If it came from the store in aluminum tins, it was washed, saved and packed away. She had a pantry dedicated to every type, size and style you could imagine. Whenever I asked her why she did that, she had a standard, unwavering response; “You never went through the depression, did you, Paul?”
Stockpiling takes all forms, but the one that leaves me scratching my head most each year is the run on bread and milk when the local weather wizards predict our impending doom. Like when they started doing it again yesterday.
I made the obligatory grocery run on the way home from the office after picking up my step daughter and there it was again; near empty bread racks. A few jugs of whole milk were available, with more one percent “blue milk” sitting there, like lonely orphans no one wanted until there was no other choice. One-percent milk is the dairy metaphor of being picked last for kickball when you were in grade school.
There has to be some history that brought us to this point as a species.
There was a day when, like Grandma VaLue out on her farm, you had a cow in the backyard and bins of flour; you didn’t need no stinkin milk and bread!
So as we await the terror from above, are our subliminal thoughts that, “milk does a body good” in some form of emotional rescue? Is the thinking, pretty much anything can go between two slices of bread and we’ll be nourished?
We have a complicated relationship with food, but from Johnson County to North of the River, rarely are we snowed in and unable to leave our home for hours, let alone days.
So this must be more emotional than practical stock piling.
Because when the power goes out, the refrigerator isn’t going to keep our perishables fresh. Do we still even have a manual can opener? How are we going to open those life giving cans of chicken noodle soup without one? Perishables have an expiration date, so if we’re truly homebound, that may not be our salvation. Our eggs are useless if we can’t cook them.
Bread on its own? Eh, not very nourishing.
I haven’t noticed a run on bottled water, peanut butter and crackers loaded with protein, trail mix or granola bars? No one seems to be buying canned fruits, canned meats, tuna, or sardines…and they have the half-life of plutonium!
There are fresh fruits that will last a week or two. That way we can eat healthy and be saved at the same time. But instead of a run on produce, what’s missing from the store shelves is bread and milk.
Is there an altruistic motive in our stockpiling? Are we hoarding to help our neighbors through these next few days of white death as it reigns down upon us? The same neighbors who weren’t clued in enough to horde their own ration of bread and milk?
Nah, these are Johnson County residents, who am I kidding?