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HomePreppingWhat We Ate and How We Acquired Meals When the SHTF

What We Ate and How We Acquired Meals When the SHTF

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Creator of The Darkish Secrets and techniques of SHTF Survival and the web course SHTF Survival Boot Camp

Editor’s Word: If a catastrophe is unhealthy sufficient and lasts lengthy sufficient, it isn’t going to take lengthy earlier than there isn’t a meals available. On this interview with Selco, he shares his real-life experiences and explains how individuals stored from ravenous to demise when there was no meals within the shops. ~ Daisy

How do you get meals when there are not any shops?

Originally of all the pieces, most people didn’t have any vital “stash” of meals of their houses.

In different phrases, nearly all of widespread people had meals for a

couple of days of their pantry and that was it. There have been exceptions to that as a result of the method of collapse didn’t occur in just a few hours (by way of all of the sudden there isn’t a meals within the shops).

When the chaos began, individuals looted shops after a brief interval of everybody shopping for issues in a panic. Nonetheless, nearly all of people didn’t handle to get an honest stash of meals from shops. Some didn’t need to imagine that they had been gonna want a stash. Others didn’t need to exit and take part in looting as a result of it was harmful. However I feel the obvious cause was that every one meals from shops was taken very quick.

At first interval of SHTF, occasions unfold at a really quick tempo. Really, occasions go one after one other so quick that if you end up misplaced in a single occasion on the finish of a number of occasions, you ask your self, “Why within the title of God I didn’t exit and purchase an entire bunch of meals whereas I nonetheless might try this?”

Was gardening an possibility? In that case, how did individuals shield their gardens?

Sure, it was an possibility, however the proportion of meals from a backyard was low due to just a few causes.

It was a metropolis, with out sufficient land for vital meals rising, and the second cause is that even individuals who had some land (small gardens close to homes) wanted time to develop meals there.

Individuals often didn’t develop meals there in regular instances, flowers, tea, possibly some specific sort of tomato, salad greens, and related.

I keep in mind going and checking gardens for tomatoes as a result of individuals had tried some new form of tomato near their dwelling, not as a option to have meals, however as an try so they may see is that if it was OK to have it someplace earlier than they’d a much bigger piece of land for rising (earlier than SHTF in a peacetime).

So sure, gardening was an possibility, individuals used each a part of the obtainable land, however that was not sufficient, and it was like you’re checking on daily basis how your tomato is rising and also you anticipate it, however then you definately decide it and understand you might have meals for under a few days.

We weren’t ready on the time to make use of every bit of land for meals rising. It takes time to ascertain that.

Nonetheless, it was treasured, and it was protected after all, identical to your private home, in the identical means.

How typically did MREs get dropped?

There was no schedule for meals drops, a minimum of no actual schedule as a result of it was all based mostly on rumors like, “Tonight they’re gonna drop meals from airplanes.” In the event you requested, “Who informed you that?” the reply was “a man who heard it from a man who heard…” So, after all, it was fully based mostly on luck.

Typically, it might “fall down” each second night time, otherwise you heard it had fallen someplace, it might be “I heard it from a man who heard it…”

Typically it was 3-4 instances per week. After all, they dropped it, however that doesn’t imply we might discover any of the meals. Different individuals would merely seize it earlier than you.

Some people headed for the hills each night time with a purpose to wait. Individuals would select one man from household to go up each night time and wait.

If these meals drops had any schedule there the place they loaded planes (as I perceive later, the place was in an airbase in Italy) it was fully misplaced on us down within the metropolis within the chaos and empire of rumors.

You could perceive that in that point these planes weren’t the one ones to fly, so typically we had been out ready for meals however truly, different planes bombarded us.

However very early we realized to acknowledge the low buzzing sound of meals planes, distant however highly effective.

Now after I look again, it’s bizarre how we trusted a few of that data. For instance, if we heard that meals was gonna be dropped that night time in some specific a part of the town, some small space of some hill, individuals would go there.

An inexpensive man would have thought, “Oh, so some poor ragged man in the course of civil warfare and data blockade all of the sudden has information on the place a number of large navy airplanes are gonna do some operation?” To not point out the truth that the entire metropolis along with all of the hills seemed to these individuals within the airplanes like small dots.

It was nonsense. However we had been hungry, scared, and in the course of chaos with none actual data, so individuals trusted in quite a lot of issues, particularly in the excellent news.

Don’t underestimate the facility of rumors in onerous instances.

“Meals drops” had been carried out for a lot of cities on this space in the course of the hardest a part of the warfare. They helped on totally different ranges.

Even immediately I discover one of many happiest sounds to be the sound of MREs raining on a tough floor. I didn’t know the technical particulars (and nonetheless don’t) of how precisely that labored, however many of the issues that had been dropped would break aside within the air, so on the floor, it might “rain”.

