Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Being Prepared and Flexible

 Tis the time that we are thinking about being more prepared.  We also need to think about being more flexible.  Some people are not.  If you can't find something or you run out of something, there is ALWAYS a substitute. 
 
No milk - use canned or dry or just use water! (Been there and done that).  No bread - biscuits, tortillas, cornbread, fry bread, etc.  No spaghetti - use macaroni or any other type of pasta OR sub rice or potatoes.
No fresh meat - use canned or substitute beans, peanut butter or cheese.  Protein!!!!
Use up those leftovers and scraps in soup.  Cheapest meal out there.

I still do this - not about being poor in my house.  Just smart.  Also great with gravy instead of biscuits or a side dish in a meal - stuffing/dressing, bread pudding, etc.   Also dessert or snack - sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar or coated with peanut butter/syrup mixture!!!!!  YUM!

I keep seeing all the posts about empty shelves at the grocery.  I live in the mid-section of the country and have seen little of it.  I have seen the occasional shortage here and there and perhaps limited brands of the same products - but no totally empty shelves.  I am sure that people aren't fibbing - they have to be seeing these things.  I always wonder about the pictures I see though, as most were not taken by the poster - so I wonder about time frame.  Was the store cleaning or repairing?   Were they getting ready to restock?  Was this a day after a holiday weekend?  Was this after a weather event?  I am always skeptical.
I am not a blind sheep - so it isn't that.   It just isn't experienced in my area!  I am grateful.

I understand in places like Alaska - such extreme weather there and everything is more expensive.  Foreign countries rely on cargo ships for much of their goods.   
I have always figured that shortages would appear first in the central section of the country - as things have to travel further to get here.  It would seem the coasts would have better stock.  It appears to be just the opposite from I see other people post.  I don't really understand.


There are so many reasons for shortages.  Cargo ships sitting, truckers, the big C, lack of workers, less production in past year or two, hoarding, gas prices, inflation, extreme weather, so many reasons!  
This is WHY we PREPARE!

I know this gets talked about a lot - but people seem to just keep panicking and that causes even more problems.
To be blunt SH*T happens!!!!!  It always has happened.  
I think back to childhood and the things my parents did to survive and to make sure we had enough!  People persevered and did with what they had.  They didn't complain - because most people were in the same boat.  They knew how to be flexible!  
I am glad I had good teachers.

The only area of a grocery store I have seen totally empty has been at the meat department at one local store - that has been in the fresh meat area (where you picked your seafood or steak) - not the actual packaged meat department.  That has happened because they said they are short staffed and can get no one to work!  That is another thing I don't understand!!!!  This place pays excellent wages!  Their other locations seem better.

I know that things changed over the past couple years.  Prices have gone up and employees have gone down.  It has been a struggle.  
My 2 local 50's diners that have been around for decades have both closed and sold in the past couple weeks!  
YET, every week I read about 10-12 new fancy restaurants opening up around the city.  Maybe I am just dense, but I don't get it.  I can't imagine they are opening up with a plan of going out of business!!

I guess all I can offer is - DO WHAT YOU CAN, WHEN YOU CAN!  Stock as you find things and deals.  Never let your guard down.  Always be prepared for ANYTHING!  Know how to substitute and be FLEXIBLE!

But whatever you do - do NOT panic!!!!!!  
Slow and steady wins the race.

What have you been experiencing?  I can't be the only one that doesn't see the extreme shortages.
DO you have your plans in place and do you know how to be flexible and substitute?
I am so curious!
 

43 comments:

  1. Hi Cheryl, I read your blog faithfully but haven't comment before, but had to this time. I live in the upper Midwest (we are a chilly 15degrees this morning) and there are no shortages here. Grocery shelves and freezer cases if not completely full are generally 3/4 full. Fresh meat cases, are mostly full, but not as much in beef. I suspect because the prices are through the roof. I shop two club's and a large regional grocery chain. Sometimes things are low, but never empty.

    I think the center of the country may be better due to producing some food here, also our history is in food production. And in my area gardens and canning, general do it yourself is still a way of life


    Thank you for blogging, you are one of my favorites. I appreciate the down home common sense and encouragement the reminder that God is in control. I grew up much as you did,

    Marsha

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    1. Hello Marsha - so glad to have you here. Thank you for your comments. What you describe is what I see as well. Sure some here and there shortages, but nothing empty or totally gone.

