Friday, August 17, 2012

Preparation is Key

We had a Relief Society meeting last night at church (for the women in our group) about emergency preparedness. This is something that we talk a lot about in the states, but it takes on a different meaning here.

Probably because at home, I have - well, had - enough food to sustain our family for a few months at least. Here - I could MAYBE make it until Wednesday of next week. Yes, less than 1 week and we're completely out of food. This causes me a little bit of stress. We do live in an earthquake prone area; and as civilized as it is here in big city Santiago, I don't quite trust their emergency response preparedness. Mostly because I am uneducated about it. But relying on the Chilean government to help me if there is a major disaster - isn't my idea of a fall-back plan. Sure we have registered with the US Embassy, but still. I need some supplies for my family in the meantime.

The subject has been on my mind lately. I've spoken to a few expat families that have recently arrived here (within the last year) and asked how they are working on preparing their families. Many brought the contents of their homes with them - food storage included. We did not. But the one piece of advice that I hear over and over: Get water. If there were an earthquake, you'll need water. So I've been stocking up. Grabbing a few extra liters every time I go to the store. I've been filling empty water bottles with tap water and labeling them as such. The tap water is drinkable, but it doesn't really agree with the kids and I. Greg, with his stomach of steel, doesn't have any trouble with it. Worse case, he can drink that :)

Back to our Relief Society meeting last night. I (obviously) don't speak a lick of spanish, but was able to gather the idea. They had put together what I assume to be their 72 hour kits for each member of the family. I've seen all of this before - but there were a few little tweaks on the basic kit that I learned and loved. I wanted to share those ideas with you.

First: Pack your food into empty 3-liter soda bottles. Now granted the 3-liter soda bottle is something you don't typically find in the states, but this was too cool. They cut around the top portion of the soda bottle, just before it starts to taper to the lid, and filled it with lipton soup packets, broth packets, packets of tuna, medication, money, everything you'd need for 72 hours if you had to grab and go. They then took the top of the bottle and with clear packing tape, put it back together. This is such a great idea. It's slender and easily fits into a regular sized backpack. They labeled the outside with the contents and listed the meal combinations. I couldn't read that - but they said to find the list of ideas on Very cool.

Second: They made something called "Eternal Bread". Apparently, it's good for eternity - it NEVER goes bad, doesn't need refrigeration, or freezing. I know, I was skeptical too. Anything that is mold/spoil proof must be gross and made of cardboard. But I am telling you - this was yummy! I'm going to attempt to share the recipe here:

Pan de Supervivencia o Eterno (Bread of Eternal Survival)

2 cups regular oats
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 cup sugar (brown or white)
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons water
40 grams gelatin powder (Whatever flavor you like - I preferred the unflavored as it tasted like honey. I also tried strawberry, it was a little too sweet for me, but still yummy)

In a bowl, mix oatmeal, powdered milk and sugar.

In a pot, stir together honey, gelatin and water. Bring to a boil, the immediately remove it from the heat.

Add dry ingredients and stir. You will need to use your hands to mix it well. Shape it into two loaves. Place bread on a cookie sheet cover with butcher paper (to prevent sticking) and bake for 20-23 minutes in a preheated oven.

Remove from the oven while bread is still slightly soft. It will harden as it cools. You can cut it while still warm into 2 1/2 inch thick slices, or keep it as a loaf. Wrap it in foil and place in an airtight container.

In an emergency, eat a portion in the morning and another in the afternoon, plus a glass of water. This can serve as a daily ration to sustain life.

If you save this bread, it can be used indefinitely, but to take advantage of its nutritional value, it is recommended to be used within 6 months and then immediately replaced.

AH HA!!! So it IS good forever - but only good FOR YOU for 6 months. This makes a little more sense... Still, not very expensive, easy to make and really tasty.

We also had the Young Women teach us how to make two very tasty desserts. The one that I loved looked a little yucky in the pan - but tasted like heaven. Serious heaven.

It was a jar of majar which is a carmel like yumminess. A small box of creme and crushed up soda crackers. I know - gross right? NOT AT ALL> this was the yummiest thing I've had in a long time. Granted, it is a beige colored, chunky mess in the pan (it's a no-bake dessert) but one bite and you're hooked. I'm going out tonight to get a jar of majar. So dang good! I'll have to take a photo for you when I make it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it...

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