It was like a lottery to be in the course of that rain as a result of the MREs had been great things, and helpful, however a number of the greater stuff coming down might kill individuals. (It occurred with greater packages).

MREs had been meals multi function package deal: meals, candy stuff, matches, even that scorching sauce that was fairly helpful once we need to add style to some bizarre meals that we ate or to masks a foul style.

Had been you capable of forage any meals?

In the case of foraging for crops, I do know it’s a widespread opinion in some circles that you may survive and stay by foraging.

By way of city survival, it’s, for my part, overestimated in case you are a mean man.

Possibly it might work in case you have numerous data about edible crops, and possibly in case you have many assets of these crops and are within the wilderness.

We had been simply common city people. Our data about edible crops was restricted to the one or two usable crops that might be used for home made tea.

For instance sure, we used pine needles for tea. It sounds nice immediately, it’s good wholesome tea with nutritional vitamins and so forth, however you cannot stay on it, it may be along with your meals, however not your essential useful resource.

Older people jumped in with their data. They had been people that in these instances remembered WW2 and starvation, and other people often listened to them when it got here to what plant you may use for meals.

Vegetation like nettle and dandelion had been used, and within the worst durations, individuals merely began to make use of any obtainable grass blended with a small quantity of flour.

Consuming crops and herbs in that point was not a case of wholesome dwelling. It was a matter of not having the rest to eat. 

Had been you capable of scavenge for meals from abandoned buildings?


When the SHTF, particularly to start with, some homes turned empty. Individuals left or died inside (for no matter cause, for instance, shelling). Then people would undergo the empty homes and scavenge for meals.

One reminiscence from that point is the limitless stench of rotten meals (there was no electrical energy for the fridges). At first, you may discover meals in that means.

In the event you had been fortunate typically you may discover a greater quantity of meals. Typically you stumbled on a home the place the ex-occupant clearly hoarded meals within the first days of rioting.

That time frame didn’t final for lengthy. The stench of rotten meals was just about substituted with one other sort of stench. Quickly there have been extra lifeless individuals then spoiled meals within the metropolis.

However even later, you’d by no means know what you may discover in destroyed and deserted homes. Possibly few cans of meals hidden or forgotten someplace underneath the rubble, or in a destroyed fridge.

One factor attention-grabbing from that interval (relating to scavenging) and likewise crucial in prepper phrases is that I witnessed and was a part of one thing that I can name the transition of scavenging or possibly resetting the values of products.

It goes one thing like this:

First individuals ran riot on shops and seemed for valuables like gold, cash, TVs, stereos, vehicles…then as they realized the scenario, they seemed for weapons, gas, then candles, batteries, and meals, then they’d dig up some gardens for few potatoes.

Individuals wanted a while to comprehend what was actually essential. It didn’t take very lengthy however typically even just a few days or per week is essential.

I’ve seen individuals working from a mall with gadgets that, in few days, would grow to be most ridiculous gadgets to own (and to take from a burning mall) in the course of a collapse, issues like a TV or a laundry machine or a music assortment of a well-known band.

Nearly all of individuals couldn’t think about what was coming, so they may not fathom {that a} bag filled with AA batteries was gonna price greater than 50 laundry machines.

For instance, the laundry machine was usable solely to plug a gap within the wall from shelling or to bolster the door.

I’m not advocating that you simply exit rioting and taking stuff from malls and shops when SHTF, however let’s say that if you end up there, take into consideration what is helpful to absorb prepper phrases.

Right here is one instance: if the SHTF once more right here, there’s a parking machine in entrance of my dwelling that provides you an automated ticket whenever you insert cash. As quickly as I see somebody busting it open to take cash from inside I’ll go and take the small photo voltaic panel from it (it’s solar energy operated). Whereas different individuals take into consideration cash inside, I’m eager about solar energy on the skin of it.

Had been you capable of hunt or lure something for meat?

It was the town, so looking or trapping something extra difficult than a pigeon was not likely an possibility. The opposite cause was that it was metropolis in the course of a warfare, so actual trapping had its personal problems like shelling, fixed noises, and related.

In case your scenario is excessive, looking or trapping will be about trapping pigeons or capturing a stray canine. 

What are some issues you possibly can eat that most individuals wouldn’t consider as meals?

It’s a matter of ranges. Typically I get questions over mail asking if we had circumstances of cannibalism, and the reply isn’t any. Individuals want to comprehend that the street to that excessive may be very, very lengthy.

There are a lot of unhealthy issues to eat earlier than attending to that excessive (even in case you are prepared to go there) and other people don’t understand that.

