June 24, 2017

Food Boredom

Food Boredom

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” Numbers 11:4-6

Most of us have never experienced food boredom, at least not on the level mentioned above. Those of us in first world countries are so blessed to have just about anything to eat in close proximity. I experienced food boredom a time or two in the service, but it was always short lived. Image only having the same 2 or 3 meals available to eat for the next six months to a year. Do you think you would get bored? How about your family? I have read about some children who simply refused to eat due to food boredom.

I think there are two types of artists; one who can look at various paints and see the individual colors and another who looks at the same paints and sees a finished painting. I think the same can be said for people who cook. I think people who can look at their pantry and food storage and see meals have it much easier.

If you’re kind of person who sees the individual items, my only recommendation is to make sure you have an abundance of a variety of foods that your family actually eats. This way people won’t have to eat rice and beans, beans and rice, rice with a side of beans, you get the idea
Picky Eaters

I’m not nearly as picky as I was as a child, but having been a picky eater, I understand it. I have Asperger Syndrome and people with Asperger’s often suffer from sensory issues. There are some foods that either because of how they smell or taste, I just can’t handle.

If you have a picky eater at home, you need to consider that when building your food storage. Their eating habits aren’t going to change just because the stuff hits the fan. In fact, because of the stress of the situation, they’ll probably cling to them even more.


I made two “cruises” into the Persian Gulf on the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. Don’t get me wrong, we ate pretty well, but after a month or two of “boat food,” we really looked forward to pulling into the UAE and eating those small overpriced goat cheese pizza’s. My point is that having treats and comfort foods stored away can help break up the boredom.

Final Thoughts:

Rice and beans do make up a portion of my food storage but we won’t be eating them for every meal. We’ve also got an assortment of spices and herbs to alter the taste as well.

What other ideas do you have to help avoid food boredom?
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  1. I was like you bored with carrier food after serving on CVN 69 and 70 but then I went to an AE-4 and felt like I ate like a king on the carrier. What I fell in love with was the Pita type sandwiches that had lamb in them we would get in the UAE. What’s funny is that early in my career we visited Iran back when the Shah was our friend. In Iran we felt like strangers and shunned compared to UAE where we seemed to fit in better.
    One aspect of food bordom is you find yourself thinking of food and what you miss. It seems to make it much worse than it really is. At least at sea we knew we would eventually get to satisfy that craving. In a EOTWAWKI those cravings more than likely will never be fulfilled.

  2. I think that one of the most important aspects of food is spices. My SIL cooks well, but the food is BLAND. A little parsley on the potatoes, a little salt on about everything, some basil on the lima beans, some turmeric in the rice, or whatever herbs you enjoy, make a hugh difference. They keep well, and a little goes a long way. Just be sure that the herbs you use are compatible with your consumers (I myself HATE tarragon). One of the first things my instructor said in culinary school was “Don’t be afraid of the seasoning”.

  3. In addition to spices, I stock gravies, sauces and other condiments. A little hot sauce makes beans and rice taste so good. I also can my own condiments. I really like mango chutney on beans and rice.

  4. HappyClinger says:

    Absolutely use spices and seasonings! The most popular ones are very easy to grow – annuals basil (there are all sorts of distinctive flavors of basil) and parsley, and perennials thyme (also many flavors) and sage are super easy. (Use judgement regarding food aromas if in a grid-down situation. Maybe sprinkle on after cooking to keep aromas down.)

    Also if you want to stock up without growing/drying, etc, order in bulk; http://www.herbalcom.com has great prices (you have to re-package) and they’re awesome to deal with. (I am not affiliated; just a happy customer.)

    Herbs and spices will last for years if properly stored.

    • Chris Ray says:

      thanks for the link

    • I agree with you and mariowen, Happy Clinger – grow them!
      The nice thing is that some of the overlooked herbs can be self-seeding (if a little weedy) or the seeds store a decent amount of time, and they have HUGE benefits in pest reduction and improved pollination for gardens.

      Nasturtium and borage are two I tend to stock up on for the flavors they offer.