      I am all the fan of growing and do it yourself and canning. Our area is pretty good for that. I see what you are saying - but I think we should have problems with less people working and problems with many things. Midwest doesn't produce everything. It is a good thought though - so maybe you are right.
      I am just dumbfounded by it all.

      Your cold temps today will be dropping this way come tonight! UGH. Right now in the 40's and dropping into the low teens by night!!!! UGH. I know it's winter but I am just not a fan.

      So glad to have you here and please feel free to comment whenever. We love getting other viewpoints and thoughts. Thank you for verifying I am not totally crazy! Thanks for your kind words!
      Have a good week!

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  2. I clicked on a YouTube about shortages yesterday and as she was filming and talking she said it was the day before the big snow storm we had here in the South. Well, hello, of course there was no milk or bread, etc! This is just trying to get the watches on her channel and nothing else and she lost credibility with me.

    When I was growing up a leftover bowl of gravy went over bread for the main dish for lunch the next day and we loved it. My absolute favorite and still is was a bit of leftover mashed potatoes, a slice or two of torn up stale bread and an egg or two scrambled together in a skillet. I even put away a spoon full of potatoes as I am fixing plates sometimes so I can have it for lunch the next day. My Mom saved every bit of everything leftover and it came back to the table at lunch the next day. We rarely ever had a lunch meat sandwich at home. That was a treat reserved for my grandparents house.

    Honestly the only shortage that has given us concern was when we could not get cranberry juice for a few weeks because I rely on it for my kidneys to work well. But, I did some research and found that True Lime packets could do the same for me so I ordered some from Amazon to have on hand. Then Aldi did not have their own brand of Oreos for about a month and those are Hubby's favorite but we just got out the ingredients and baked cookies. When we shop we always leave with the plan to buy what we can find first at Aldi and then if we have a need of something left on the list we stop at a second store and usually find the rest. Anything that is not found just goes back on the Aldi list for next time. We pretty much always have something we can substitute.

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    1. I hear you. Shock titles are made to make people click on - thus they make money! I keep telling people this and no one cares to listen.
      Absolutely - stores will be empty when a storm is looming. Mention snow here (even an 1") and people go stupid! I saw someone mention yesterday that Ali was out of something on Friday after noon and still out on Monday morning. DUH! They don't get trucks over the weekend!!!!!
      People have forgotten how to use their brains!
      There are just some things that we like - but heck the world won't end if we don't get it!
      Your Mom sounds like mine - used everything for another meals. Waste was not an option.

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  3. Hiya, here in Northern Ireland we dont seem to have shortages except at the start of pandemic when everyone were buying toiletrolls. Why i dont know lol
    I think because i live on my own i can have whatever i want. Eat the same meal two days running. I hear you talk about biscuits and gravy. What are the biscuits? I would never use that combination.
    Love your blog.
    Sylvia

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    1. I believe you would call our biscuits scones.

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    2. Good to hear you are having no problems finding things. Nice to hear that from another continent. Yes toilet tissue was short everywhere a couple years ago - but even then, I had plenty stocked and never worried about it.

      A biscuit in American is basically a scone in many other countries. We make a thick gravy, sometimes with meat or not and cover the bread. It is such a comfort food here. When we make 'scones' they are not the same at all. I think you all call our 'cookies' biscuits.
      Funny how there are different meanings for different words in other cultures.

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    3. Sylvia,
      We are not putting gravy over cookies. Our biscuits are like scone with no flavor, just flour, grease of some sort, and water or milk, very plain and delicious.

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  4. We are pretty well stocked at home -but last week I could not find potatoes at two stores-at least not regular ones-just the pricey specialty ones were left. I live in WI so definitely midwest. We have also seen no salads left in the produce department and other oddities.
    Like you-we are prepared.
    ps- I use bread for everything, too. lol
    xo Diana

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    1. Glad you are only having a few minimal problems.
      It sure does pay to be prepared. Bread is NOT just for sandwiches anymore!!!! LOL

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  5. We are expecting to see shortages here in Canada due to vaccination requirements for truckers entering at the border. I have seen some empty saves here and there but nothing to panic about. The worst was the toilet paper shortage in 2020. I literally went 2 weeks without finding it anywhere.

