The eighth capacity that I introduce in my eBook is that you must [be able to] create palatable dishes with minimal ingredients. In it I state that:
You must “Create palatable dishes with minimal ingredients. Start with stocking a variety of spices [seasonings]. Then look for an assortment of basic recipes you can use… and try them!”
Most of us are accustomed to a wide variety of yummy dishes… our tastebuds are, no doubt, spoiled. While I would like to believe that my family and I would be more than willing to eat nearly anything if we had to, that’s just not the case because of a well-known issue called appetite fatigue, and it is a real “danger” for anyone, especially children.
So, what can you do to combat this problem? There are a few ideas…
Seasonings to the Rescue
The old saying that “variety is the spice of life” didn’t have anything to do with spices (seasonings) for your dishes, but it could be applied similarly to the topic as such: “spices are the variety of life” or something similar. In other words, it’s all about variety, variety, variety!
Include all of the basic seasonings you’re used to—salt and pepper are a must—as well as any other seasonings you use regularly (e.g., cumin, chili powder, lemon pepper, garlic and onion powders, etc) although it doesn’t have to be these, in particular. Just open your pantry and take stock. Then choose to stock up. If you choose to shop at a wholesaler such as Sam’s Club you can find many common seasonings in huge containers that will last for years.
Additionally, it couldn’t hurt to stock any number of other seasonings that you might not use as much because you never know what seasonings might be needed for any given recipe. Perhaps these are best purchased in smaller quantities, however.
I would also encourage you to keep more than just the aforementioned seasonings. An assortment of sauces and gravies (dry packed and canned) are equally important to ensuring you avoid appetite fatigue. Beef and chicken bouillon cubes are good to keep around as well.
Recipes Round it Out
Unless you’re a naturally-born cook (I am not one) you’re going to want/need a wide assortment of recipes to follow. While your trusty Betty Crocker cookbook would prove useful in normal times, you may find that it is not the best resource when you’re cooking from foods found in your food storage pantry.
What to do? Have a variety of different “basic” recipes on hand. In particular, you’ll want recipes that are specifically created to utilize your food pantry items (e.g., wheat, flour, dried beans).
Fortunately, there are plenty of such basic recipes that can be found here. I’ve even gone so far as to create a unique Excel-based Food Storage Recipe database that lists several hundred recipes; best of all is that subscribers may freely download this unique database. Obviously, a computer program won’t do much good unless you can access it. You can, however, certainly begin to use the recipes found within to create an assortment of new dishes, print out recipes you enjoy, and begin to explore your food pantry.
Experiment, Experiment, Experiment
The last (and perhaps most important aspect) of this capacity is that you should experiment with your recipes and spices as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to try new things and see what happens. It’s better to figure out what works and what doesn’t now while there’s no problem if you ruined the first three attempts at a new recipe.
This is also a great opportunity to experiment with new cooking methods, such as campfire cooking, solar ovens, and even using your trusty BBQ grill to cook foods in new ways.