      The link looks awesome as well!

  5. Don’t forget basic things like ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, steak sauce. Have u ever tried steak sauce on hamburger or hot dog? BBQ sauce can do wonders for chicken.

  6. Hi Chris!
    This is the kind of thing I worry about…..but like they say, worry doesn’t solve anything. But, it does get me thinking. For a couple of years now, we have been doing trial runs with food. Not only how to make it taste good, and have a variety, but how to fix it, or heat it, or cook it, without much of a smell going out to lure the entire city to my house! In other words, there are so many different scenarios. Do we have power? Do we at least have gas for the stove? What can I use to cook indoors, if the stove is a no go. What about water? You can re-hydrate/cook some of your freeze dried foods, with the liquid in canned food. We started canning our own food last year, and what a difference that makes! Much easier to ‘plan’ meals your family already enjoys. BUT what about an evacuation? I have rooms of food…can’t all go with ya. Always thinking, searching for ideas from others, etc. Food boredom is real, and you don’t even have to be picky. The other posters are correct…spices, condiments. I think…’what do I make with beef’, and how can I adjust it to use canned beef? So I bought cans of beef at Costco. Then I learned to can meat, and wow, the flavor and choice went up a ton. Having ground beef, cooked and ready to go is wonderful, and quick. In fact last night we had a ‘food storage’ dinner. Chili was ready in a few minutes…jars of hamburger, home canned beans, a can of snap e tom, and spices! Ummm. Sure can be over whelming, and I think ‘treats’ are a very big help. Can really help brighten your day. But alas, even THOSE can become a bore, if there is no variety! In the end, I think you try your best with what you have, keep learning, and always put your trust in the Lord, and pray. Look forward to more posts, as I might learn something new!

  7. Kesate Batawi says:

    As a Rastafarian who also is a Prepper, i find it hard sometimes to cook or trial run scenario dinners and what to with my food preps, No salt , no meat , fish on the odd occasion, can be boring sometimes. So when i found spices, Flavor a couple years back, I was stoked. Instead of buying canned veges all the gosh darn time, in a few months I am thinking about home food preservation, so i can at least have a plethora of Vegies throughout a crisis, well until it runs out that is and onto plan B. Remember guys, flavor is your best friend to elevate not only ailments but the psychological woes one can expect during a emergency situation.

  8. I like to include a few junk food type items, to combat food boredom – a box of crackers, a brownie mix, a bag of chocolate candy, etc. Not a lot, but enough to enjoy something different. BTW, I realize that one is not supposed to store chocolate long term, but after u’ve gone a year or 2 without chocolate, I suspect that even stale chocolate is gonna taste pretty good. Imagine opening a box or bucket of storage food, to find a sweet goody in there.

    • Chris Ray says:

      actually Red, look through the comfort food article again. Chocolate blooms (turns white) but is still edible. It might not be great to eat as is, but should be fine to use in baking.

  9. mariowen says:

    Having an herb garden is a huge benefit to break up the food-same-taste all the time. Also, I have stored up boxes and boxes of cake mixes – lots of different flavors. And they are cheap when they are on sale. As kids we preferred the cake dough raw, so it is still a favorite, and guess what? No smell of baking! If you use powdered eggs and powdered milk and such, you can make up lots of mixes of things.If it has to cook, use the sun oven or another kind of cooking apparatus.

    I don’t worry too much about food boredom. When it comes down to starving or getting bored, I presume I will eat it even when I would prefer a nice juicy steak, sauteed mushrooms and au jus.

    I think a lot of it is a mind set. And we have also been training ourselves now. I cook up huge pots of stuff and we eat it till it is gone. If we get tired of it, then that is so much better for our weight issues, which is something that you will have to deal with if SHTF. If the rest of the community is starving and you are fat and full, you have a big problem on your hands. Perhaps a bit of food boredom will become your best friend – especially for a while till things settle down.

    And don’t forget to cook with a sun oven if you can. There really is little or no smell when you do! Good OPSEC!!