    Good to be prepared but not to be fearful. My God shall supply all my needs. So much of what we think are needs are anything but.

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    1. That makes sense. I can see that happening. Hopefully, it won't last long if it happens.
      2020 was not the TP year for sure! I have a lot of wet wipes and good old soap and water and wash cloths if it ever happens again!
      Yes, we need to take upon ourselves to do what we can - but it is all in God's hands.
      So many wants - more than needs!!!!

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  6. I'm in suburban Chicago, and my local Meijer has been "experiencing" shortages over the last several weeks. That said, it is typically and entire section, and then the next time I'm there, it is restocked and a different section is empty. So, I have wondered, too, about their letting the shelves go bare, cleaning, and then restocking. That said, the dairy section, especially the selection of biscuits, cinnamon rolls, crescents, and the packages of cookie dough have been bare since before Christmas -- name brand as well as store brand, full-size tubes and the smaller ones that have 4 rolls. Last week, chicken was in very limited supply, only a couple of family packages of breasts (still frozen) in an end-cap, no tenders, maybe 2 packs of drumsticks, no thighs. Had me wondering if they were starting on cleaning the meat cases.

    Today, I made a quick stop at Aldi, as I prefer them for eggs, coffee creamer, spread butter, and baking supplies. I asked someone stocking their shelves if they carried bread crumbs. I usually buy a large canister at Meijer (a once a year purchase?), but since I was there ... He told me that they'd been having problems getting them from their supplier, production issue, they'd been out since before Thanksgiving. Guess I'd better repurpose and start crushing up those stale crackers!

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    1. Well at least you aren't seeing it full store wide and you are in a pretty populated area. I understand sporadic and random shortages - golly that has been happening for over 2 years now (can you believe that?).
      I always make bread crumbs - older crackers of any sort and dry bread. Super easy and cheaper!

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  7. I’ve not been inside the stores here to see if there are empty shelves or not. If they are out of stock on something When I do my grocery order online I just look for a substitute, like you said. I made us ham and cheese wraps today using flour tortillas since we were out of bread. There is usually a substitution available.

    I agree with you about people panicking. I think that is the reason for some of these shortages. People just need to buy what they normally buy and not panic buy.

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    1. I actually like wraps and tortillas better than bread - lighter and less filling. I do that often.
      Substitutes can be anything from fruit to baking. We just have to learn and adjust!
      YES, no panic - just keep on doing what we are doing.

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  8. I am in northern third of Indiana and haven't really been to stores in quite a while...only the DG. I do online ordering/delivery. The only things I have had issues with are bread flour, ham and turkey but I just hang in and keep trying...it eventually happens.
    I always have stuff stockpiled and can make substitutions.
    I too was raised to think ahead, and learn to make do. There is always something I can eat. Like my depression era grandma always used to say "anything beats a snowball" LOL

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    1. You are so right, eventually you find the things that were not there before. It isn't like we are going to starve.
      Good job and stocking and subbing!
      Heck even a snowball with a little vanilla and cream becomes 'snow cream'! I used to love making snow ice cream!
      No we surely will not starve!

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    2. Yes, bread flour is the one thing I always buy at Sam's that has been out of stock for months now. No problem. We have buckets full and an extra bag on hand. If we run out I will buy vital wheat gluten and use regular flour.

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  9. Cheryl,
    I live in the Pacific Northwest and I see empty shelves in our local stores all the time. Last week I needed laundry detergent. All they had was two brands and just the most expensive product of those brands- things nobody wanted. I was looking for the allergy free or free and clear which is a requirement for a child I do laundry for. One of the store managers explained to me that deliveries for cleaning supplies are hit and miss right now whatever that really means. I didn't buy a substitute. I went home and dug around and found a small bottle of my brand of laundry detergent that will last until I can get more (I hope).
    Our stores have also been out of regular saltine crackers for awhile now. My friend substituted Ritz crackers but said they just aren't the same when used in soup. Crazy times with no end in sight. Flexibility has to be the name of the game when possible.

