No Waste Tastes Great / The Food Stockpiling Debate

It’s Friday Guys – time for No Waste Tastes Great

Click here to learn more about my simple Friday routine

Simply Being Mum’s Friday Fridge

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Everything accounted for and I’m pleased to announce there’s no food- waste this week.

Typically my Friday fridge is rather sparse. This week’s is a little fuller than usual, but everything has a destination. It’s more packed due to the extraordinary weather we are having in the UK. We currently have sun and lots of it. I cannot recall ever having to put the Kids’ chocolate treat box in the fridge before.

It’s usually in this cupboard;

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This is a typical cupboard in my kitchen. Quite minimal really. I carry the bare essentials for emergency meals. Some dried foods such as pasta and rice as well as canned fish.

My freezer is very similar, just the essentials – frozen vegetables, fruit and bread.

Which brings me onto the food stockpiling debate.

I’ve been called irresponsible for the lack of food in my fridge. Rachel the Minimalist Mom recently was described as careless for her lack of supplies, prompting this post.

Where I live it couldn’t be any more stable regarding food supply. That’s not to say something unimaginable couldn’t happen to reduce the food I can source for my family. But it is so incredibly unlikely – almost incomprehensible.

This means I make decisions to suit my situation from personal experience. My amazing Gran who lived in LA, in the early 70’s, had different experiences.

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And although we never discussed her US kitchen cupboards specifically, I know that, when back in the UK, her cupboards looked a lot like mine.

If I lived in a country or area where volatile, life threatening events occurred, natural disasters were likely or food shortage (for whatever reason) was a probability – I undoubtedly would make different choices.

But I don’t. The area of the UK I live in, experienced an earthquake on 22 September 2002 measuring 4.7 on the richter scale. It woke me up from my slumber which was bad enough for someone who likes their sleep, but there was no damage and no food-shortage.

How ironic in googling the date for the quake I stumbled across this – maybe I do need a stockpile? 😉 Oh and then I found this… who’d have thought?

I may be coming across flippant, and I may literally eat my words (or not in the case of food shortage) but I hope that my deep appreciation of the need for some to stockpile is apparent. As with much in life what suits one, doesn’t suit another. After all the ability to feed your family must be one of the most basic desires a mother feels.

Where do you stand on the debate?

How’s your Fridge looking this Friday? Anything to declare? Or is it nice and bare? Please share…and don’t forget to drop a link in the comments if you’ve blogged about it!

No Waste Tastes Great is bought to you (as always) with thanks to The Frugal Girl for the original inspiration.

FoodWasteFriday

 

{ 50 comments… add one }
  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn July 19, 2013, 11:52 am

    I have a emergency food kit for just that–emergencies. There’s enough in it to feed the family for about three days and it is separate from our everyday food. While my cupboards are not as bare as yours, I have been cutting down on stockpiling food. I find I waste less when I buy less.

    • simplybeingmum July 19, 2013, 11:59 am

      I agree, the more you have the more you potentially waste. And eat. I was boring the Hubby the other night about how third world countries have the problem of so little food and yet in the western world the reverse is starting to become an issue. There are frequent reports of a potential obesity crisis in the UK – and I know the press like to dramatise things, but with my own eyes I can see the population getting larger. I’m a big believer in eat what you want but control the amount – which is where less food stock and meal-planning helps.

  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn July 19, 2013, 11:52 am

    I have a emergency food kit for just that–emergencies. There’s enough in it to feed the family for about three days and it is separate from our everyday food. While my cupboards are not as bare as yours, I have been cutting down on stockpiling food. I find I waste less when I buy less.

    • simplybeingmum July 19, 2013, 11:59 am

      I agree, the more you have the more you potentially waste. And eat. I was boring the Hubby the other night about how third world countries have the problem of so little food and yet in the western world the reverse is starting to become an issue. There are frequent reports of a potential obesity crisis in the UK – and I know the press like to dramatise things, but with my own eyes I can see the population getting larger. I’m a big believer in eat what you want but control the amount – which is where less food stock and meal-planning helps.

