supposed to be hormone- and antibiotic-free. I store large quantities in ziplocks inside sealed plastic containers (Tupperware lookalikes) and have noticed no problem with quality loss. Kept cool, dark, airtight (air squeezed out of ziplocks), it should be okay. Much more economical but not as convenient as the individual packs.
Sturdy food-grade 5-gall (usual) and 55-gall (rare) containers are available, free or cheap, at your local bottling plant. Suggest asking for those that have contained lemon-flavored syrup as the odor seems to hang around. Otherwise, I'm using clear soft-drink bottles (I drink club soda and seltzer water). With space left in the bottles for freezing, I'm storing most of them under the house. The larger ones will go in the carport utility room for convenience (they weigh a ton, especially the 55-gall ones). I also have two 75-gall rain barrels for the garden and emergency use. Sterilizing tap water means adding 8 drops of bleach (non-scented) to every gallon of water you store. (Search on "water" in food archive at old forum, check here too.)
Coolers: Igloo has a cooler which claims to keep ice solid for five days at 90-degree temps. I bought mine at Sam's, around $15, I think. Clear soda bottles with screw tops are ideal for storing reconstituted milk, water, juice, Kool-Aid, etc., in your cooler. I shall freeze some large blocks of ice since they keep longer than cubes for cooling items.
Be careful about grapefruit juice. It can react with many medications, including one of those I take for diabetes.
I'm storing bean coffee and found a good hand-grinder for $2 at a garage sale. As much as we love our coffee, I'll buy another hand-grinder before the end of summer. The vacuum-packed bags are stored in ziplocks (air squashed out) inside white plastic buckets (free from bakery) and sealed with duct tape. Don't forget to label coffee pacs and buckets with purchase date(s).
Sweetie is addicted to Twinings teas, same type of storage. Boxes/bags of 50 to 100 teabags can sometimes be found additional savings.
I buy pancake mix at the Co-op in bulk. Similar storage treatment to powdered milk, but doesn't last quite as long. I know Pilsbury flour lasts 18 mos (wholewheat 9 mos), so I'm guessing the bulk stuff lasts about a year.
We'll be cooking via several different means. In fine weather, we have two barbecue grills ($5 each, yard sales). To heat water for coffee, we have Sterno and some fondue pots picked up for $5 at yard sales. And we have a two-burner Coleman propane stove ($10, yard sale, with fuel) plus extra fuel for lazy days. I've also picked up several good Thermoses to do some thermos cooking. And there are the solar panels which will run a hot plate. Be sure to take a fire extinguisher with you whwen cooking outdoors: you don't want to burn down the house. Plan now for a solid, smooth surface for your outdoor cooking needs--4-6 12 x 12 concrete pavers will do nicely; use more if you like. Use on deck too to help prevent immolation or scarring of your deck.
Granulated sugar has no expiration date and will last forever if properly stored. Stick in ziplocks inside plastic containers so it doesn't get damp. If it gets damp, first it gets lumpy, then hard as a rock.
If you don't like the thought of powdered creamer, you can simply stir into your coffee mug two teaspoons of powdered milk. Dissolves very quickly.
Honey keeps practically forever. If it turns solid, put in a warm place for a while (or, if you can, simmer in hot water on top of the stove until it liquidizes). I miss honey almost as much as chocolate!
Butter - adventurefoods.com, freeze-dried butter, amazingly good when water is added! Search this forum's food threads for margarine and butter, lots of good info and suggestions.
I've bought olive oil in tins, reasoning that it will last longer in tin than in plastic. Besides, I like olive oil and don't care for the other, heavily-processed, vegetable oils. Keep tins off floor to avoid rust.
Store-brand canned fruits are fine. This is a good time to note that if there's only one or two of you, store a suitable number of foods in small cans. If there are still problems in summer, you don't want to have to throw out half a can of food for lack of a place to keep it. Have several manual can openers--one is NEVER enough!
