My teenaged son and I were talking about the crazy economic week the nation (world!) is having.  I mentioned that the DOW had lost a fourth of its value in a weekend, and gold had gone from $1400/oz to $1800/oz.  He stared at me, and said, "I told you we should have bought gold!" 

Nah, I'm not interested in it- if I pooled all available resouces, I'd be able to buy about one handful of gold.   Wheat, on the other hand, is two cents an ounce (already in a bucket for you at Macey's this week).  And I can eat that.  The line I've repeated to my older children over the last couple years is, "I can't afford gold, but I can afford wheat.  And I can eat wheat."

Are you feeling concerned about the future?  The Lord told us, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."  (D&C 38:30).  More on that below.  The biggest part is being prepared spiritually- living with faith and trust in the Lord.  He will do what will help us become better, more righteous people.  Trials are essential to that.  Are you also prepared with food and supplies?  I do not advocate rushing out and going into debt to get everything; I do encourage you to pinch and scrape this month to get the most value out of your money, before the value changes again.  Buying the absolute basics- wheat, rice, oil, sugar, dry beans, salt, powdered milk-  will stretch your money the most.  Do you have an entertainment budget for the month?  A budget for dates?  Take that, just this month, and use it for food you can have on hand in your house.  Wheat has doubled in price since 2009; talk about a great investment!  I love eating at 2-years-ago prices. 

Here in Utah we enjoy a phenomenon called The Case Lot Sale.  As best I can tell, this is because of the high concentration of Mormons here and our unique buying habits; we have been taught since the church's early days (1800's) to have plenty of extra food and supplies at home.  The case lot sales are when the stores offer great prices on many items, usually the lowest prices of the year, and sometimes with an extra discount if you buy an entire case of something.  We enjoy the sales once or twice a year, depending on the store.  They are a big part of my budget shopping, along with the price book idea- I buy nearly all of my groceries only when on sale.  When canned green beans hit their best price, I buy enough for the coming year.  Then I don't buy any more for the rest of the year, when they're at least twice the price.  This makes for an expensive Case Lot month, but the months after are much cheaper as a result. 

This week Macey's and Fresh Market both have case lot sales.  See the Deals page for what the best prices are.  All of the long-term-storage foods I've listed there are close to, or cheaper than, the Home Storage Center prices.  The only exception is the Country Cream powdered milk, but it tastes better than the HSC's.  It's still a good deal, too.

The following excerpts from an article are from Ezra Taft Benson, then an Apostle, published in the Ensign magazine, January 1974, entitled “Prepare Ye”.  He repeats D&C 38:30 three times in it (“if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear”), and this talk has been extensively quoted.  It contains at least 12 segments I’ve quoted or heard quoted.  I recommend that you read through the whole talk, and see how many pieces of it you’ve heard before.

Here are some excerpts:

“In Matthew, chapter 24, we learn of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes. …” (Matt. 24:7.) The Lord declared that these and other calamities shall occur. These particular prophecies seem not to be conditional. The Lord, with his foreknowledge, knows that they will happen. Some will come about through man’s manipulations; others through the forces of nature and nature’s God, but that they will come seems certain. Prophecy is but history in reverse—a divine disclosure of future events.

Yet, through all of this, the Lord Jesus Christ has said: “… if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30.)

…At the April 1937 general conference of the Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints], President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., of the First Presidency, asked: “What may we as a people and as individuals do for ourselves to prepare to meet this oncoming disaster, which God in his wisdom may not turn aside from us?” President Clark then set forth these inspired basic principles of the Church welfare program:

“First, and above and beyond everything else, let us live righteously. … Let us avoid debt as we would avoid a plague; where we are now in debt, let us get out of debt; if not today, then tomorrow.  Let us straitly and strictly live within our incomes, and save a little.

Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds; you of large means will think you know how to care for yourselves, but I may venture to suggest that you do not speculate. Let every head of every household aim to own his own home, free from mortgage. Let every man who has a garden spot, garden it; every man who owns a farm, farm it.” (Conference Report, April 1937, p. 26.)

There are blessings in being close to the soil, in raising your own food, even if it is only a garden in your yard and/or a fruit tree or two. Man’s material wealth basically springs from the land and other natural resources. Combined with his human energy and multiplied by his tools, this wealth is assured and expanded through freedom and righteousness. Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of each of these particulars.”

