Sweets and treats in a survival situation

Congratulations to Jack for winning the Ontario Rat 5 knife from our survivalist gifts post. We wrote down all names of commenters and people from Facebook and pulled one.

survival food

We all like to think about and imagine how SHTF will change us, but it is almost impossible to know how we will react on whole set of new things that SHTF will bring to us.

People think that it will be something like sharp cut and prompt change, like today it is SHTF and we are different people with different reactions. It would be cool, but it is not like that for most of us.

Some changes will happen over the time, and we may not be aware of it at all. One of the obvius changes (and probably most interesting changes for online community of preppers because of movies) is different relationship to violence issues, for example over the time you learn to react different to violence, and doing violence.

Other may be living with dirt and being more dirty and accepting it. With each accepting of the above you are kinda losing your old life, becoming different.

Also some small things can provoke you to act like animal, some things that remind you of your old and normal life. Today I want to speak about experience I had during my time in war. It is related to this time of the year with christmas and holidays coming. It is about treats and pleasures.

Once, few months after the s. hit the fan, during one of the constant tours to find anything useful I stumbled across something special. This gives you idea how “low” you go, or better how high our standards are now. It showed me how thin that layer is that makes us „normal“ people.

It was around midnight and we chose some partially ruined house as a temporary shelter from fire outside and rain too. I was with friend there. We chose one room inside house which still had part of the ceiling above our heads to shelter from rain.

We were smoking one cigarette passing it between us when I realized that I actually sit on some box that is partially buried under the rubble. We started to dig and clear trash from it.

After few minutes we found out that it is big military wooden box, used for long term storing of various items. When SHTF and everything fell apart I remember seeing people dragging similar boxes from army storages.

It was pretty heavy, obviously full of whatever.

Of course we immediately started to imagine what could be inside, ammo, weapons, boots, maybe uniforms… My friend already whispered: „man, imagine, new boots maybe?“

When we opened it at the first moment in dark I thought it is full of some small toys or similar, because I saw big pile of small plastic packages, but then I took few of those small items and I froze like someone pointed rifle in my face from that box.

It was full of small packaged cocoa spreads, kinda like cheap spreads that can be served in hotels with your breakfast, or in this case it was probably meant to be used for military meals or similar. Something that you could find in a version of MRE.

It was cheap stuff and not really tasteful, in normal times I would not eat that stuff. It was like you trying to chew sweetened sand.

In that moment I could barely remember when I ate something sweet, something like junk sweet, chocolates, bars, candys, cakes or similar. If you ever go on longer hiking trip and eat same stuff every day for just 2 weeks and then come back to civilization and eat something you have experienced something like this. Now imagine months. My friend said: „Man! Screw the boots, this is jack pot“.

I do not remember how much of that stuff I ate there in that room with view on half ceiling and half rainy night, but I remember seeing my friend eating that stuff on a way that he put whole thing inside his mouth, chew the plastic package, eat spread, then spit chewed plastic.

Probably I eat it in same way, it helps that in dark we did not see how dirty the packages were, and of course nobody even remember to check expiration date.

I would eat even if it was printed „expired“ on it, or maybe even „toxic from Chernobyl“. It did not matter.

It was so sweet and good in that moment. It was not only food, calories, energy if you want. It was something like drug for us. Reminder of normal days. With chewing it and eating it we were living normal life for some time I guess.

I chewed it, and I know in that moment that I am probably gonna have some serious problems with my stomach that it „forgot to process“ stuff like that but I did not care.

People said that in some moments you can be turned in animal, you can be driven by simplest and maybe lowest instinct. And in the same time they imagine that happens only in certain situations, combat, great fear or similar. That’s not true.

I experienced before and later many similar events and feelings, many fights, blood, fears, you name it. But that event with those cocoa spreads was something weird.

Later while I was crouching outside my house, having diarrhea and throwing up at same time, I felt like ****, but I did not regret or wanting to trade eating all of those cocoa spreads. I kept some for myself and from time to time I ate it in something like ritual.