  • Nell Fitzsimmons July 19, 2013, 12:03 pm

    My hub likes to stockpile but I am like you. We laugh about it because he gets in from work and tries to put his “bargains”away before I can see you them! Eg ten packs of wraps that were on offer. At the moment we have a noodle problem – we have loads! I don’t even like stirfry! He is great though and always thinking of home and bargain hunting – I am lucky.
    Well done with your waste this week :-). . I had to throw away a couple of slices of bread that were mouldy from the heat. Also a small amount of double cream that has gone off. Thought I could have it in my coffee this morning as a treat but nope! 😉
    Take care xxxxxxx

    • simplybeingmum July 19, 2013, 12:07 pm

      Hey Nell… my Hubby likes to stockpile cleaning items i.e washing up liquid. Gosh he’ll kill me for whistle blowing. I too am lucky that he cares about the home and takes an interest. Hmmm excess noodles could be an issue. They are quite limited in the dishes that they accompany I suppose. But they do have a good shelf life.
      A couple of slices of bread and some cream isn’t so bad. Apart from not getting your treat that is! Have a great weekend!

  • Nell Fitzsimmons July 19, 2013, 12:03 pm

    My hub likes to stockpile but I am like you. We laugh about it because he gets in from work and tries to put his “bargains”away before I can see you them! Eg ten packs of wraps that were on offer. At the moment we have a noodle problem – we have loads! I don’t even like stirfry! He is great though and always thinking of home and bargain hunting – I am lucky.
    Well done with your waste this week :-). . I had to throw away a couple of slices of bread that were mouldy from the heat. Also a small amount of double cream that has gone off. Thought I could have it in my coffee this morning as a treat but nope! 😉
    Take care xxxxxxx

    • simplybeingmum July 19, 2013, 12:07 pm

      Hey Nell… my Hubby likes to stockpile cleaning items i.e washing up liquid. Gosh he’ll kill me for whistle blowing. I too am lucky that he cares about the home and takes an interest. Hmmm excess noodles could be an issue. They are quite limited in the dishes that they accompany I suppose. But they do have a good shelf life.
      A couple of slices of bread and some cream isn’t so bad. Apart from not getting your treat that is! Have a great weekend!

  • WilliamB July 19, 2013, 2:38 pm

    I keep a lot of food on hand because it is frugal to stock up when it’s cheap and I have the space. It’s also my stockpile in case I need to shelter in place. I live near stores but if there’s a power outage, a water emergency or a big snowstorm (all risks where I live), getting to a store won’t help much.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:47 am

      Totally appreciate that some people are at risk of food-shortage – and I too in those circumstances would store food.

  • WilliamB July 19, 2013, 2:38 pm

    I keep a lot of food on hand because it is frugal to stock up when it’s cheap and I have the space. It’s also my stockpile in case I need to shelter in place. I live near stores but if there’s a power outage, a water emergency or a big snowstorm (all risks where I live), getting to a store won’t help much.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:47 am

      Totally appreciate that some people are at risk of food-shortage – and I too in those circumstances would store food.

  • JennyS July 19, 2013, 3:11 pm

    I have never thought of stockpiling food in case of emergencies. I have always had a stocked pantry – and at times my husband makes fun of the amount of things I purchase when there is a sale. My mother has a larger pantry than I do but she is at a minimum 8 miles (13km) from the nearest market. My grocery is about 1 mile away She goes into town around 1 time per week to buy groceries etc. My head is spinning at the thought of having such a small pantry, but now I am starting to rethink our large one. Just one question. How many meals do you prepare/eat per week? My husband works at home so we are eating 18 or 19 of the 21 meals/week at home.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:50 am

      Hi Jenny…I prepare every meal apart from Monday evening. This includes packed lunches for the Kids/Hubby etc… I’m just really careful with my meal planning.
      I have 2 shops under half a mile from where I live. It just isn’t an issue where I live to obtain food.
      I do think the amount of storage space you have comes into play here. Mine is limited but adequate. When I lived with my parents e had a pantry (in the true sense – a small room) and my Mom did keep food stored.

