The World Food Crisis: Recipes , Sources and Solutions
An acute food crisis has struck the world This is on top of a longer-term crisis of agriculture and food that has already left billions hungry and malnourished. In order to understand the full, dire implications of what is happening today it is necessary to look at the interaction between these short-term and long-term crises. Both crises arise primarily from the for-profit production of food, fiber, and now biofuels, and the rift between food and people that this inevitably generates.
‘Routine’ Hunger before the Current Crisis
Of the more than 6 billion people living in the world today, the United Nations estimates that close to 1 billion suffer from chronic hunger. But this number, which is only a crude estimate, leaves out those suffering from vitamin and nutrient deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition. The total number of food insecure people who are malnourished or lacking critical nutrients is probably closer to 3 billion—about half of humanity. The severity of this situation is made clear by the United Nations estimate of over a year ago that approximately 18,000 children die daily as a direct or indirect consequence of malnutrition.
Lack of production is rarely the reason that people are hungry. This can be seen most clearly in the United States, where despite the production of more food than the population needs, hunger remains a significant problem. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2006 over 35 million people lived in food-insecure households, including 13 million children. Due to a lack of food adults living in over 12 million households could not eat balanced meals and in over 7 million families someone had smaller portions or skipped meals. In close to 5 million families, children did not get enough to eat at some point during the year.
In poor countries too, it is not unusual for large supplies of wasted and misallocated food to exist in the midst of widespread and persistent hunger. A few years ago a New York Timesarticle had a story with the following headline “Poor in India Starve as Surplus Wheat Rots” . As a Wall Street Journal headline put it in 2004 “Want Amid Plenty, An Indian Paradox: Bumper Harvests and Rising Hunger” .
Don’t wait, start right now because remember, there are no do-overs in survival. When all the grocery store food is gone, you get to live on what you’ve stockpiled.
No ‘Right to Food’
Hunger and malnutrition generally are symptoms of a larger underlying problem—poverty in an economic system that recognizes, as Rachel Carson put it, no other gods but those of profit and production. Food is treated in almost all of the world’s countries as just another commodity, like clothes, automobiles, pencils, books, diamond jewelry, and so on. People are not considered to have a right to purchase any particular commodity, and no distinction is made in this respect between necessities and luxuries. Those who are rich can afford to purchase anything they want while the poor are often not able to procure even their basic needs. Under capitalist relations people have no right to an adequate diet, shelter, and medical attention. As with other commodities, people without what economists call “effective demand” cannot buy sufficient nutritious food. Of course, lack of “effective demand” in this case means that the poor don’t have enough money to buy the food they need.
Humans have a “biological demand” for food—we all need food, just as we need water and air, to continue to live. It is a systematic fact of capitalist society that many are excluded from fully meeting this biological need. It’s true that some wealthy countries, especially those in Europe, do help feed the poor, but the very way capitalism functions inherently creates a lower strata of society that frequently lacks the basics for human existence. In the United States there are a variety of government initiatives—such as food stamps and school lunch programs—aimed at feeding the poor. Yet, the funding for these programs does not come close to meeting the needs of the poor, and various charities fight an uphill battle trying to make up the difference.
In this era relatively few people actually die from starvation, aside from the severe hunger induced by wars and dislocations. Most instead become chronically malnourished and then are plagued by a variety of diseases that shorten their lives or make them more miserable. The scourge of malnutrition impedes children’s mental and physical development, harming them for the rest of their lives.
The Acute and Growing Crisis
At this moment in history there are, in addition to the “routine” hunger discussed above, two separate global food crises occurring simultaneously. The severe and acute crisis, about two years old, is becoming worse day by day and it is this one that we’ll discuss first. The severity of the current crisis cannot be overstated. It has rapidly increased the number of people around the globe that are malnourished. Although statistics of increased hunger during the past year are not yet available, it is clear that many will die prematurely or be harmed in other ways. As usual, it will be the young, the old, and the infirm that will suffer the worst effects of the Great Hunger of 2008. The rapid and simultaneous rise in the world prices for all the basic food crops—corn (maize), wheat, soybeans, rice, and cooking oils—along with many other crops is having a devastating effect on an increasing portion of humanity.
The increases in the world market prices over the past few years have been nothing short of astounding. The prices of the sixty agricultural commodities traded on the world market increased 37 percent last year and 14 percent in 2006 (New York Times, January 19, 2008). Corn prices began their rise in the early fall of 2006 and within months had soared by some 70 percent. Wheat and soybean prices also skyrocketed during this time and are now at record levels. The prices for cooking oils (mainly made from soybeans and oil palm)—an essential foodstuff in many poor countries—have rocketed up as well. Rice prices have also risen over 100 percent in the last year.
