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Survival food and other tactics while sheltering

Moneywise will be featuring survival food and other tactics to help with cash management over the next few weeks of the coronavirus sheltering.

Any readers who would like to share cherished old family recipes and any other Bermuda survival strategies, please feel free to write to me. My e-mail address is at the end of this article.

In times of scarcity, strife and even plenty, basic foods such as flour grains, rice, beans, corn, nuts, seeds, root vegetables, and non-perishable dried items are survival foods. These are vital staples used by populations during thousands of years of human history. Co-incidentally, survival food is also considered cheap filling extenders to the more expensive, harder to obtain, and smaller esoteric components of a meal, such as meat, cheese, and seasonings.

Our society has always had enough food available. What do we think about food, if we think about it at all?

Here are some thoughts and truths about our food.

1, Food is the largest cost per month for a family budget, next to rent or a mortgage.

2, We tend to eat too much. We even eat when we don't need to eat simply because the food is there.

3, We are subliminally encouraged to have daily treats (pick-me-ups) of soda, chips, candy, cookies, and the like. Confession: Moneywise is equally guilty, all those coffees and ice cream snacks every working day, gulp, added up to $200 per month.

4, We cannot help but love the wrong kinds of foods, heavily salted and seasoned, after which out comes expensive Maalox and Zantac to the rescue.

5, We use food to reward ourselves and our families, succumbing to junk food manipulation just like the advertising media and their food producer clients want us to do. These are high profit items costing significantly more per pound than real, good food. Have you ever checked the cost of protein per ounce on a gram of potato chips compared to hamburger. Moneywise did. No one will like that answer. We'll discuss in next article.

Children can be highly susceptible to suggestions and will embrace gimmicky pseudo-foods featured monotonously on any given children's programmes. Hands up, who remembers taking a child for their first store doughnut, Happy Meal, or KFC bucket? It was a festive event.

6, Basic nutritious food is generally the cheapest. Yet over and over again we go for the high-priced labels because the perception is they are better. Perhaps it is the implied connotation that basic food is somehow lower status food.

7, Our contemporary work and family environments are seriously stressful. It is time-saving to order take outs, and because of the convenience it can become an expensive habit. Then, the extraneous food wrappers, soda containers, and carton cast-offs create an additional financial garbage disposal challenge for our community.

In our overwhelming 24/7 society, we may have forgotten what it means to prepare a simple meal with the family and celebrate its goodness. Statistics say that the modern family seldom dines together. Meals are consumed on the run or in isolating technology environments.

8, We just don't have time to research basic food values on what our bodies need to survive: protein, fat, complex carb requirements and vitamins, nor the cost per pound of this nutrition.

9. Finally, we tend to forget that food is primarily body/mind fuel and high octane is best.

Why would you put low grade gas in your car? Don't you go for the high test optimum performance? Food values are exactly the same. Eat “real food, not too much, mostly plants” as high octane for your body. Mark Bittman, New York Times food editor.

Now that the whole island is in lockdown mode, with cash management more imperative than ever, and social-distancing giving us a bit more time; basic cooking from scratch can be fun and fulfilling.

Bless us, and give us this day our daily bread. Do you remember Bermuda Bakery and the marvellous smell of fresh bread drifting over Hamilton every morning for more than fifty years? Making your own is so incredibly satisfying to have that same aroma wafting over the house. Nothing equals the first slice of warm bread, loaded with butter, in taste and tribute.

Basic bread ingredients are cheap: water, a bit of sugar for starter, flour, oil or butter and yeast — the most expensive, don't buy the packets, get it in bulk from the bulk food store, freeze residual and/or share with friends. Five pounds of bread flour costs $6 to $7 in Bermuda and produces eight loaves of bread. Bread recipes flourish on search engines. And you do not need a bread maker. Links below.

Thrifty savers here on island, over the generations have made their own good nutritious survival food from a bare minimum of scratch raw ingredients. One old Bermuda cookbook from 1930, passed to us by our grandma, lists many recipes with only four ingredients. They made do with what they had in the pantry.

Bermuda islanders have many great survivalist traditions to draw on. Our ancestors, our great great greats, gramps, grannies, mums and pops, were survivors of significantly harder times, before airports, rationing during both World Wars, before cars, be-ore TV, before bridges connected the whole community. There was no convenient hop into a car to the nearest “groshee” store for chips. Each tightly-knit community had to rely upon each other for sustenance and support.

Simple living, basic foods, uncomplicated, inexpensive, body and soul fulfilling. Time to revisit our roots and our survival history.

Money spent carefully on better eating choices, means more to keep your cash cushion intact. You can't control our economy, but you can control the harmony in your home.

Give it a try.


Recollections and Reconnections: Voices of the St David's Islanders of Bermuda and their Native American Relatives, by Dr Rosalyn Howard

Bermuda's Best Recipes, still available second-hand.

• Best bread

Martha Harris Myron CPA JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders and their globally mobile connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. All proceeds earned from this column go to The Bermuda Salvation Army. E-mail to:

Do it yourself: making your own bread is incredibly satisfying and the basic ingredients are cheap, writes Martha Harris Myron (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published April 25, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 24, 2020 at 4:42 pm)

Survival food and other tactics while sheltering

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