I ate spoiled and previous meals of various varieties, expired meals (cans of cookies from navy storages that had been expired for many years), meals with worms (cooked along with these expired cans), grass that was boiled in water, leaves from bushes. We ate totally different sort of meat, pigeon for certain, and I’m fairly constructive cat meat as soon as, and rat meat as soon as most likely.

How did you lengthen meals to make it feed extra individuals?

Over time, it will get essential to have some meals, or in different phrases to have your stomach “full” of one thing so best options had been to water meals down, or to combine it with crops.

In different phrases, we ate a lot of “soups.” For instance, if we had a small quantity of meat and rice, however now we have water and a few crops, we’d make an enormous pot of soup.

In some circumstances, it seemed extra like tea (quite a lot of scorching water with a small quantity of meals inside) nevertheless it solved the issue of how you can make one thing large out of small quantities of one thing.

When a scenario is difficult – when it’s onerous and demanding on each psychological and bodily means – you can not actually ration your self. You could eat one thing, due to the easy reality that you may not function in case you are not fed. So we ate quite a lot of very low-quality meals, and sure we had been at all times roughly hungry.

How did you cook dinner meals with out energy?

We cooked with fireplace, a range that used wooden, and infrequently an open fireplace within the yard. It was a continuing equation of heating and cooking with low wooden assets.

For instance if we wanted to get a hearth for heating it was used on the similar time for cooking. (See Selco’s article on staying heat throughout a long-term SHTF situation.)

A small open fireplace on the yard was utilized in climate when there was no want for heating.

Was there a black marketplace for meals?

After all, and it was a matter that modified on a regular basis based mostly on what was obtainable within the metropolis at a given second.

For instance, if meals drops that week had been good you may discover MREs cheaper. Different instances, all you may discover was suspicious-looking meat cans with out manufacture or expiration dates on them.

Nothing was fastened and for certain on the black market, not even reality that you simply gonna survive the commerce to not point out different issues. (See Selco’s article on the risks of barter and commerce)

Once more, it was a matter of ranges, so there have been individuals who “owned” the black market (individuals with robust organizations, firepower, and connections). Typically they dictated the “pricing” of meals within the metropolis, and typically there have been widespread people who might provided you few cans of meat or two MREs from their stash.

Typically you may run into a person who was providing you “powdered eggs” however in a darkish, not safe setting (you’re buying and selling with unknown armed individuals for instance), you wanted to make sure it’s not some ineffective powder.

There have been scams and also you wanted to make sure who you had been buying and selling with, how safe the place was, and what you had been truly buying and selling for.

How a lot of your time was taken up with buying and making ready meals?

It was a matter of financial considering. It was not about making it scrumptious as a result of we had scarce assets like wooden for the hearth. and just because typically it was inconceivable to make it scrumptious.

It was introduced all the way down to the extent of getting your abdomen filled with one thing so you possibly can proceed to function yet one more day.

Issues to find out about consuming when the SHTF

There are alternatives of foraging for edible crops and looking or trapping some animals within the metropolis when the SHTF, however don’t rely on that as the primary useful resource in your meals, not in the long term.

Buying meals in city settings comes all the way down to the thought of taking meals from different individuals – both individuals that aren’t there anymore (empty homes) or individuals which might be nonetheless there (by way of the commerce or assault).

All the above choices (identical to quite a lot of different prepper actions when SHTF) often aren’t fancy and romantic/pleasant.

When scavenging by way of abandoned locations, you will get injured and that damage can get difficult when there isn’t a medical care. Throughout a commerce, you will get scammed, ripped off, or just attacked and injured or killed due to the assets you possess in that second or attributable to an absence of cautious planning.

By attacking different individuals to get meals (if you end up that determined or if you happen to want to go that means) you’re risking, after all, being killed.

Ultimately, it comes once more to the concept you might want to be ready very properly for SHTF together with your stash of meals or your small backyard the place you’re gonna select what to have and how you can use it in probably the most environment friendly means. It’s best to reduce the have to exit and scavenge, a minimum of till, you determine some issues.

What are your ideas?

Does Selco’s data align with what you anticipated? Did any of his solutions shock you? Do you might have a plan to accumulate meals that’s totally different from what he describes? What’s your greatest takeaway from the interview?

Let’s focus on it within the feedback part.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan warfare of the 90s in a metropolis underneath siege, with out electrical energy, working water, or meals distribution. He’s at the moment accepting college students for his subsequent bodily course right here.

In his on-line works, he offers an inside view of the fact of survival underneath the harshest circumstances. He opinions what works and what doesn’t, tells you the onerous classes he realized, and shares how he prepares immediately.

He by no means stopped studying about survival and preparedness for the reason that warfare. No matter what occurs, chances are high you’ll by no means expertise excessive conditions as Selco did. However you might have the possibility to study from him and the way he confronted demise for months.

Actual survival just isn’t romantic or idealistic. It’s brutal, onerous and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.


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