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    1. I am sorry you have had shortages. I haven't even looked at laundry supplies for a couple years - so that could be a problem here - but I haven't heard of any problems.
      Funny on the crackers. Different yes, but still tasty!
      I hope you find what you need soon. Flexibility is the name of the game today!

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  10. So, my regular Aldi has looked like a wasteland on and off for the past two years. HUGE sections of empty shelves. Nothing that I've ever *really* needed, fortunately, but it's impossible not to notice (no chips this week; they've been out of all the prepackaged cookies multiple weeks at a time; this week is the...fourth? I think? week in a row that they had ZERO coffee creamer. Fortunately, I expected this and bought it elsewhere! There's been times when they had no bread). I buy mostly produce and sale items elsewhere, so I don't notice shortages in other stores as much as I do in Aldi- our Walmart is poorly stocked all the time, even in the years before the pandemic, so it's hard to tell what's supply chain shortages and what's just that store in particular. I'm assuming Aldi has more problems with their suppliers for their shelves to look so bare so often. (And I'm in the Chicago suburbs.)

    So far, this really hasn't affected us. We eat very simply, so there's never been a missing item I didn't already have (I'm pretty well stocked up on most things most of the time) or couldn't easily substitute for. It helps that I've always been extremely flexible and creative in the kitchen! :)

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    1. Lori K is Chicago area as well - must be different sides. You have lots of shortages - her very little. It is nice to have other options of stores. I don't do WM often - but they are usually hot and miss here - always have been.
      I am glad that you have planned and prepared enough it doesn't affect you. Get things when you find them.
      Eating simply really does make a difference.

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  11. I personally think people are getting lazier about cooking. I cannot imagine spending money on a regular basis at a fancy restaurant. But there are people who do and with families. If the mother works a good job they can afford it, but what a waste.

    I love the picture of the bread used all ways. I know we used it that way many times. I do remember one time at our family reunion we had a commercial tray of hamburger buns left over to feed 60 plus people. It was Friday and we were running out of options. THose buns became, filling for squash casserole, they became garlic buns for spaghetti, and I made a huge bread pudding and why everyone just gobbled it up. No waste. No one said a thing.

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    1. I do believe you are right! I don't know how they do it. Just a burger and fries from fast food is ridiculously expensive.
      Oh I have used buns in many ways as well. I actually love buns dried for dressing - love the taste and texture. Garlic bread - yes. Mini pizza - yes. Bread of all types is so versatile.
      Love getting creative.

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  12. There really aren't any shortages where I am either. Sometimes due to big snow storms the trucks are a bit late arriving, but our shelves always have something to choose from.

    I still use bread as hamburger or hot dog buns and that is just fine as far as I am concerned.

    God bless.

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    1. Good to hear. Sure there will be random shortages due to weather. I think people seem to forget that. Trucks may be big, but they still have trouble in nasty weather too.
      I use bread for tons of things. Not a problem here.
      Blessings

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  13. It is interesting which parts of the country are experiencing shortages. We made the rounds of the stores today. At Fresh Thyme we found hamburger for $1.99/pound and really nice chicken breasts were $1.99/pound. They have been having some specials on beef for the last several weeks and we saw no shortages at all. The Urban Farmer went in Walmart while I went in GoodWill. Got some new turtlenecks, a new sweater and an adorable scarf in spring colors. Also a large tote bag since I'm cheap and refuse to pay big $$$ for a tote. He said some shelves were skimpy and didn't look at the meat. He found what he was after. We went to Rural King to buy vinegar as I use it for lots of things. It is still $1.79 and the white vinegar at Meijer has gone up to $2.99. After that we went to Costco and there was no shortage of anything there. Some items were missing entirely but that happens if stock is not available. It usually returns at some point. Meijer had a good supply of meat, most laundry and cleaning supplies, lots of canned goods and pasta etc., and fresh produce. The only thing I saw that was lean on the shelves was juices.

    Stay warm, my friend, it will get cold again.

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    1. Boy, you made the rounds! Busy day. Good to hear from yet another area here in IN too. What a great price on ground beef! I always get vinegar at Rural King - it seems to be the cheapest place around. I think I still have 4 or 5 gallons.
      I haven't been to a Meijer in ages. One of these days I will get back down there.
      I am glad you are finding things and good going at GW!!!
      Yes, it is getting chilly!