When all was finished, and war was over I forgot that. Years later I found something very similar like that spread. I bought it and tried it. It didn’t taste good at all, and I threw it away.

Point is that you never know how much you will appreciate things, until actually SHTF. So for your preps, stock some “pleasure goods” like cocoa drink mixes in little sachets or coffee mix, they will be valuable.

For the holiday season take your meal or treats sometimes with you to a place quiet and without distraction and enjoy them. It is easy to forget what we have now, so I encourage everyone be extra grateful in coming days.

Some of our Survival Food

As the situation deteriorated more and more, some things about food changed, things were brought to a level where we eat just to survive. To explain you in simple way: in first month it was like-oh i really could use pizza or beer, but after a few months it was like- oh i really want to eat SOMETHING, it was not too important what.

survival food

There was not to many different kinds of foods, i ll try to remember here what we use to eat. Cooking and preparing food mostly was not my part in that days, but i ll do my best here.

Bread was not everyday thing, and it was not bread like we eat today, and it was homemade of course. Flour was bad quality, actually it was some kind of mixture i think. We use to bake that bread in small pots, on plate, not in oven, it took less firewood to bake it like that. After baking we wrap it in wet clothes, rug or something similar and leave it for hour or two, to make it softer.

About pancakes, we just call it pancakes, but actually it was mixture of herbs , water and small amounts of flour, baked also on plates, so when it is done you got something what look like pancake, with lot of green stuff inside and taste bad. For pancakes we used two kind of herbs, one was wild onion or bear onion, other was nettle (urtica).

We also used herbs mostly for different kind of soups, as a soup we used mostly nettle, especially if we had few potatoes to put in. We used all kinds of tea, actually something between tea and soup, i ques depended did we had anything else to put inside. Rice was popular also, alone or in form of some kind of pie.

Sometimes i did not eat for few days but at the end i always managed to get something trough trade or on other ways. It was a question of your strength and brain and some luck to find food.

Now you are going to ask me how?

OK for example two from our group go out to wait for MREs, two others go to find someone to trade something, two are going to find some usable herbs.
Food was coming in town trough few ways, depended on state of those ways in some days was easier to get some food, in other days was just too hard.
For example in one period in black market there were great amounts of some kind of cookies, or hard biscuits, in big metal containers, i do not have clue from where. Something similar to those crackers in MRE.

People avoided to eat that because rumor was that cookies are poisoned, i did not avoided them. So it was some strange situations with food too. Of course all different kinds of cans, MREs, end every other “luxury” thing was subject of many different “if s”. Preparing of food was pointed to how to “how to make it with less firewood”

In summer we prepared food in a yard on a simple two stone and one plate fire. But most of the preparing of food was simple and took as long as to “boil water”, like pancakes or kinds of donuts (not real donuts, more like a bad case of a donut)

Spices were pretty important for the simple reason because most of the home made foods tasted awful, or did not have taste at all, so we practically used them for every meal. Tabascino, peppers, rosemary everything.

You may say that we actually experimented with food but actually that is a really nice way to put it. We did not have too much problems with storing food, because we never had enough food to store it actually. It was like finding food for day or two in most cases, i mean to get somewhere more than 15 cans at once was really rare. There was some importance of having jars, because people tried a lot with making some kind of sauce or marmalade, if we had sugar it was marmalade, without sugar it was tomato sauce.

Most useful tool in preparation of food was something like a small stove, i mean even if we had a wood stove in house it was not to economic to prepare something really fast on it, it just required too much firewood to get hot so you can prepare something.

So solution was to remodel it so you can faster get “water boiling” or even try to make new one from very thin material, so you do not need too much wood to make it really hot. People used sometimes big cans for that purpose, or changed original material on old stove with thinner.

Money was actually not much worth, only in rare occasions you could use it, and under very changed valuation of course. Even before everything started the monetary situation was confused and we had hyperinflation. When all started i had as i said before some food in my house, for a week maybe not sure, some other folks who joined me brought more, and i had some money, if you compare it with today situation and money i can say that i had something like 700-1000 Euros in house and good savings in bank.