  • JennyS July 19, 2013, 3:11 pm

    I have never thought of stockpiling food in case of emergencies. I have always had a stocked pantry – and at times my husband makes fun of the amount of things I purchase when there is a sale. My mother has a larger pantry than I do but she is at a minimum 8 miles (13km) from the nearest market. My grocery is about 1 mile away She goes into town around 1 time per week to buy groceries etc. My head is spinning at the thought of having such a small pantry, but now I am starting to rethink our large one. Just one question. How many meals do you prepare/eat per week? My husband works at home so we are eating 18 or 19 of the 21 meals/week at home.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:50 am

      Hi Jenny…I prepare every meal apart from Monday evening. This includes packed lunches for the Kids/Hubby etc… I’m just really careful with my meal planning.
      I have 2 shops under half a mile from where I live. It just isn’t an issue where I live to obtain food.
      I do think the amount of storage space you have comes into play here. Mine is limited but adequate. When I lived with my parents e had a pantry (in the true sense – a small room) and my Mom did keep food stored.

  • Violet July 19, 2013, 10:53 pm

    All is well and good but you were the person that had to go to the neighbors the other day to borrow an egg. I call that irresponsible.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 9:09 am

      Hi Violet – I’d most certainly agree with you if I’d been relying upon that egg as the meal for my Kids that day. But as it was unplanned cake baking, a nice to do rather than necessity, I’d probably describe it more as impulsive and disorganised (which I can be!).

  • Violet July 19, 2013, 10:53 pm

    All is well and good but you were the person that had to go to the neighbors the other day to borrow an egg. I call that irresponsible.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 9:09 am

      Hi Violet – I’d most certainly agree with you if I’d been relying upon that egg as the meal for my Kids that day. But as it was unplanned cake baking, a nice to do rather than necessity, I’d probably describe it more as impulsive and disorganised (which I can be!).

  • Trish July 19, 2013, 11:22 pm

    I find it very odd that someone would say that – you are irresponsible for how much food you have. Cultures really vary. We have mammoth refrigerators in the US, and people are in the habit of shopping less frequently. My shopping habits are a reflection of my rural environment – I have to make a specific trip to the store, it’s not on my way anywhere. So I tend to do a bit of stocking up. I know people in the UK tend to shop more frequently and have smaller refrigerators as a result. And friends from France and Italy say that they shop nearly every day. It doesn’t occur to me to stockpile food – more than a weeks worth at a time anyway. I’m actually a little irritated that someone would call you out on that.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:54 am

      When I was growing up my Mom shopped everyday for perishables. I know this is common in France. Not so much here now…maybe due to the large fridges that have become popular in the UK. My fridge is small as is my freezer. When we first moved to this house I planned on changing the fridge (although it is the same size of my previous kitchen). However truly I have found no need to. But in the UK (apart from this Summer – although we have heatwave storms today!) we do not have very hot weather regularly, in fact the opposite is true. It is rare I cannot leave drinks in our garage and they not be cold when I bring them in.

  • Trish July 19, 2013, 11:22 pm

    I find it very odd that someone would say that – you are irresponsible for how much food you have. Cultures really vary. We have mammoth refrigerators in the US, and people are in the habit of shopping less frequently. My shopping habits are a reflection of my rural environment – I have to make a specific trip to the store, it’s not on my way anywhere. So I tend to do a bit of stocking up. I know people in the UK tend to shop more frequently and have smaller refrigerators as a result. And friends from France and Italy say that they shop nearly every day. It doesn’t occur to me to stockpile food – more than a weeks worth at a time anyway. I’m actually a little irritated that someone would call you out on that.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:54 am

      When I was growing up my Mom shopped everyday for perishables. I know this is common in France. Not so much here now…maybe due to the large fridges that have become popular in the UK. My fridge is small as is my freezer. When we first moved to this house I planned on changing the fridge (although it is the same size of my previous kitchen). However truly I have found no need to. But in the UK (apart from this Summer – although we have heatwave storms today!) we do not have very hot weather regularly, in fact the opposite is true. It is rare I cannot leave drinks in our garage and they not be cold when I bring them in.