The reasons for these soaring food prices are fairly clear. First, there are a number of issues related directly or indirectly to the increase in petroleum prices. In the United States, Europe, and many other countries this has brought a new emphasis on growing crops that can be used for fuel—called biofuels (or agrofuels). Thus, producing corn to make ethanol or soybean and palm oil to make diesel fuel is in direct competition with the use of these crops for food. Last year over 20 percent of the entire corn crop in the United States was used to produce ethanol—a process that does not yield much additional energy over that which goes into producing it. (It is estimated that over the next decade about one-third of the U.S. corn crop will be devoted to ethanol production [Bloomberg, February 21, 2008].) Additionally, many of the inputs for large-scale commercial agricultural production are based on petroleum and natural gas—from building and running tractors and harvesting equipment to producing fertilizers and pesticides and drying crops for storage. The price of nitrogen fertilizer, the most commonly used fertilizer worldwide, is directly tied to the price of energy because it takes so much energy to produce.
A second cause of the increase in prices of corn and soybeans and soy cooking oil is that the increasing demand for meat among the middle class in Latin America and Asia, especially China. The use of maize and soy to feed cattle, pigs, and poultry has risen sharply to satisfy this demand. The world’s total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last twenty years alone. (New York Times, January 27, 2008.) Feeding grain to more and more animals is putting growing pressure on grain stores. Feeding grain to produce meat is a very inefficient way of providing people with either calories or protein. It is especially wasteful for animals such as cows—with digestive systems that can derive energy from cellulose—because they can obtain all of their nutrition from pastures and will grow well without grain, although more slowly. Cows are not efficient converters of corn or soy to meat—to yield a pound of meat, cows require eight pounds of corn; pigs, five; and chickens, three .
A third reason for the big jump in world food prices is that a few key countries that were self-sufficient—that is, did not import foods, although plenty of people suffered from hunger—are now importing large quantities of food. As a farm analyst in New Delhi says “When countries like India start importing food, then the world prices zoom….If India and China are both turning into bigger importers, shifting from food self-sufficiency as recently we have seen in India, then the global prices are definitely going to rise still further, which will mean the era of cheaper food has now definitely gone away” (VOA News, February 21, 2008). Part of the reason for the pressure on rice prices is the loss of farmland to other uses such as various development projects—some 7 million acres in China and 700,000 acres in Vietnam. In addition, rice yields per acre in Asia have reached a plateau. There has been no per acre increase for ten years and yield increases are not expected in the near future .
Some of the reasons for the recent price increases for wheat and rice are related to weather. The drought in Australia, a major wheat exporting country, and low yields in a few other exporters has greatly affected wheat prices. A 2007 cyclone in Bangladesh destroyed approximately 600 million dollars worth of its rice crop, leading to rice price increases of about 70 percent (The Daily Star [Bangladesh], February 11, 2008). The drought last year in northcentral China combined with the unusual cold and snow during the winter will probably lead the government to greater food purchases on the international markets, keeping the pressure on prices.
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Speculation in the futures market and hoarding at the local level are certainly playing a part in this crisis situation to make food more expensive. As the U.S. financial crisis deepened and spread in the winter of 2008, speculators started putting more money into food and metals to take advantage of what is being called the “commodities super cycle.” (The dollar’s decline relative to other currencies stimulates “investment” in tangible commodities.) While it would be a mistake to see these aspects, however despicable and inhumane, as the cause of the crisis, they certainly add to the misery by taking advantage of tight markets. It is certainly possible that the commodity bubble will burst, bringing down food prices a bit. However, speculation and local hoarding will continue to put an upward pressure on food prices. Transnational corporations that process agricultural products, manufacture various foods, and sell food to the public are, of course, all doing exceptionally well. Corporate profits usually do well in a time of shortages and price increases.
Although not a cause for the increase in prices of other foods, the higher prices for ocean fish have created an added burden for the poor and near poor. Overfishing of many ocean species is removing this important protein source from the diet of a large percentage of the world’s population.
The response to the crisis has come in the form of demonstrations and riots as well as changes in government policies. Over the past few months there have been protests and riots over the increasing cost of food in many countries, including Pakistan, Guinea, Mauritania, Morocco, Mexico, Senegal, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. China has instituted price controls for basic foods and Russia has frozen the price of milk, bread, eggs, and cooking oil for six months. Egypt, India, and Vietnam have banned or placed strict control on the export of rice so that their own people will have sufficient food. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, has expanded the number of people eligible to receive food aid by over 10 million. Many countries have lowered protectionist tariffs to try to lessen the blow of dramatically higher prices of imported foods. Countries heavily dependent on food imports such as the Philippines, the world’s largest importer of rice, are scrambling to make deals to obtain the needed imports. But these various stop-gap efforts have mainly marginal effects on the problem. Almost all people are forced into a lower standard of living as those in the middle class become increasingly careful about the foods they purchase, the near poor drop into poverty, and the formerly poor become truly destitute and suffer greatly. The effects have been felt around the world in all classes of society except the truly wealthy. As Josette Sheeran, the head of the UN’s World Food Program, said in February, “This is the new face of hunger….There is food on shelves but people are priced out of the market. There is vulnerability in urban areas we have not seen before. There are food riots in countries where we have not seen them before” .
