One of the King Bee's more muted hobbies is emergency preparedness.
Now, I dislike the term "prepper" because in my mind it conjures images of lunatic right wing fringe characters shouting at a TV screen about the mark of the beast and this or that new agenda, but you can't argue with the old boy scout adage "Be prepared"
After water and shelter, Food is the most important need for getting through the day. And having a backup stash of food beyond a couple cans of tuna and some black beans, I figured i might want to look into some long term food storage. I did a little shopping and came across the "Wise Grab-and-Go gourmet entree kit". Now this seemed like a great idea at first but once it was delivered I quickly grew WISE to the scam! See what I did there?
Now, every bulk emergency food bucket out there typically lists a large number of "servings" which is a little misleading to me. You may find a "320 servings" kit out there but what isnt immediately clear is that 20 of those servings are something liquid like "Lemonaid drink mix" or 30 servings of "dehydrated milk powder" or 15 servings of "brown gravy dressing", These arent servings in the sense that I would imagine, these are simply components of a larger meal. When I think "serving", I think of a singular entree to be consumed by one person. But this disconnect seems to be industry wide so clearly the mistake is on me!
But the Wise Food Storage kit listed "Entrees only" which in my mind is a slam dunk! It's advertised in several places as "Enough food for one person for one month! Two entrees a day for 30 days!" No powdered drink mix, no greasy butter cookie, just a dinner.... Chicken Soup... Pork and Rice... your basic dehydrated meal staples! A 25 year shelf life, only component needed is water and a spoon and you're golden!
The meals arrive in a black sealed bucket, its not heavy at all and its handy, you can always use a bucket in an emergency. Inside the bucket there are 15 packets of food, 8 different meals (a couple doubles) each packet contains 4 servings of that entree. but once I read the label it becomes clear that this is not the boon from the retail gods I thought it was...
As the advertisement repeats several times "Two entrees daily for one adult for a month" meaning that if you crack open and prepare one of those 4 serving packets, that packet had better last you two days, which in my mind means you're packing around a day old sack of cold mush to enjoy the next day. Aside from how unappealing that sounds, consider the food poisoning you leave yourself open to because odds are if you're down to eating dehydrated food, a working refrigerator seems an unlikely prospect. So maybe you're better off sharing with a friend.
But you'd better hope your friend is imaginary! Because upon further reading I discover that each serving is on average only about 220 calories, so if you follow the serving recommendations of the Wise Food Storage company, in your supposed emergency scenario, you're only getting 440 calories a day. Now I'm not a doctor, nor am I a dietician but I feel confident in stating that if you follow their lead the "Wise Grab-and-Go gourmet entree kit" could last significantly longer than one month due to the simple fact that you will probably die.
Maybe if your emergency scenario involves you sitting very still 24 hours a day its possible to sustain yourself but that seems unlikely. The human body already wants around 1800 calories a day just to maintain, so gosh help you if you actually have to build or find shelter, or scavenge for supplies on 440 calories a day. The whole bucket only contains about 13,000 calories and so if you really splurge and treat yourself to a 1000 calorie emergency scenario diet you're still out of food in less than two weeks.
So realistically, I just spent around $120 on a weeks worth of food for myself that I can leave in the cupboard for the next 25 years. This is not a good deal, I'm quite certain there are better options out there that that may not last as long on the shelf but they wont hit you so hard in the wallet so I'm headed back to the hive to drum up some new ideas but I encourage everyone to share their experiences or ideas related to stocking up for those rainy days.