Wal-Mart seems to have the best prices on vitamins, also some good economy sizes. Sam's also has large economy sizes at good prices. (OTC drugs too, of course.)
ReaLemon and other reconstituted lemon juices have a relatively short shelf life. A few months, as I recall. If you must store some, try powdered lemon juice from adventurefoods.com. Yu can also buy grated lemon and orange rind in the spices/flavoring section of your supermarket. There are also many lemon-flavored herbs, among them lemon thyme (VERY easy to grow), lemon verbena, lemon balm, and there's pineapple mint-also a new chocolate mint. Can't think of others off hand, check a good nursery, see what they have. Also see richters.com, swearch on "lemon"; their catalogue is amazingly informative and comprehensive--good quality and service too.
If you want sausage and eggs, you can buy very good powdered eggs (can buy small quantities too) from adventurefoods.com. You can also buy dehydrated pork sausage there too or you can buy the breakfast soy stuff (with gravy, yet!) at soybean.com. You can also stash fake bacon bits to sprinkle on your scrambled, reconstituted powdered eggs. Sam's has large sizes of same; food co-ops have it in bulk. Sam's also has VERY good dried mushrooms (mushroom omelette?) in large containers. Dried sweet peppers for omelettes are available at adventurefoods.com., roasted peppers come in cans and jars. For special occasions, use a small jar of artichokes to glamorize an omelette. I've got some dried leeks from the food coop, wonderful in omelettes.
For bread, you're going to have to go with melba toast if nothing else is available, or whip up some skillet cornbread or biscuits (can buy in bulk or in convenient packages).
Whatever you stash, mark EVERYthing, either with the expiration date ("X 4/01") or the purchase date ("P 7/99"). Mark it with a large felt-tip on the top and on the side of the item. Keep scotch tape in your storage area so that you can immediately stick on any labels threatening separation from the can or package.
One last hint: coolers from yard sales are good storage containers for bulky items, such as large bags of sugar or rice and boxes of powdered milk.
Am looking forward to reading practical information from lots more posters!
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 1999.
Thanks for the responses, Greybear, Sue, and Old Git. The suggestions and prices above assume that one doesn't know about Sam's, Costco, co-ops or vendors on the net. In fact, future threads for the Complete Idiot will assume that also. Expiration dates on items are ALL beyond 2000 unless shelf-lives are irrelevant. This includes Realemon juice. Complete idiots can simply pick up these items at their local grocery while picking up their other daily needs. While local stores should be watched for sales each trip, no attempt will be made to locate the cheapest price on anything. Although garage sales, thrift stores, etc. have GREAT bargains, I'm assuming in the complete idiot threads that the folks addressed don't have the time to seek out these bargains, or perhaps live in a high-rise in an urban area, where these outlets may not be readily available.
One other point in passing: There is absolutely NO offense meant by labeling these threads "for the complete idiot." It occurred to me when I began Part I that the best information I ever obtained regarding car repair was from a book called..."Maintaining your Volkswagon...for the complete idiot."
-- Anita (email@example.com), July 20, 1999.
This should be a great series of posts Anita.
If you want some more urban food info for the NE US especially, I had a few tips in the following thread which might make sense for lunch and/or dinner.
-- nothere nothere (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 1999.
Question: Have you tried the dry eggs? Do they taste like the real thing? Do they last as long, as when you open up dry milk? Thanks for your thoughts. I have searched for this item & was told a health food store was the place to go, so thanks for advising us about adventurefood.com
-- Judy (JUDYMARYE@AOL.COM), July 20, 1999.
We don't have a Costco in this area but I am assuming that everybody has one kind of discount grocery store in their area. I didn't think the prices at Sam's in Florida were all that great, but I'm going to check them out again up here in Indiana. There are just some things that only Sam's seems to have (i.e. large cans, dehydrated, certain products, ect).
Let's keep this thread running as most everybody can add something we have forgotten.
That concentrated lemon juice is good for lemonade as well as cooking and takes up less space.Besides being a health source, I believe it keeps well unopened and reasonably well opened considering it will be winter when you open it. I'm not referring to RealLemon refrigerated variety.