  • Mrs Green @zerowasteweek July 20, 2013, 8:19 pm

    I’ve been finding food is going off quicker here in the UK with recent temperatures, hence my food waste this week of some mouldy strawberries. Like you, the chocolate is in the fridge! Well done on a great achievement this week.
    As for stockpiling – we live in the country and can get snowed in with power cuts, so we have some tins and packets spare for emergencies that can be warmed through on the woodburner. But like you say, it’s not an ‘irresponsible’ thing to compare the needs of a person in one country to another; it’s simply a different lifestyle requirement.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:57 am

      Yes getting snowed in can be an issue in certain parts of the UK. I’m smack back in the middle of a village, a rather suburban one. It hasn’t yet been a problem despite the last 2 winters producing copious amounts of the white stuff – which I love love love! Of course if snow is forecast I do keep extra UHT milk and freeze bread – although one of the reasons I keep yeast in is so should I need to I can make bread. I don’t own any cows so milk wouldn’t be quite so easy ;-).

  • Mrs Green @zerowasteweek July 20, 2013, 8:19 pm

    I’ve been finding food is going off quicker here in the UK with recent temperatures, hence my food waste this week of some mouldy strawberries. Like you, the chocolate is in the fridge! Well done on a great achievement this week.
    As for stockpiling – we live in the country and can get snowed in with power cuts, so we have some tins and packets spare for emergencies that can be warmed through on the woodburner. But like you say, it’s not an ‘irresponsible’ thing to compare the needs of a person in one country to another; it’s simply a different lifestyle requirement.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:57 am

      Yes getting snowed in can be an issue in certain parts of the UK. I’m smack back in the middle of a village, a rather suburban one. It hasn’t yet been a problem despite the last 2 winters producing copious amounts of the white stuff – which I love love love! Of course if snow is forecast I do keep extra UHT milk and freeze bread – although one of the reasons I keep yeast in is so should I need to I can make bread. I don’t own any cows so milk wouldn’t be quite so easy ;-).

  • Clare July 21, 2013, 2:51 am

    I am guilty of not having an emergency food kit. Shameful considering where I live!!! It is on my to-do list and I should probably get on with it! We had a big storm a few weeks ago and I did nip out quickly and get some extra supplies that we could manage on if our power went out, like it had in other parts of the country that had been affected first, but thankfully we were spared disruption. In Auckland, we are generally lulled into a false sense of security as we don’t get many earthquakes (there have only been 4 in my whole life! All of which have been since 2006) and the volcanoes behave themselves, but when you live in a country built on major faultlines, you really do have to be prepared. Wellington (where we were just on holiday) has had about 30 earthquakes (2 biggies, a whole lot of aftershocks) since friday – a good reminder of the shaky isle on which I live. A friend of mine moved to Auckland from Wellington a couple of years ago and a large part of her car boot was taken up with her cherished emergency kit. People take it pretty seriously down there, with good reason. I can understand why you wouldn’t need much where you live, but don’t forget about storms which unexpectedly knock out your power, or illness that keeps everyone housebound. A supply of tinned non-perishable food is not expensive and you can rotate items in and out keeping them fresh.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:59 am

      Hey Clare…I think maybe considering what you have said a kit may be a good idea! haha! Hope you had a great holiday!

