Having a working, stocked, useful three-month food storage has been a continuous struggle. I know the benefits of having one, the security blanket it can be. The primary purpose of it is to have a good stock of food in case of a real financial struggle; at least we would be assured of having three months worth of food stored away and would not have to worry about that expense. But these past few weeks when I've been sick, we've come to realize a food storage is useful in more ways than one.
Laid up in bed, I've been unable to do the menu planning, grocery lists, shopping and cooking. James is already working 12+ hours a day at his job. That leaves one ill parent and one exhausted parent at the end of the day, neither with the time or energy to be able to see to the food area properly. James darts out once a week for milk, eggs and produce, and inevitably checks in with "what else do we need this week?" before he goes. As he is the one preparing meals, I always suggest he buy whatever he can handle making. But, in the end, if things are chaotic, I'm always able to say: just pick up the milk and we can cook from storage this week. It's been a wonderful blessing, making all our lives so much easier.
But, I still struggle. Most people who have their storage in tip top shape, filled with more than 24 jars of spaghetti sauce, 10 boxes of cereal and 15 bottles of BBQ sauce (which doesn't' make for a balanced diet!) rely on pre-set menu plans. I see all sorts of people with their handy little charts of this week's breakfast, lunch and dinner already laid out. Personally, that much planning doesn't work for me. I usually have ingredients on hand for 6 or 7 dinners. Breakfast and lunch are always up in the air. But we like it that way.
And I seem to have made our storage work for our lackadaisical way of life. Over the past year I have built up enough variety of meats (frozen in the freezer), canned fruits and veggies, pasta, sauces, cereal, beans, crackers, soups, and toiletries. I also have one shelf that has a couple each of those specialty things like pickles, condiments, baking goods. All I did was pay attention to the things we ate most often and stocked up when they were on sale. (Yes, I got a very strange look from the cashier when I laid down 96 cans of vegetables - but they were half price, and vegetables NEVER go on sale!)
Hmmm. I started writing with the intention of muddling out some new ideas for how to make our food storage work better for us. But I think my conclusion is - it already is working for us! Just because others say "this" is the best way, doesn't mean it's the only way, or that it is best for you. This past few weeks we've seen our food storage working for us, and it's doing a mighty fine job!