Meals Made Easy: It's In the Bag!

I was recently researching the US gov't website ( on emergency preparedness, and I've also been reading a clever book (It's In the Bag: A New, Easy, Affordable, and Doable Approach to Food Storage) on this topic as well. The website is terrific and breaks down what could seem an overwhelming project (3-day emergency kits, for example) into doable steps. The book is good, too, and explains a unique approach to the issue of food storage that has a lot of merit.

It's unpredictable times we live in, wouldn't you say? So it's with that in mind that I thought I'd share the overall content of this book with you, just in case you've been thinking about and wanting to do something about food storage as well. I found this concise overview on a great website,, and so rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought I'd reference what the website author, Cheryl Driggs, has to say about it.

It's In the Bag teaches a method for assembling a usable three-month supply of food. Its purpose is to promote daily self-reliant living through food storage (expanded rather than basic). The authors also talk about raising chickens, canning, sprouting, and making their own dairy products, but I'll just focus on the challenge of getting some food storage together.

The book not only tells you how to create storable meals in bags, but also includes her recipes for over 100 meals; I appreciate this feature. These recipes list everything you need, including water, to prepare a complete meal (sometimes even the side dishes). Items for one complete meal are stored in medium size gift bags with the recipe attached to the outside of the bag. Each meal serves 6 to 8 people.

Seems like a smart idea and the authors give twelve reasons why this is indeed a smart way to store a 3-month supply of food this way:

1. You'll have organized, complete meals you know your family will enjoy.

2. Bag Meals save you time and money.

3. Bag Meals have shorter prep time.

4. Bag Meals will save you space [Me: A nice feature considering lots of folks don't have much space to devote to extra food stuffs.]

5. Bag Meals offer a sense of security when you know that you'll always have all the ingredients for your meals on hand.

6. Anyone in your family who has basic reading skills can prepare a Bag Meal-even someone who doesn't cook.

7. All ingredients found in Bag Meals are pre-measured [Me: Hence the savings in prep-time mentioned above.]

8. The Bag Meal System is an easy way to "baby step" your way to building a food storage meant for a longer period of time.

9. It's easy to rotate your food storage, and best of all, you know exactly what to buy to replace your food storage ingredients.

10. You are always prepared to share a meal at a moment's notice [Me: Consider the sick neighbor you'd like to take a meal into, a housewarming welcome, when YOU are sick and can't cook, or when it's been a crazy day and you don't want to cook.]

11. In times of disaster, you won't be eating a granola bar and beef jerky. You will be able to enjoy a complete meal.

12. Suppose you are asked to evacuate your home. [Me: A real-life scenario for many people in our area the past two summers, thanks to raging wild fires.] Adults can comfortably carry a Bag Meal in each hand, and even a young child can carry a Bag Meal in their arms.

ME now: A very unique idea, don't you think? The only hesitation I have is whether the Bag Meal approach really does save space. I've been in too many very small homes where there wasn't a dedicated closet, basement area, or large pantry to accommodate extra food. But we know "Where there's a will, there's a way."

As an example of "Where there's a will…" I've also been in very small homes where determined folks knew they needed to store some emergency food and essentials and did so under their beds. This picture shows a couple preparing to store bottled water under their bed. So under-bed storage would be an option if you were low on space as well.

Well, to refer back to the US gov't website,, their counsel is that we don't want to live in fear or stress, we just want to be prepared. After all, if we prepare now, we can cope later. And coping well is the whole point. So however you want to approach the subject, do approach it. Being ready could well be in the bag!


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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