Your Hoarding Is My Prudent Preparation

On Lou Dobs tonight, Sonny Perdue, Dept. Of Ag., was talkng dirt about food “hoarding”. Saying to only buy a week worth at a time and assuring everyone we had oodles in storage.

Well, I grew up with Depression Era parents who taught me it was prudent to keep a well stocked pantry. Dad was from a farm in Iowa, where you stored the fall harvest to eat through winter and until the first harvest of summer vegetables. The self sufficient farm ethos is to be stocked enough to survive even through a bad crop year. The Bible exhorts to have 7 years grain in the granaries.

So I have always kept at least a few weeks of food on hand, and often a few months. It has been very useful when I have been “suddenly between jobs”.

Now compare two scenarios:

The Government way:

I’m told to shelter in place for two weeks, while avoiding any groups, but need groceries to do it. I’m tossed into the grocery store line along with everyone else. No avoiding groups there. Then, every week or two, me and a few hundred neighbors will share air and touch pads buying another few days of food, now that the first burst was restocked. The virus will love that.

The Prepper:

In addition to my emergency store of mostly dry beans, rice & noodles, starting about 2 months ago, I slowly bought about 2 months of food, filled the freezer and fridge, and stocked a cupboard of canned goods. No disruption to anyone. Plenty of time for the store to restock. When the announcement came, I was not part of the problem. I was at home. Now there was just that much more on the shelves for everyone else. Not only that, but my added demand a month ago will have caused increased orders to the warehouse. So more ready to ship to stores. Increasing the supply chain volume. Then, for the duration of the pandemic, I ought to be able to avoid the Grocery Store Germ Exchange. Wins all around for everyone.

Now, about all that food in storage in the supply chain:

First off, not a peep about the beans, rice, noodles and other dry goods that are the core of prepping. No mention of canned goods, the other big pillar. It was all meat, dairy, frozen stuff. Things not the stuff of prepping for disaster. Then, to make me feel good, they quote the stock in pounds. Not tons. B is billion.

1.3 B cheese
19  B milk
38  M eggs
1.1 B red meat
1.3 B poultry
2.1 B frozen vegetables
1.2 B frozen fruit

Sure sounds like a lot, huh. But with about 1/3 Billion people (330 million) in the USA. that 1.3 Billion pounds of chicken is about 4 pounds per person. One big package of parts. Not quite a whole chicken.

Lets restate that chart in pounds per person, shall we:

3.9  cheese
57   milk  (or about 7 gallons)
0.1  eggs
3.3  red meat
3.9  poultry
6.3  frozen vegetables
3.6  frozen fruit

Plenty of milk, but I’d bet that includes a lot destined to become cheese.
3 pounds of red meat gets me through a week. Half a chicken good for dinner and a later lunch. Maybe. But I get 2 eggs for breakfast… if small ones. Plus, a bag of cheese shreds, block of cheddar, and some slices.

Not exactly the thing to inspire confidence in their ability to keep me fed for a month of isolation…

In the mean time, yesterday I turned a can of SPAM, some dry onion granules & garlic, and a quart of dry beans into over 3 quarts of flavored beans that I’ll be eating over the next week or three… and not being in lines at the grocer, not putting strain on deliveries.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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16 Responses to Your Hoarding Is My Prudent Preparation

  1. Geoff Cruickshank says:

    Yep. We watched as you did it, way before anyone else was taking it seriously, and did similarly ourselves. Our cupboards are usually stocked with multiples anyway, because the nearest shop is 20 kms away. Reminds me that at Xmas, son’s girlfriend looked about her and said ‘are you expecting the end of the world or something?’
    Yes actually.

  2. jim2 says:

    I added extra storage shelves several years ago and have two freezers. So we typically have at least two weeks of food if not more. We beefed up supplies about a month ago and now very happy we did!

  3. David A says:

    Posts here inspired us to do likewise.
    So E.M. your example subtracted from the ongoing rush helped reduce that rush y much more then your personal actions. And it is likely many of us informed family and friends as well.

  4. p.g.sharrow says:

    Hoarding ? what is that? I normally try to have several months of supplies on hand if I can. I grew up in uncivilized areas where you might be a month or more from re-provisioning. and income iffy for long periods. Having food in the pantry was insurance for hard times! Country people survive because they plan on hardship and share with their neighbors who also plan on hard times. City people expect the “Government” to protect them. Country people expect the government to raid them.

  5. H.R. says:

    p.g.: “City people expect the “Government” to protect them. Country people expect the government to raid them.”

    Instant classic!

  6. Tom Shiel. says:

    One of our larger local (10-15 miles away is local for me) food markets has decided to open two hours early (0500), three days per week, for seniors only. Since they clean and restock at night, and few others will go out that early, I will soon be tempted to venture out to restock my perishables before they stop doing this for lack of response.

    Other than perishables, staples and frozen are normally stocked off our land and otherwise when on deep discount. Few look at one strange for “power buying” the super sale! There is a real danger at my location of being “snowed in” so non-sale items are usually topped off by October. Wuhan virus (and this blog) motivated me to start restocking early.

