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By Kellene Bishop

 

spam-in-a-canI’ve encountered some pretty strong facial expressions when I insinuate that having SPAM in one’s food storage is an asset.  And to be forthright, I totally get it.  Even when we were dirt poor, my mother never made us eat it.  However, I wasn’t educated in matters of emergency preparedness then either.  But I certainly am now, and as a result, have come to embrace the wonders of SPAM.  I’ve discovered that if I cook with it much like I would chicken or pork in a recipe, then it’s delightful.

 

And no, the irony that I’m writing about SPAM today in face of the Swine Flu has not escaped me.  I guess I’m just warped that way.  

 

I have some great recipes that I’ve tried out and adapted for “food storage” available ingredients, but before I do that, I thought I’d share a couple of factoids about SPAM for you.

 

A 2 ounce serving contains 7 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat—two important components for the body during an emergency.

 

Residents of Hawaii and Guam consume the most amount of SPAM per capita than any of the other areas, including 41 countries in which SPAM is sold.  In fact, SPAM is sold on the McDonald’s menu in Guam and the Burger King menu in Hawaii—known as the “Hawaiian Steak.” 

spam-soldier-eatingSPAM was widely used during World War II in Okinawa and the Philippines due to it being an effective way to get meat to the front lines.  Soldiers had to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  As such, they began to joke that SPAM was simply “ham that didn’t pass its physical” or “meatloaf without basic training.”  Surpluses of SPAM from the soldiers’ supplies made their way into native diets.  Consequently, SPAM is a unique part of the history and effects of U.S. influence in the Pacific.  

SPAM comes in 12 different flavor varieties, including garlic, hot and spicy, and a roasted turkey version.

Due to its low cost, it’s long been stigmatized as “poor people food.”

 

SPAM is consumed all over the world in fried rice, stir fried with noodles, in sandwiches, burritos, and fried on the sides and served with eggs.  It’s even been used in sushi rolls.

 

Every year, Austin, MN has a Jam celebration in honor of the food which includes fireworks and a carnival-type setting. Waikiki, HI does something similar as well each year.  Austin, TX holds a Spamarama each year which conducts a Cook-off Contest as well.

 

My suggestion is that you begin familiarizing yourself with SPAM now, so that you can successfully use it in your meal preparation in the (not so distant?) future.

Fritatta

3 tbsp butter or oleo or vegetable oil                  
7-oz can SPAM, cubed 1/4"
1/2 cup of dried chopped onion                      
10 pitted black olives, chopped
1/2 cup of dried chopped green pepper        
6 eggs (or equivalent of dried eggs, rehydrated)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (or dried equivalent)
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp pepper

In 10-inch omelet pan or skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add onion, green pepper and potatoes; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisply tender (5 to 7 minutes).  Add SPAM and olives; continue cooking until SPAM is heated through.  Loosen sautéed ingredients from bottom of pan; add remaining 1 tbsp butter.  Tilt pan to cover bottom with butter.  In small bowl mix eggs, water, and pepper; pour over SPAM mixture.  Cover; cook over low heat 12 to 15 minutes or until egg mixture is set on top.  With pancake turner, loosen edges and bottom; invert onto serving platter.  Yield: 6 servings

Hearty Spam and Bean Soup

2 cups dried pinto beans, wash and soak overnight (or make this in a pressure cooker)
12 oz can SPAM, cubed 1/2"           
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 quart water       
3 bay leaves
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cumin
2 (13-oz) cans tomato juice              
1 (14-oz) cans chicken stock            
1 medium onion, chopped (or dried equivalent)                        

In 4-quart saucepan add all ingredients; stir to blend.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened (3 to 4 hours or 30 minutes in a pressure cooker).  Remove bay leaves.  Yield: 6 servings

Spaghetti SPAM Carbonara  

1 1/2 lbs spaghetti             
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil                     
12-oz can SPAM, cubed 1/4"           
1/2 cup chopped onion                     
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
ground pepper

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in skillet cook SPAM and onion in oil and butter over medium heat until lightly browned.  Set aside.  When spaghetti is cooked, drain; return to pot.  Add eggs; toss to combine.  Add SPAM mixture, cheese and parsley; toss to combine.  Season to taste with pepper.  Serve immediately.  Yield: 6 servings.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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When most people think about eating from their food storage, they think about mundane wheat, rice, and beans.  If I had to live on that, I may very well starve to death out of boredom, also known as “appetite fatigue.”   There are two key ways to avoid this from happening to you and your family if you’re forced to live off of food storage. 
 