 Healthful foods, proper rest, adequate exercise, and a clean conscience can prepare us to tackle the trials that lie ahead.”

image courtesy photos8.com

Seasoned flour is fabulous to coat any meat before cooking.  It's also delicious added to onion-ring batter.  All you do is mix 1 cup pancake batter with 1 Tbsp. seasoned flour.

Slice an onion and separate it into rings.  I like to leave the center tiny rings together.  Dip into batter, and drop into 375-degree oil.  It will take only 1-2 minutes per side to cook.  Drain on paper towels.

One giant onion (18 ounces!) and a half-hour later, we have a giant pile of delicious onion rings. 

This recipe is kind of a shake-and-bake thing, but cheaper and fresher.  It is really delicious with any kind of meat- chicken, beef, pork, fish, you name it.  Put ½ cup of this on a plate, then dredge (dip) raw meat in it, coating both sides.  The mixture is pretty salty, so use serving-sized chunks of meat.  If you’re going to coat chicken-nugget-sized pieces, combine mixture with an equal amount of cracker crumbs or flour, or the meat will be too salty.  (Lesson learned the hard way.)  Heat up 1-4 Tbsp. of oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat, then cook the meat until as done as you like.  Any leftover (used) seasoned flour can be kept in the freezer until you need it, or mix it into a batch of biscuits, breadsticks, or cornbread.  My new favorite use for seasoned flour is Onion Rings: make pancake batter (any recipe, don’t add oil or butter) but add 1 Tbsp. of Seasoned Flour to it for each cup of flour or pancake mix you used.  Slice an onion and separate it into rings, dip them into the batter, and deep fry a few at a time until golden.  NO restaurant onion ring in my memory can compare to this!

 Seasoned Flour 
4   cups   flour   
3   Tbsp.   seasoned salt
3   Tbsp.   garlic salt   
3   Tbsp.   onion salt   
3   Tbsp.   pepper   
3   Tbsp.   salt   

Mix together and store airtight in cupboard.  Makes about 4 ½ cups.

 If you don't have garlic salt or onion salt,  use 
4 cups flour
3 Tbsp. seasoned salt
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
3 Tbsp. pepper
1/4 c. salt

If you don't want to keep more than a quart jar's worth, give the extra 1/2 cup to a neighbor to try- they'll want the recipe too!

Have you heard this before?  It’s a quote from Brigham Young  (if you’re short on time, just read the bold):

  “Were I to ask the question, how much wheat or anything else a man must have to justify him in letting it go to waste, it would be hard to answer; figures are inadequate to give the amount. Never let anything go to waste. Be prudent, save everything, and what you get more than you can take care of yourselves, ask your neighbors to help you. There are scores and hundreds of men in this house, if the question were asked them if they considered their grain a burden and a drudge to them, when they had plenty last year and the year before, that would answer in the affirmative, and were ready to part with it for next to nothing. How do they feel now, when their granaries are empty? If they had a few thousand bushels to spare now, would they not consider it a blessing? They would. Why? Because it would bring the gold and silver. But pause for a moment, and suppose you had millions of bushels to sell, and could sell it for twenty dollars per bushel, or for a million dollars per bushel, no matter what amount, so that you sell all your wheat, and transport it out of the country, and you are left with nothing morethan a pile of gold, what good would it do you? You could not eat it, drink it, wear it, or carry it off where you could have something to eat. The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat. Gold is not to be compared with it in value. Why would it be precious to you now? Simply because you could get gold for it? Gold is good for nothing, only as men value it. It is no better than a piece of iron, a piece of limestone, or a piece of sandstone, and it is not half so good as the soil from which we raise our wheat, and other necessaries of life. The children of men love it, they lust after it, are greedy for it, and are ready to destroy themselves, and those around them, over whom they have any influence, to gain it” (Journal of Discourses, 1:, p.250).

The onion rings and some hushpuppies.  This was from a 2-cup batch of onion ring batter.  Next time I'll use 1 cup and a normal-sized yellow onion.

If you have extra batter, you can add a little oil or melted butter (for tenderness), and stir in cornmeal and/or flour until it's thick enough to get round spoonfuls.  Also nice with some dried parsley for color.  Drop the spoonfuls into the hot oil, flip to the other side after a minute.  Drain on paper towels, too.