Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Post That's So Long Your Dinner Will Get Cold

(And lucky for you, it's boring, too!!)

As I mentioned before, I've been a little afraid to drive here.
It really hasn't been a big deal so far because we stocked the fridge the first day we came and being a dyed in the wool Latter Day Saint that I am (except when I go to Lagoon on a Sunday) I have a pretty substantial food storage on hand.

(I also know how to bring a spirit of reverence to church landmarks)

I had planned to go through it before we moved, but I was just too pooped and since it didn't cost us more to move it, I just let that be one of the things we'd figure out on this end. We ended up tossing out or giving away almost everything in our kitchen, but the things in the basement came with us.

I have been cooking and using items from my food storage a lot this week, due to the much whined about fear of driving here.
(Matt asked me to point out that this is not our food storage, this is a picture I took from Temple Square. Sadly, we don't have jell-o in our storage. )

Some of it is YUCK.
It looks fine, but some of it has turned into dirt. Dirt with a date written in Sharpie marker on the box.

Too many years ago, I was doing some dry pack canning with my BFF Kristine's mother in law.
I was canning flour and oats. She told me to mark every can. I told her I was only canning two things, I didn't need to mark every can.
She told me I was lazy and to just do it.
I told her I wasn't going to, I had a system in place. Blue stripe on the can meant oats, red stripe meant flour.
Or was it red stripe meant oats, blue stripe meant flour?
Ah, Nan was right, I should have just taken the 5 extra seconds and labeled each can.
I also did not put a date on them and I have been telling myself for years that anything in a #10 can will keep forever.
A few days ago I wanted to make oatmeal cookies.  I didn't have any 'fresh' containers of oats, but I knew I'd done all of those cans before, so I skipped to the basement to just open a can I had stored away just for this purpose.
Except, you know, I didn't label the cans.
So I opened up a can of flour.
I didn't really need flour, but maybe it was a sign that I shouldn't make cookies, I should make something else.
I whipped up a  sweet cherry cobbler instead- totally from scratch and FOOD STORAGE scratch at that.
Such a pioneer I am.....

I was so proud of myself, here I was in the big city making cherry cobbler with my year's supply.
It tasted like lint.
Apparently #10 cans aren't forever.
I realized I had canned that flour 13 years ago. The shelf life for flour, even when canned with the oxygen pack and everything is closer to two years.
Rancid nasty crap.
 I couldn't smell it because my allergies are having some sort of uprising now and while my skin and hair look fantastic in this weather, my sinuses are not in agreement.
Anyway, I digress. 
I always digress.

So the flour....the cans with the BLUE stripe all went out.I no longer have flour in my year's supply, but I see now that I haven't had it in there for 10+ years. Doh.
Some canned pears also had to go, but that was because "canned" and "jarred" seemed to mean the same thing to one of the movers who also didn't know what "fragile" meant and he tossed it on the basement floor, the jars all broke and we found them because it took about 3 days for them to start to mold and stink- they were at the bottom of a pile of food storage boxes.
That was pretty nasty as well.

I am now in the process of taking each box I unpack and testing the items I have stored for so many years. If I can't trust my sense of smell, I have been taking them to the kitchen and using them in small recipes to see if they are still okay.
Yeast bricks....dead. So are the yeast packets. I actually thought those would keep forever, but it looks like they are all dead.
Red stripe oats?
A starving horse would not touch them.

Today's test involved wheat.

I was told wheat will last 20 years. I opened the can and it looked just fine.
However, I've never actually used any of the wheat.
I've made plenty of loaves of whole wheat bread, but I go to the store and buy the wheat flour.
I have a wheat grinder, I actually have two. One manual, one electric. The electric one is actually Sunnie's. She was storing it at my house before I met Matt and it never made it back to her place.  It's never been used.

Until today.
I decided to make some bread and pay homage to my pioneer ancestors and grind my own wheat.
Of course, my people are all converts to the church, I don't actually have ancestors who crossed the plains, but Matt does and that's close enough.
I'm a pioneer by marriage, that's the ticket.
How did it go?
Well, let's just say I stand by my position  that I would make for a lousy pioneer.
I couldn't get the stones to grind it fine enough. I don't know if you're supposed to sift it before use, or if that gives the bread texture.

Youtube wasn't much help.

I didn't think about adding half white flour to it in order to help it raise until it was too late.
I don't think it would have helped.
This was how it looked after 3 hours of rising time:

The hand ground whole wheat bread was a colossal fail.

Instead, I grabbed some oats- not from a striped can- and made that imaginary pioneer classic: No Bake Cookies.

We will enjoy that tonight after we finish our classic pioneer dinner of Pizza Hut and Dr. Pepper.

And I now need to learn how to actually USE the wheat I have 400 pounds of in my basement.

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