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  14. Like you, I have not experienced any shortages at all. I have found everything I need every time I go. The shelves are very well stocked. So it's not affecting us. I hope it stays that way. I am still stocking up of course. Not panicking, just stocking. Just in case ;-) So funny, I have always used bread for my hotdogs, hamburgers, garlic toast etc. Not because I have to, but just because that's what I prefer. I buy the healthy kind and just think it's easier and healthier so that's my preference.

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    1. Good - glad to hear you report as well. Yes, continue to stock, but not hoard or panic. Those are great words.
      I like bread too. I do get buns if they are super cheap - but usually just use bread. That is how I was raised.

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  15. I'm in Wisconsin, and no shortages at the groceries here. There's no Aldi nearby, so I don't know what it is like there. But the local and regional chains have full shelves. I really don't do much stockpiling, only a little for convenience, and even at the start of this pandemic I could always find plenty. Yes, even toilet paper! Celie

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    1. Good for you Celie. It is amazing that most who have responded here, are not having problems. I love that.
      I hope you get a little extra around - just in case!

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  16. I'm not n Central Texas and work at HEB. It has been a comfort for me to see the store so well stocked after reading of shortages all over the country. We looked fantastic..until we Didn't.

    New Years Eve, we had such a surge in shopping...like before a storm. It wiped us out. Here it is 3 weeks later, and the store looks rough.

    No salads. Little potatoes. No frozen potato products. Low cereal and crackers. Low OTC. No pasta, little sauce. Meat is very slim and very $$$

    I created a list of what my family might need for a month and try to keep 6 months rotating.

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    1. I wonder what caused that surge in shopping. That is weird. I guess you could consider a big part of the country has had storms, snow and ice for a while - maybe that has detoured trucks. Just plain odd.
      Good for you on planning for 6 months. It really makes sense, because as you have shown - you just never know@

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  17. Sorry...I'm IN central Texas.

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  18. Walmart seems to have the most empty shelves in my area. The smaller grocery stores look pretty good. I have been doing Walmart pickups and notice more and more , that they are out of several of my chosen items.

    Yes on white bread.... it’s good with almost anything!!

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    1. I have noticed for years that WM has been on the low end of stock in my area. I don't shop there often - but have noticed that.
      Bread - the versatile food!

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  19. LOL!!! That bread graphic kills me! Yes, we were definitely poor!

    I am in the Northeast and we are experiencing shortages just after the holidays. I chalk it up to everyone buying as much as they could to have what they wanted for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whole expanses of shelves are empty. Stuff like mayonnaise comes and goes. Beef has gone through the roof here. I had been hearing about increases for months, and they've finally hit. Stores are actually expecting to get 14.99/lb for stuff like short ribs! Fuggedaboudit! I'll eat chicken. And pork is unbelievably cheap.
    But yeah, shortages are here. I do keep a pantry, and am now enlarging it for things I never thought I'd be short on, like diced jalapenos and large jars of sandwich stacker dill pickles. Ah well--pantries change along with our lives!

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    1. SO sorry you are experiencing shortages. YES stock and keep stocking to prepare for things like this and other reasons.
      Chicken and pork is pretty reasonable here as well. Beef prices have gone up for sure. I just keep trudging away and buy what I can afford (or will pay).
      Keep stocking!!!!!!

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  20. Debby in Kansas USAJanuary 24, 2022 at 7:05 AM

    I can comment again!! It's been months since I've been able to! I read regularly but I've so missed saying hello and posting! I'm too much of a motor mouth to sit quietly for so long.

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    1. YAY - you are here. I made a couple changes - so I guess that worked. Blogger changes things once in a while - not for the best in my opinion.

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  21. I'm in SE Neb. TP still ebbs and flows at Sam's Club. Walmart shelves also, but I think that is due to employee shortages. Prices have increased a lot. 4# of butter used to be $9.00 and now are $15.00. We don't buy a lot of convenience foods and basic ingredients have been in stock.
    We found just this afternoon the value of keeping a stock of basic necessities. Our well motor went out. The repair techs will be out tomorrow a.m. We have bottled water on hand as well as juices for drinking and coffee (!!) We brought in water from a neighbor's for flushing and the cattle and sponge baths. One day will not kill us. :)

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