  10. mariowen says:

    Another idea is to plan some good and varied meals. Print out the recipes and stock up on those ingredients. Keep them all together and it will make it easier to come up with appetizing meals when you are under huge stresses. Choose your recipes wisely to be sure it is storable stuff that you will need. Try them out and see if your family is satisfied with it.

    Children can be a problem. I still maintain that kids that have been brought up on fast food are going to have huge problems. It is better to wean them off that stuff now when it is easier to deal with their bad attitudes about it. It will also make for healthier children. What you don’t need is to find that the stores are empty, the fast food restaurants are not operating, and your kids refuse home cooked food, mostly cooked in a non-working microwave. Think about it. Do you need that on top of all the other issues that go with a collapsed society or whatever it is you are dealing with?!

  11. One thing I found in Japan is furikake or sprinkles for rice. They come in numerous flavours, are cheap, tasty and lightweight. I haven’t tried to find them in North America but I imagine they would be available in most oriental grocery stores.

  12. Kesate Batawi says:

    Also if ya have a small amount of space in your bug out pack, try stock cubes, there small and contain herbs and salt, so bang for buck there great

  13. GatorGeek21 says:

    Reading this post & the comments makes me think of a time in my early-to-mid 20’s. There was very little for jobs & the best I could do was a part-time job & welfare. I hated being on the dole & I amazed people by actually building a little bit of savings while on it. LOL! Interesting side note…welfare actually wanted me to quit my job so that I could look for a full-time job. Talk about building suckling reliance on the government teet. But I digress.

    I would often take home 2-day olds from the cafe I worked at & would limit myself often to 1-2 meals a day. I would also walk pretty much everywhere. When I bought food I tried to stock as much staples as I could & supplemented with as much diversity as I could. I have always been a “spice guy” so I always had a good supply of various things to play with…even if they didn’t normally go together. I was also blessed by the occasional care package from mom which often contained some canned/boxed food & the occasional sweets. Through all of this time I NEVER used a food bank. I figured as bad as I had it there are still others that have it worse then me.

    The worst it ever got was when I was kicked off welfare (I had a crappy social worker who hated me for some reason…maybe I didn’t fit the mold). & owed 2 months rent & the grand total of my bank account was a whopping 27 cents (that’s Canadian money folks). To top it all off basically all I had was a package of spaghetti & a couple can’s of tomato soup. It is amazing some of the creations I came up with. Fortunately I had a friend who I occasionally helped pick up day old’s from a gourmet bakery & he would offer me & a few others to select some stuff. Mmmm…still remember those croissants with cheese & bacon in them. Or chocolate with icing sugar. And some cool breads. Another side note…I remember giving me poop for not calling home & asking for help. I told her quite simply, “I am the one who got myself into this situation. It is up to me to get myself out.”

    I definitely experienced some food boredom during this time, but looking back in retrospect I was focusing on keeping alive for another day…a better day ahead that I knew was coming. As a matter of fact I was able to share from the little I had…which made me almost human again. I remember my sister bringing that up & breaking into tears at my wedding…in the context of just how resilient & adaptable I could be. People were amazed…but for me…it was…yeah…I was just being who I am.

    As I look back & think about this point in my life, I can see now how God was using it to prepare me…for being prepared. I had been a boy scout for years, but some of that got lost in the years. Now…in my 40’s…I have had the prepper bug rekindled & I am grateful for what I went through in the past. It has allowed me to think about what can happen; what I can do to try & avoid it; what I can tolerate…among others things. I think the biggest thing I got from my past was resilience creative thinking & flexibility…with a healthy dose of “suck it up princess.” I guess the reason I shared this was potentially to encourage others to rely on their 2 most important prep’s: Their relationship with their higher power (if applicable) & themselves.

    I am relatively new to modern day prepping & feel like I am behind compared to what I see from others. But I know that if the PHTF tomorrow…even with no prep’s I think I could do ok…for a little while at least as long as I didn’t let things get the best of me.