  • Clare July 21, 2013, 2:51 am

    I am guilty of not having an emergency food kit. Shameful considering where I live!!! It is on my to-do list and I should probably get on with it! We had a big storm a few weeks ago and I did nip out quickly and get some extra supplies that we could manage on if our power went out, like it had in other parts of the country that had been affected first, but thankfully we were spared disruption. In Auckland, we are generally lulled into a false sense of security as we don’t get many earthquakes (there have only been 4 in my whole life! All of which have been since 2006) and the volcanoes behave themselves, but when you live in a country built on major faultlines, you really do have to be prepared. Wellington (where we were just on holiday) has had about 30 earthquakes (2 biggies, a whole lot of aftershocks) since friday – a good reminder of the shaky isle on which I live. A friend of mine moved to Auckland from Wellington a couple of years ago and a large part of her car boot was taken up with her cherished emergency kit. People take it pretty seriously down there, with good reason. I can understand why you wouldn’t need much where you live, but don’t forget about storms which unexpectedly knock out your power, or illness that keeps everyone housebound. A supply of tinned non-perishable food is not expensive and you can rotate items in and out keeping them fresh.

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 8:59 am

      Hey Clare…I think maybe considering what you have said a kit may be a good idea! haha! Hope you had a great holiday!

  • Kate July 21, 2013, 7:16 am

    This was a thought provoking post. I live in central Florida in the US. This is a hurricane prone area but we also have many fierce lightening storms most days in the summer. I do keep at least a week’s worth of water and food on hand. If we have no power, we have no water since we have a well. I realized that we had much more food than that though and we are working at eating using our stored foods. Interestingly enough, our bill for eating out has gone up. Opps.
    Normally we shop for our food once a month except for milk and fresh veggies. We freeze our bread until we need it. I find this more cost effective and efficient as we can buy cans by the case. We over purchased this winter and gradually our stockpile grew. The foods we like the least are the ones left over and that is what we are now eating….which is also why we have been eating out more. Now that I have realized this, we are going to be not eating out much, we will be using what we have by thinking ahead and planning menus using them OR we will donate the foods we bought but won’t eat. We need to reduce our pantry as there are only two of us now not five.
    I will keep at least a week of emergency foods and drinks still but not six months of food!

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 9:03 am

      I’ve been to Florida and Cancun and have experienced storms almost daily in Aug/Sept. Really powerful ones. I most certainly would keep food in if I lived there! In fact we flew into Miami as the power went out for hours in Aug 2003 – that was unnerving. As I posted above – its all about personal experience. I have never experienced that kind of weather or power outage in the UK. Good luck on the pantry reduction!

  • Kate July 21, 2013, 7:16 am

    This was a thought provoking post. I live in central Florida in the US. This is a hurricane prone area but we also have many fierce lightening storms most days in the summer. I do keep at least a week’s worth of water and food on hand. If we have no power, we have no water since we have a well. I realized that we had much more food than that though and we are working at eating using our stored foods. Interestingly enough, our bill for eating out has gone up. Opps.
    Normally we shop for our food once a month except for milk and fresh veggies. We freeze our bread until we need it. I find this more cost effective and efficient as we can buy cans by the case. We over purchased this winter and gradually our stockpile grew. The foods we like the least are the ones left over and that is what we are now eating….which is also why we have been eating out more. Now that I have realized this, we are going to be not eating out much, we will be using what we have by thinking ahead and planning menus using them OR we will donate the foods we bought but won’t eat. We need to reduce our pantry as there are only two of us now not five.
    I will keep at least a week of emergency foods and drinks still but not six months of food!

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 9:03 am

      I’ve been to Florida and Cancun and have experienced storms almost daily in Aug/Sept. Really powerful ones. I most certainly would keep food in if I lived there! In fact we flew into Miami as the power went out for hours in Aug 2003 – that was unnerving. As I posted above – its all about personal experience. I have never experienced that kind of weather or power outage in the UK. Good luck on the pantry reduction!

  • sarahn July 21, 2013, 11:28 pm

    OH it is contentious – the stockpile or not. I stockpile ingredients that have a great shelf life. But I mean, I have 1-2kgs of flours and sugars and the like. I only have one or two cans of a type of bean, coconut milk, tomatos. The generally rule is to have enough for three days – in that time, things should get back to some level of normal. I’m not sure I’m ready for three days without power (and the food needed) – and I have been meaning to buy a camp stove of sorts, so I could heat food. I never have vegies around – I buy them on a meals basis, which means I seldom have waste. I buy a few pieces of fruit, knowing when I’ll likely eat it too… Admittedly, for one, this works well. For a family, the fruit/vege might not – but then again, if I lived as close to the shops with kids, as I do now, it might just!

