The End of the Disaster

11 Mar

My disaster food box is empty except for the cheesy broccoli bake and the challenge is over. Can someone survive a week on the Foodbank’s one person/one week disaster food box? Absolutely! I was never hungry, I even woke up feeling full on some mornings.

ET with Disaster boxes

However, we all strive to do more than just survive, so here are some tips to help you make the best use possible of the box, so you can be a DISASTER PRO, just like me. Well, I wouldn’t call myself a pro, but I did learn a few things in my week in a box.

In a previous post I already mentioned about cooking 1/3 of each sachets at a time, so you don’t have such significant waste.

If like me you were waiting for a bigger disaster before drinking reconstituted milk, then you can use the milk powder with the oatmeal to give it a richer flavor.

This experiment highlighted the need to grow something – anything – in your own backyard. Some green onions or some parsley or peppers make a night and day change to increasing the palatability of the food. It is well made with all the nutrients you need, but it can get a bit samey without the ability to add something fresh.


Which do you prefer, the before or the after?

All of these dishes require water to reconstitute, so plan on increasing the amount of water you keep on hand for a disaster. FEMA guidelines call for at least one gallon per person per day, but you should add an extra half gallon per day for each disaster box you have.


Overall I was very impressed with the disaster box. It has an effective shelf life of 25 (which I hope I do too) and a useful tool kit.

Disaster kits can be ordered at:

Box ad

Buy one and we’ll donate one to a low income family who take part in disaster training so that we can build disaster resiliency across the community.

Final note:

Favorite Item: Spanish Rice.


Least Favorite item: The aforementioned Cheesy Broccoli with rice thing. Though true MacGyver that I am, I managed to extract the dried Broccoli from that sachet and use it in my creamy chicken rice dish.

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Freeze-Dried Erik

5 Mar


You Tube is full of inane ‘box opening’ videos, and so here is mine! I’m opening my disaster box and cooking my first meal, a hearty vegetable and chicken flavored soup.


It was like one of those old boxed dried soups that I used to eat as a child. You have to boil it for 20 minutes, but I have to say that it was extremely filling because it is loaded with lentils as as well as pasta and vegetables. Definitely sticks to your ribs.


Here is the completed meal, complete with ye olde disaster spoon. Surprisingly good.

TIP: Don’t make the whole packet at once or else you have to store what you have cooked, and in a disaster the fridge is not going to be working. One quarter of the amount and water would be enough.

Any survivor can get through Day One of a disaster, let’s see how things go later in the week!

Disaster in a Box

4 Mar

Each time I undertake the Food Security Challenge, I always try and take some new approach or emphasis, to make it more interesting to me, and to learn something new  about the complex world of food insecurity.

This time, I am trying something very new for my final week. Instead of tackling the daily disaster of hunger, I am going to simulate what it would be like to keep nutritionally healthy during a natural disaster.

To do that I am going to survive by only eating the contents of one of the Foodbank’s disaster food boxes. This is a box-like sealed plastic tub that contains high quality freeze dried meals. You just add water and then heat. Each box contains food good for one person for an entire week.

The box also contains a disaster tool kit, featuring smoke inhalation mask, reflective blanket, first aid kit, flashlight/whistle and first aid kit.

I am going to simulate a disaster situation by not using electricity or gas, but cooking everything on a camping gas cooker and all in a single cooking pot.

How will I do? Will I turn a disaster into a crisis?

Crawl under your disaster blanket and stay tuned!

Hunger Affects Veterans Too

21 Feb


Recently I visited the City of Lompoc and met with Shawndell Malcolm, who is the CEO of Planting-A-Seed, a Lompoc non-profit that aims to be a support to those without stable housing. Their team prides itself on “planting seeds” of kindness and generosity with each individual that they aid, hoping to instill an atmosphere of empathy.


Shawndell Malcolm

Shawndell has lived in Lompoc since 1986 and served in the U.S. Marines. His own father was homeless for a prolonged period, which helped sharpen Shawndell’s ability to understand and help the many homeless vets and others in his city. He estimates there are about 100 homeless in shelters, 100 still living in the riverbed, 60+ living in their cars and many more couch surfing or in hotels.

What may surprise you is that many of these homeless people are working, yet still struggle to get into any kind of permanent housing. There is very little housing in the area.

I had arranged to meet Darrell Mann who had been homeless, sleeping on the streets for four years and who had recently got into supportive housing, but as you see from the pictures below, they are not exactly palaces.


Unfortunately, I missed Darrell and wasn’t sure where he was. He has been in his apartment for only two weeks so he is still adjusting.  The electrical sockets that hooks up his stove and refrigerator currently are not working, so many challenges remain for him and for all the homeless.

It has been helpful for me during my Food Security Challenge to meet others who have previously or currently struggle with food insecurity, because it is too easy to forget.

As I wrap up another challenge, it’s my job not to forget.