    • GatorGeek21 says:

      In all my babbling I forgot to add that like some others here I have tried to include things like vinegar, ketchup, salt, pepper, hot sauce, white sugar, brown sugar, soya sauce, plum sauce, etc. In my prep’s. I tell my wife I am saving them for camping trips…shhh…don’t tell…she thinks I am nuts already. Basically….if we are out a coffee shop or restaurant or order in I will try to grab a few extra (maybe a handful) of extra packages to add to the supplies.

    • GatorGeek21, I bet you didn’t worry too much about food boredom, did you? It sounds more like you were looking for a meal vs. a different kind of food meal. I think we might have a different attitude about food if we were to the point of starvation. It is easy to sit back now and think about how bored we are with the same ol’, same ol’. I think that now, when things are plentiful, we can worry about food boredom. We can worry about whether we ate the same thing for a week. Under different circumstances, if you had had no food for 3 days, do you think you would worry if it was the same as the last meal you ate? Probably not (just guessing here). I haven’t had to go without food for long periods of time. Probably few of us have had to do that. Our minds will be so conflicted with the state of our situation that food probably won’t be the issue it is now as we sit and think, having just arisen from a full meal and our stomachs are full and have been that way for years and decades.

      There can be two kinds of disasters. One is a local one where we find ourselves the victim of localized power outages and such. Under these conditions, we will have more of a tendency to think about such things as whether we are eating the same food over and over. We would know that in the next town – state – life was going on normally. Then we might have a different mindset than if the entire country had collapsed, rioting and theft were the major things going on, and we feared for our very lives. Some of these situations could be over in a few weeks/months. Other times, it might takes years – several years – for things to calm down and perhaps never get back to what we are used to – what we now call normal – within our lifetimes…possibly ever. Then we are dealing with a different can of worms. The ones who will survive are the ones who are willing to suck it up and adjust to the new normal. The sooner you accept your new lifestyle, the easier it will be and the greater the possibility to actually survive it all. Some will succumb just because they can’t deal with things like hand washing your clothes, eating the same foods, growing your own garden, raising your own food, scrounging for clothes for your backs, living in a tent long term, etc.

      We don’t know what we will be faced with, but if we don’t decide now that there are greater issues than food variety, then we will probably be on the list of casualties.

      I am so glad that Chris brought up this subject. I think it is one that “preppers” need to think about. I think if we decide to live through it, we will. If we decide we can’t, we won’t. If we come to the realization that life may never be the same again, then we are closer to surviving long term. So many people in the prepper groups worry about what they have no control over. We need to spend more time worrying about what we can control and go from there. Stocking up on stuff is good.

      • GatorGeek21 says:

        Actually….I did worry about boredom. Even though I had limited resources I was eating pretty much the same thing with little variation. There were hnestly some times during that time in my life where I would sometimes think I don’t even want to eat. But hunger would get teh best or me & I would begrudingly eat what I had.

        I know what you mean about having ample resources rigth now & how that affects diet. I hate to admit it…but there are times where I will look into a full freezer or cupboard & a partically filled fridge & think, “there is nthing to eat.”

        A few things I have been trying to do to change my reliance on food is to eat as little as possible smetimes for at least one meal a day. Or eat basic items…typically a peice of fruit….some sort of grains & a granola bar. I will mix it up with rice cakes…soup…cereal…etc. But typically I have eaten both breakfast & lunch around 1000 calories. Being a bigger guy…this can be a challenge at times.

        In the past I have also tried to fast at least once a day. More for spiritual reasons then dietary. I will go from 6 PM one day to 6 PM the next & will only drink water, coffee, tea, etc. & vitamans. I have fallen out of this, but am trying to get back to building this discipline.

        One thing that kind of benefitted both my wife & I (she is not prepper-minded at thi point) was to eat what we had. We have done this a couple times where we rely only on what we have around the house. It makes for some interesting meals & forces you to think creatively about food. Plus..it helps save a few bucks along the way.

        I agree with you that this is an important topic for preppers. That is part of the reason i have started to collect all sorts of condiment packages. They are commercially packaged so chances are they will last a long time; they are easy to store; can be used in a variety of ways if you need food….and in a PHTF scenario could possibly be used as barter items.

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