    I’ve always thought that “hoarding” is a government excuse to seize whatever it wants from whomever has enough to make it worth the effort. Obviously bare store shelves are not caused by “prudent squirrels” (hoarders) but by panicked grasshoppers and/or profiteers.

  7. michaelh says:

    I agree with what you said, completely.

    I think as a general message to the public, anyone who is trying to hoard *right now* waited far too late, and is causing a lot of harm to the supply chain.

    As a general message, at this point in time, I think it’s fine.

    But I don’t think he’s directing this to people who know how to plan in advance and prepare season after season for eventualities.

    The Bible teaches the value of prudence and storing the blessings of the land. Sadly many people are not informed by Biblical wisdom – they take our wealth and abundance for granted until such time as there is an emergency or a shortage.

    I’m hoping that this serves as a huge wake-up call to a generation that delusionally already believes it is “woke”.

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    I also grew up in a very religious farm town. Easily half the town had a one year food storage plan due to religious guidance, and most families had someone who knew how to do canning (it was a major local industry). There’s a lot of wisdom in those old books.

  9. jim2 says:

    I think every woman in my extended family canned every year. It was a party!!

  10. philjourdan says:

    Corollary, Price gouging. Does not exist. The law of supply and demand, When the supply is low, the price rises. I hate that government intervention in the free market. It may not be nice, but if the supply is not there and the demand is, it works. That is called rationing. There are 2 ways to ration Bureaucrat clowns or the market.

    Which one never gets it right?

  11. Gail Combs says:

    Like the rest of you I did my buying over time. I got a new chest freezer for my birthday so I have been stocking it whenever there were sales (four 20# turkeys @ $0.29)

    I also turned a nice bone from a shoulder pork roast, a pkg of 15 bean soup, onion celery, hamburger and sausage into a yummy soup two days ago. What we did not eat got popped into the freezer along with most of the cooked pork.

    Last night was eggplant lasagna.

    You can cook the eggplant strips (bake or sautee in oil) place on wax paper and freeze for later use.

    The eggplant strips can then be used in lasagna or musakka.

    (The old recipe I like seems to have disappeared from the internet DRAT!)
    For spices I use
    1/3 cumin
    1/3 cinnamon
    1/3 allspice

    The filling for strips of 3 eggplants is:
    1 kilo sauteed ground meat (venison, hamburger, goat mutton, lamb…)
    large onion
    can chick peas (I sometimes use fresh or you can use dried, soaked over night)

    Under the last layer of eggplant (the top) you sprinkle the combined spices
    Bake in Pyrex 2-Quart Baking Dishes (3) @ 325 for ~ 15 to 20 minutes.

    What is nice is it tastes fine cold and can go with you in a cooler when you travel.

  12. H.R. says:

    How about goatburgers on the grill, Gail? ;o)

    I like goat but it’s only available whole around my neck of the woods. It’s sold to the Middle-Eastern crowd. I’ve had it on my trips to Jamaica fixed as a ragout and jerked.

    Maybe I should open a Goat-To-Go drive-through chain, since dine-in has been shut down most everywhere. I think America is ready for goat-on-a-bun with fries or onion rings on the side. “Would you like cheese on that goatburger, sir?”

    I’m only 1/2 kidding. It could work if done right.

  13. H.R. says:

    P.S. You could sell the triple-stacked “Big Billy”, the single “Nanny”, and of course there is a “Kid” menu.
    OK. I see some potential trouble with that last one. Perhaps it’s a bit too Swiftian.

  14. Ossqss says:

    @HR, I suspect you last post is contributing to this syndrone ;-)

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    Goat tsstes a lot like mutton. I love the stronger flavor (compared to lamb).

    I wanted Nubian Miniature Goats, but the spouse (and city…) won’t let me raise them.

  16. Compu Gator says:

    The supply chain for coveted paper products is getting closer to normal in Orlando [@]. Various family members have recently scored toilet paper [*] and paper towels of name-brands, dating back to Wednesday (03-25) at Costco, Dollar General, and Publix, as sold on a 1-package/customer basis. The products are not persistently back in stock; stumbling onto exercises in staff restocking the shelves still requires the Grace of God or just plain luck. But the corporate tractor-trailers seem to be arriving for restocking with increasing frequency [#].

    Note @: I’m unsure how our situation benefits from U.S. regional-industry specializations. New England famously had plenty of physical water-power for their industrial revolution, but maybe access to modern-industrial-scale electric power is all that matters nowadays.

    Note *: Why in hey-yell is it labelled “bath tissue“? Whether taking a hasty shower or a leisurely tub bath, that “tissue” is useless for scrubbing off dirt & pathinogens.

    Note #: As an habitual ‘night owl’, I take great pleasure in advising smugly preachy practitioners of Northeast-Coast ‘early bird’ habits that the eagerly hoped-for truck arrivals are more likely in the afternoons, not shortly after sunrise (according to store staff)..

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