In first days of confusion i did nothing with that money, i just waited for situation to get better, so in some two months i barely found some guy and bought from him some flour for that money, at price maybe 40 times more than at the beginning of everything. On the other way if i would have been smarter and bought candles, batteries, and food for example at the beginning, in few months i would have been rich trough trading that stuff.

So real explanation of question was money worth much it depended how smart you used it. I was not smart. But truth is that very soon money simply didnt matter anymore or was nothing we even thought about.

Getting MREs

In that time US air force had mission to drop food from airplanes from high altitudes as a part of the mission to help surrounded cities(not only mine)  there was not any kind of schedule, or right place to wait for them, it was matter of luck. I ll try to describe one waiting for MRE (it was not only MRE, but we called it, hunt for MRE )

At first real dark we took rifle (if you had it) or any kind of weapon, and go out, usually 3-4 men, never alone. Some 2-3 miles from my house there was hill, it used to be dense wood, but soon it was naked because need for firewood, so imagine bunch of people climbing on that hill, complete darkness, maybe 300-500 people every night, and waiting for the distant sound of airplane, it was matter of luck, i guess because they dropped that things from high altitude they just never know where they gonna go.

Funny thing was that few miles across that hill was another hill, on that another hill was enemy army, they usually shoot every half hour on our hill with PAT (anti aircraft cannon) in dark, without aiming, because they knew we are there. They could not see us, but i guess they did not need to see us, every time they hit someone.

On the other side, most of the folks were armed, we fight regularly between us on that hill, for better position behind some rock, or to get some pallete with parachute. It was regularly to see guy climbing with his buddies on pallets full of flour , loading his rifle with statement ” OK this is mine” If you and your friends had more fire power, you tried to convice him somehow :)

So if you had luck and plains dropped something useful right on that hill, you still mostly needed to fight for that.

I still remember everything from that MRE s , food, matches, sauces, salt, cookies…

Many many years later, after peace came, when i had MRE s again in hands, i just felt strange, i wanted to cry and laugh in same time.
Other important thing was with that airplanes missions, we just felt that we are not forgotten, that somewhere somebody thinks about us, sometimes that was more important than food.

What did we eat?

Not too many types of food, most popular was some kind of local pancakes, to prepare them you needed water, hand full of flour and local herbs, i don t know type of herb, but i am pretty sure it was cow food.It did not require cooking oil, and it needed few minutes on fire to be ready, feeling was like you are eating dusty carpet :)

To explain it simply, it was grass, we just use small amounts of flour and water to keep that grass together.
We eat that when we did not anything else.

Speaking about herbs, people used a lot garlic and  lavender as substitute for antibiotics, pine was popular as a antiseptic and of course camomile.

Mre s and cans were luxuries, we acquired cans mostly trough trade. Rice was popular to had, i ques one reason was because it easy to prepare it.
Who owned some kind of garden was in advance, i remember green salads mostly from gardens, to protect that gardens was another problem, but that is theme for another post i quess.

It was matter of whole new thinking, for example if you manage to get somewhere tomatoes, and happened to had some sugar in house, than probably you gonna make kind of marmalade from that, or sauce, call it as you like, and put it in jars.
Most popular kind of can was corned beef because few reasons, it was meat to eat of course, it had a lot of fat in that can, when we eat meat, we used that fat and can as a lamp (add a lace and bottle cap, melt fat)
As i said mostly it was a matter of improvisation,like to make small portable stove from pressure cooker, simply with hammer nails and saw we made two openings, one for smoke and one for wood, we attached some pipe on smoke opening, so basically we had small portable stove, we could carry that in bag, or backpack, if we going somewhere on day, we could quickly cook something on that, and warm our self.
Of course it looked funny, we cough because smoke all the time, but it worked, and it was portable.
We also made stove from the bigger cans, also portable.