Another thing is that I read on threads here recently about eggs in all their varietys. Freezing (use as soon as you lose electricity),preserving in the shell, and dehydrating yourself.
-- sue (email@example.com), July 20, 1999.
Thanks for the info. This is somewhat along the lines of what I'm trying to do (but for me I'm probably doing it even 'idoiter'...)
I would like to ask for more details about the 5 gallon water jugs (that include the water). I thought you could only get them from 'water suppliers', but last night I saw some at a local store. They did want a deposit for the bottle. From your post, I didn't quite get the part about how you get around the deposit... I'm sure that at the store I was at, it will just scan through as part of the price. More details, please-- or some store names that don't charge deposits...
I have tried to find 55 gal drums locally, for water storage. We do have an outdoor water supply, but will consider some water storage to avoid bleach treating and/or boiling. Seems that we have no local bottling companies and our Sam's does not carry these.
-- winter wondering (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 1999.
I'll be sure to check out the thread you mentioned. More Tips for the urban dweller
I hope I haven't repeated some of your tips in Part II. PLEASE don't ask me to retype it if I have. [grin]
We don't eat eggs around here, so it's no big deal not to have them. For [ugh!] cooking purposes, as in actually whipping something up sortof from scratch, we don't do much of that either, but I found a can of egg-whites at the local store that has a plastic lid to be used once opened. It costs $4.39 for the equivalent of 4.75 dozen egg whites. Didn't somebody say the yolks were bad for us anyway? That was probably yesterday's news, and today they're REALLY good for us.
The first time I went to buy one of those 5-gallon numbers, a clerk told me that I'd have to pay a deposit. Now this wasn't the clerk behind the cash-register, but another that just happened to step up to the plate. I said, "I don't want it then." The deposit was as much as the water! This was at Albertson's, BTW. It's a large food chain here in Texas. Later that night, I went back to the store. They had a skeletal crew for the few screwballs who shop around midnight. I purchased the water with no deposit. It DOES NOT ring up with the water. Since then, I've NEVER been told, day or night, that I'd need a deposit. I figure if anyone ever DOES tell me that again, I can tell them that I've been buying this water at Albertson's for X months now and NEVER had to pay a deposit.
-- Anita (email@example.com), July 20, 1999.
Judy, I've tasted the eggs and they're not bad. Adventurefoods.com (catalogue on-line) has the best, from what I understand. I've had some powdered eggs stored for over six months and will be trying them soon. They were stored in a ziplock bag (not vacuum-packed, no oxy absorbers or anything) as an experiment. I'll report back on the taste and quality--as well as that of the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, the dried butter, cream cheese, and so on.
We won't be storing a great quantity of these foods but thought some would be nice to have as a boredom-breaker.
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 1999.
Exactly the diabetics who should NOT be eating the all carbohydrate meals. Only oatmeal is fairly low on the glycemic index, as I understand. Otherwise, combine a protein and a fat with the carbs.
-- Mara Wayne (MaraWAyne@aol.com), July 20, 1999.
Mara, you're right. My doctor is always telling me to get more protein into my diet. He worries too much! I often have a toasted soy-cheese sandwich for breakfast and use my fat allowance in the whole-milk in my coffee (I love cafe au lait). I'll have to be much more careful if TSHTF and I plan to map out some storage-food diabetic menus to get me through any power cuts, whether due to hurricanes or computers.
-- Old Git (email@example.com), July 20, 1999.
a question about adventure foods on-line. Having seen it mentioned several times on the forum, I went out there, but ran into problems actually accessing the on-line catalog. I thought maybe they were having net problems, but then maybe it was just me. Anyone else have any problems-- or know of how to access their on-line catalog?
-- winter wondering (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 1999.
