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How to Make Famine Chow

Recently found a forum post on how to make famine chow according to its author. Can’t say I’ve attempted the mixture yet (or will anytime soon) but since it would make use of common food storage items, the knowledge may come in handy.

The ingredients according to the author include:

  • 50% by volume ground wheat, corn, barley or any other grain.
  • 30% by volume ground beans, peas, soybeans, lentils or other legumes
  • 10% by volume vegetable oil of any kind
  • 10% by volume sugar, honey, molasses or other sweetener
  • Salt to taste.

My Experience: I finally decided to try this. I choose to use wheat, pinto beans, olive oil, honey, and no salt as my ingredients. Since the author did not give very specific instructions, I took him at his word and choose to mix up about a cup total of the aforementioned ingredients and began to boil in two cups water as per the instructions. I found, however, that about four or five minutes into the boiling process the mixture was really beginning to stick to the bottom of the pot; this was something he did warn about. As a result (and the fact that the mixture really looked done) I pulled it off the stove and tried a bite.

While I can say that it looked quite like oatmeal, it did taste a bit closer to a bland cream of wheat. Since I added the honey into the mixture in the beginning, I don’t think my famine chow was nearly as sweet as it should be had I choose to add the honey after cooking. I think next time I will add a good portion of salt to the mix as well. As for the texture, even though I ground up the wheat and beans in a small coffee bean grinder until it looked like powder, the inevitable larger chunk of wheat or bean ended up in the mixture, which resulted in a crunchier taste that I would like. Maybe I should have soaked the wheat and pinto beans overnight? I assumed this answer was a “no” because the chow is expected to be dry until used. Or, perhaps I simply didn’t cook it enough.

Regardless, I would say this was edible and the several bites I choose to eat were certainly filling. Had I choose to eat the entire bowl I would imagine I wouldn’t have wanted to eat until the next day. :)

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