1)    Store what you eat
2)   Learn to use what you store
 
While this may sound simple, I find that frequently when I evaluate a person’s food storage they are storing items which they have no idea how to convert into an edible food and in some cases they are even storing items which they are allergic to!
 
whole-wheat-bread-pierrotsomepeopleHere are the facts.  If you attempt to go from what you’re eating every day now to surviving off of whole wheat, you will be dead within 3 months from the shock of what the wheat will do to your digestive system.  If you intend to use wheat in an emergency, you better begin acclimating your body to wheat right now.  (It’s the only reason why I learned to make bread, but boy are my husband and father-in-law glad I did. They love my bread!)
 
So introducing wheat into your diet on a daily basis now is one way to avoid shocking your system literally to death.  And it’s part of the fundamental of “learning to use what you store.”  I’ve had one woman show me her ample supplies to make some wonderful sounding dishes, but she’s never attempted to make them for herself or her family. That’s a catastrophe waiting to happen.
 
Remember, the time for preparation is over when the opportunity (or disaster) appears.
 
Another way to prevent a system shock when you’re forced to convert your lifestyle as the result of an emergency is to store items such as Kamut, Amarath, Quinoa, Millet, and Spelt. These types of grains mixed in generously with wheat will prevent the negative effects of shocking your body with straight wheat.  Oh, and by the way, be sure you learn how to eat these items as well.  (Yes, you can sprout them also).
 
Given the choices though, I prefer to introduce wheat into my body regularly.  The reason being is that the other grain choices above are 4 to 10 times more expensive than wheat.  And that’s saying a lot considering how much wheat has gone up in pricing over the last 2 years. 
 
Learning to use what you store also requires a level of awareness. As you use recipes in your regular meal making activities, ask yourself if you have the items necessary to create such a meal with what you’ve got in storage (This includes what you may need to actually cook the meal with such as a Dutch Oven, Solar Oven, alternatively fueled stoves, etc. I frequently use my Joy Cook stoves for testing emergency preparedness recipes. They are made in Korea and I always see them being sold at sporting goods stores as well as trade shows for camping, boating and guns). 
 
I also specifically look for recipes in which I can adapt the items easily, or already stock in my food storage. For example, today I played around with using peanut butter, ginger vinaigrette and fettuccine.  It turned out nicely.  But then again I like Thai flavored types of food as well.  My husband on the other hand… not so much. Back to the drawing board for me on that one, I guess. 
 
Here is the recipe for you to test out on your finicky eaters:
 
Ginger Peanut Fettuccine
1 box of (8 oz.) of fettuccine
½ cup of peanut butter (crunchy is ideal for this recipe)
¾ cup of ginger vinaigrette dressing
1 tablespoon of minced garlic.  (I buy mine by the large jar and use it all year round)
Reserve 1 ¼ cup of the pasta water
 
Cook fettuccine according to box directions.  Drain completely, setting aside the reserved pasta water.  Set aside your pasta while you make the sauce.  Returning your pan to the hot surface, simply add your garlic, dressing, peanut butter and pasta water, stirring until smooth.  Add cooked pasta. Stir well until mixed. 
Makes four servings which include necessary fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.  I like to sprinkle a bit of dried parsley over each serving as well.
 
Enjoy! 
 
I’ll address more of the fundamental of “storing what you eat” in future blogs.
 
Kellene

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.  

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