Yes, see what you mean--once I clicked on an item, I couldn't get back to the list without starting all over again. Oh well, why not e-mail them for a snail-mail catalogue? You can at least drool over the offerings listed! I didn't see mayo, by the way, but I did see powdered sherry and sauterne (lightweight for backpackers) for flavoring sauces and stews! There's freeze-dried ground beef too.
While I was at the site, I clicked on the Bakepacker. I bought one of these last year. I hate to admit it but I haven't tried it yet. But bear in mind that a lot of the nonfood supplies have been in a storage room since last November and they've only just been retrieved. I haven't even unpacked the thing yet, haven't come across that box! Anyway, here's the Bakepacker info:
Bake in a food storage bag or roasting bag.
No Mess! No Clean-Up!
You will never scrub your cook-pot again!
Announcing BakePacker . . . the new lightweight baking accessory for camping. We've developed this product because there's never been a simple satisfactory way to bake in the outdoors.
The BakePacker bakes breads, poaches fish, cooks rice, and makes omelets.... and it works. The BakePacker is not a steamer. Each small compartment of the aluminum grid functions as a single, self-contained heat exchanger. When the water in these compartments is boiled, the rate of heat transfer from the water to the plastic bag is very high. Higher, in fact, than a steamer, double boiler or an open pot of boiling water. Terminal engineers refer to this process as "the heat pipe phenomenon." The ability to transfer very large quantities of heat with a small temperature differences is the main feature characterizing the heat pipe. The BakePacker, then is a cluster of heat pipes that moves large amounts of heat at a relatively low temperature (212 degrees F. at sea level). The net result is that you, the camp chef, can now bake many things including cakes, muffins and quickbreads in a simple cook-pot.
The single greatest advantage of BakePacker cooking is that pot-cleaning is virtually eliminated. BakePacker prepares excellent baked foods with a minimum of cooking skill and equipment. BakePacker is a great addition to camping, RV, boat or your home kitchen. It also makes a terrific gift.
DO NOT COOK SOUP, BROTH, HOT BEVERAGES, GRAVY, ETC. IN PLASTIC BAG. HANDLING A BAG FILLED WITH HOT LIQUID WOULD BE OBVIOUSLY UNSAFE. STEW, PORK'N BEANS, RICE CASSEROLES, ETC. SHOULD BE SERVED FROM THE COOK-POT. AFTER COOKING, SIMPLY REMOVE THE LID, OPEN THE BAG AND SERVE. REMEMBER, DO NOT WALK AROUND CAMP, GALLEY OR KITCHEN CARRYING A PLASTIC BAG FILLED WITH HOT FOOD.
(end copy and paste)
It's a very nicely made gadget, made in Canada, as I recall. Not a cheap bit of aluminum--good quality. I think it was around $16-17. Adfoods also puts out its own beautifully illustrated Bakepacker cookbook; the recipes (98% dehydrated ingredients) are easily convertible to Dutch oven or stovetop cooking. It contains tons of valuable nutritional info too, including breakdowns and rehydrating instructions for a wide variety of dried foods, and diabetic exchanges. (Sam, half of the couple who owns Adfoods, was diagnosed diabetic as a youngster.)
-- Old Git (email@example.com), July 20, 1999.
Another source for bulk food/dehydrated foods is your grocery store/deli/bakery, but not 'on the shelf'.
I was looking for dehydrated eggs locally and could not find a reasonably priced product. On a lark, I called my local Wild Oats market and spoke with the bulk foods manager and asked him what types of products he had access to, for 'special' orders. His answer: LOTS! Remember, stores have access to wholesale food distributors (Sysco, Lady Baltimore/Nugget) that we don't. He was very happy to work with me.
I was able to order dehydrated whole eggs, 50 lb. sacks of TVP, and some other 'goodies' from their food distributor catalog. It was all 'cash and carry', and I received my order in less than a week. Prices were much more reasonable than the other mail order/web site companies I had checked with. On many items, I received a 10% discount because I bought the entire case lot.
It's worth looking at this option.
-- Wilferd (WilferdW@aol.com), July 21, 1999.