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 9:05 am

      Sarah – you have just reminded me we have a camping stove – hurrah! But our kitchen hob is gas also – wondering if gas supply piped into a home could ever be affected? As for veggies I keep some frozen in – even if the power went out they’d last a while!

      • sarahn July 23, 2013, 10:01 pm

        Gas supplies – I’m not sure?! All depends on what type of zombies you have I suppose (ok, well, more natural disaster but still). Frozen stuff would last at least 3 days I think.

  • sarahn July 21, 2013, 11:28 pm

    OH it is contentious – the stockpile or not. I stockpile ingredients that have a great shelf life. But I mean, I have 1-2kgs of flours and sugars and the like. I only have one or two cans of a type of bean, coconut milk, tomatos. The generally rule is to have enough for three days – in that time, things should get back to some level of normal. I’m not sure I’m ready for three days without power (and the food needed) – and I have been meaning to buy a camp stove of sorts, so I could heat food. I never have vegies around – I buy them on a meals basis, which means I seldom have waste. I buy a few pieces of fruit, knowing when I’ll likely eat it too… Admittedly, for one, this works well. For a family, the fruit/vege might not – but then again, if I lived as close to the shops with kids, as I do now, it might just!

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 9:05 am

      Sarah – you have just reminded me we have a camping stove – hurrah! But our kitchen hob is gas also – wondering if gas supply piped into a home could ever be affected? As for veggies I keep some frozen in – even if the power went out they’d last a while!

      • sarahn July 23, 2013, 10:01 pm

        Gas supplies – I’m not sure?! All depends on what type of zombies you have I suppose (ok, well, more natural disaster but still). Frozen stuff would last at least 3 days I think.

  • Jo H. July 23, 2013, 4:49 am

    In our region of Canada, we are advised to have enough canned/packaged foods for one week in case of power outages. It was hard when our kids were young because they didn’t like too many canned foods. Fortunately we never had to live on our stores. We live in a town and power is generally restored quickly. I agree that the needs of people in different places can be very different. Sounds like those critics still have a bit to learn 🙂

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 9:06 am

      Gosh power outages seem to be more common outside the UK. We get a blip from time to time, but literally a few minutes. Hope I’m not speaking too soon!

  • Jo H. July 23, 2013, 4:49 am

    In our region of Canada, we are advised to have enough canned/packaged foods for one week in case of power outages. It was hard when our kids were young because they didn’t like too many canned foods. Fortunately we never had to live on our stores. We live in a town and power is generally restored quickly. I agree that the needs of people in different places can be very different. Sounds like those critics still have a bit to learn 🙂

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 9:06 am

      Gosh power outages seem to be more common outside the UK. We get a blip from time to time, but literally a few minutes. Hope I’m not speaking too soon!

  • rebeccahalpern2013 July 23, 2013, 1:38 pm

    I’m in the UK and agree that power outages are virtually unheard of. I don’t keep much food stored, I have various tins of beans, soup etc in the cupboard but they’re not in there purely for emergencies – when we eat one I replace it straight away (I’m very organised with my shopping!). We have two small supermarkets five minutes walk away and also live near a town centre, so I see no need to stockpile food

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 4:44 pm

      Sounds very similar to my location. The storms subsided here. I would imagine very mediocre compared to what other countries experience!

  • rebeccahalpern2013 July 23, 2013, 1:38 pm

    I’m in the UK and agree that power outages are virtually unheard of. I don’t keep much food stored, I have various tins of beans, soup etc in the cupboard but they’re not in there purely for emergencies – when we eat one I replace it straight away (I’m very organised with my shopping!). We have two small supermarkets five minutes walk away and also live near a town centre, so I see no need to stockpile food

    • simplybeingmum July 23, 2013, 4:44 pm

      Sounds very similar to my location. The storms subsided here. I would imagine very mediocre compared to what other countries experience!

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