Disasters are stressful, no question about it. The power goes out, maybe the water and heat along with it. The kids are whining and probably at least a little scared. You and your spouse are edgy, perhaps getting more than a little short with each other. You’re all stuck at home, either because the roads are terrible or because there’s just no place to go, no stores or restaurants are open.
This is just the time to break into your junk food storage to bring a bit of comfort.
Comfort food is just that, food that provides psychological, if not physical, comfort. It does so not because it is chock full of nutritious goodness but, in many cases at least, because it doesn’t do a damn thing for you but taste good. Much of the time, comfort foods are what we call “junk food”.
Junk food is a guilty pleasure. We know we shouldn’t eat very much of it. We know that fruits and vegetables are a far better, healthier choice for snacking. But, y’know what? Sometimes a body just needs salt, grease, and chocolate!
Now, I’m not suggesting you abandon your food storage plans and get rid of the home canned veggies, the soups, the stews, and all that good stuff. What I am suggesting, though, is you add to your storage at least a few selections from the shady side of the food pyramid.
Popcorn is a great choice, but go for the bagged, already popped, corn. Keep in mind that in an emergency, your ability to cook, whether with a microwave or stove top, may be limited. While yes, it is great fun to make popcorn the old fashioned way, with oil and a pan over a flame, that just might not be feasible depending upon the nature of the crisis. Some movie theaters sell gigantic bags of pre-popped popcorn already salted and ready to eat.
Chips are usually a hit as well. Many varieties will stay fresh a while as long as the bags are sealed. My own preference is for nacho cheese Doritos. Seriously, Doritos ranks rather high on my list of things I’m going to miss should the world come crashing down around my ears.
Of course, candy and chocolate deserve to be included on our list of comfort foods. Ideally, you already have a nice cool, dark spot in your house where you’re storing much of your disaster supplies. A few chocolate bars, maybe a few boxes of theater candy, and an assortment of other sugary goodies would be a great addition to the home emergency kit.
Most junk food isn’t packaged in a way that is intended for long-term food storage. Cookies, candy, crackers, and even smaller chips like Fritos will need to be repackaged if you plan on having junk food storage.
Now, I will readily admit that I’m a fiend for soda and I drink far more of it than is healthy for anyone. That said, I do actually drink less now than I did when I was younger, so that’s a step in the right direction. If you have a similar fixation on carbonated beverages, you might consider packing a few cans or bottles in with the other comfort foods. Keep in mind, though, that most of these fizzy drinks don’t have a very long shelf life. A bottle of soda I bought today at a convenience store is showing an expiration date about ten weeks from now. I can tell you from experience that, unlike the expiration dates you’ll find on other food products, the ones listed on Mountain Dew bottles are pretty factual. I tried a bottle once that was about two months out of date. That, um, did not go well.
I strongly suggest that any food items be stored in some sort of pest-proof container. A small Rubbermaid tote would work well, as would any other container made from heavy plastic that has a tight lid. It wouldn’t be very comforting to open up your box of goodies only to find that mice have made a nice home out of the now-empty chip bags. Keep in mind the enemies of food storage, rotate your junk food (that probably won’t be a problem!), and keep a stash for those stressful post-crisis days.