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My wife was living on the coast of Mississippi when hurricane Katrina struck. I’ll get into the details of her experience in another post, but for now I want to talk about what they ate in the days after the hurricane passed. They were without power for two weeks, but fortunately her father had a generator so they were able to keep the refrigerator and the microwave going. But since there was a limited amount of fuel, they had to start grilling the food in the freezer before it went bad. Over the next several days they ate steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers while neighbors went to the local high school to wait in the hot sun for MRE’s.
I bring up that story for two reasons: 1) It’s a good example of how much better life can be after a disaster when you’re prepared. 2) It’s a good example of what not to do in certain scenarios. It’s no secret that one of my biggest concerns is economic collapse. Every year it becomes more likely that an economic collapse will be the next disaster you face. When it happens, things might be relatively calm for the first day or two. But after a few days your neighbors will begin to realize the government is not going to save them. When that happens, the sound of your generator and the smell of delicious grilled meat is going to attract them like flies.
Don’t get me wrong, I think having a generator, extra charcoal or propane tanks and a freezer full of food is a great idea. But only if you’re not surrounded by starving neighbors. If you’re stuck in the city after a sudden economic collapse, you want to attract as little attention as possible. That means you don’t want to make too much noise (no generators!), you don’t want to shine any bright lights (get some blackout curtains), and you don’t want people to smell your food.
How are you supposed to cook food without people smelling it? For one thing, don’t use your grill. Cook indoors instead, and don’t use any pungent spices. But honestly, your best bet is to eat foods that don’t need to be cooked. I’m talking about non-perishable foods that come in cans, bags and boxes. Better yet, eat dehydrated fruits and vegetables. That will help counteract the high sodium content of the canned food. Uncooked food can be a little boring, but it’s better than having hungry looters at your doors and windows.