Although Haiti has been a very poor country for years—80 percent of the people try to subsist on less than what two dollars a day can purchase in the United States—the recent situation has brought it to new depths of desperation. Two cups of rice, which cost thirty cents a year ago, now cost sixty cents. The description of an Associated Press article from earlier this year (January 29, 2008) is most poignant in its details:
It was lunchtime in one of Haiti’s worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country’s central plateau.
The “cookies” also contain some vegetable shortening and salt. Toward the end of the article is the following:
Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them.
“I’m hoping one day I’ll have enough food to eat, so I can stop eating these,” she said. “I know it’s not good for me.”
Many countries in Africa and Asia have been severely impacted by the crisis with hunger spreading widely—but all nations are affected to one extent or another. In the United States—where over the past year the price of eggs increased 38 percent, milk by 30 percent, lettuce by 16 percent, and whole wheat bread by 12 percent—many people are starting to purchase less costly products. “Higher Food Prices Start to Pinch Consumers” is the way the Wall Street Journal put it in a headline (January 3, 2008).
It should be noted here that while wheat prices are at record levels and prices of wheat products in the United States will certainly go higher, the cost of the wheat in a loaf of bread is only small part of the retail price. When wheat prices double, as they have, the price of a loaf of bread may increase by 10 percent, perhaps from $3 to $3.30. However, the effect of a doubling of prices for corn, wheat, soybeans, and rice is devastating for poor people in the third world who primarily purchase raw commodities.
With food pantries and soup kitchens stretched to the breaking point, the U.S. poor are experiencing deepening suffering. In general, the poor in the United States tend to first pay their rent, heat, gas (for a car to get to work), and electricity bills. That leaves food as one of the few “flexible” items in their budgets. In the central part of my home state of Vermont, over the last year the use of food shelves (i.e., aid from local, charitable food assistance programs that give groceries directly to the needy) has increased 133 percent among all users and 180 percent among the working poor!
The economic recession is beginning to be felt in many parts of the United States, adding to the rise in requests for help from the various government food assistance programs (“As Jobs Vanish and Prices Rise, Food Stamp Use Nears Record,” New York Times, March 31, 2008). But, frequently people using the inadequately funded government programs tend to run out of food toward the end of the month, resulting in a huge increase in demand at food shelves and soup kitchens at that time. And as the need for food has increased, food donations have actually declined—with a large drop in federal donations (with high prices there are fewer “surplus” commodities from farm programs, so $58 million in food was given to food shelves last year versus $242 million five years before).
Supermarkets have found ways to make money from damaged or dated goods they previously donated to charities. In Connecticut, there has been a surge in demand for food while supply is not keeping up. A food pantry in Stamford is supplying food to four hundred families, double the number of a year ago. According to the food pantry’s director, “I have had to turn people away….There were times I went home and wanted to cry” . A professor at Cornell University who studies food-assistance programs in the United States has summarized the situation: “There is a nascent crisis building….Demand for food-bank assistance is climbing rapidly when the resources are falling in dramatic terms because the dollars just don’t go as far” .
The Long-Term Food Crisis
As critical as the short-term food crisis is—demanding immediate world notice as well as attention within every country—the long-term, structural crisis is even more important. The latter has existed for decades and contributes to, and is reinforced by, today’s acute food crisis. Indeed, it is this underlying structural crisis of agriculture and food in third world societies which constitutes the real reason that the immediate food crisis is so severe and so difficult to surmount within the system.
There has been a huge migration of people out of the countryside to the cities of the third world. They leave the countryside because they lack access to land. Often their land has been stolen as a result of the inroads of agribusiness, while they are also forced from the land by low prices they have historically received for their products and threats against campesino lives. They move to cities seeking a better life but what they find is a very hard existence—life in slums with extremely high unemployment and underemployment. Most will try to scrape by in the “informal” economy by buying things and then selling them in small quantities. Of the half of humanity that lives in cities (3 billion), some 1 billion, or one-third of city dwellers, live in slums. The chairman of a district in Lagos, Nigeria described it as follows: “We have a massive growth in population with a stagnant or shrinking economy. Picture this city ten, twenty years from now. This is not the urban poor—this is the new urban destitute.” A long New Yorkerarticle on Lagos ended on a note of extreme pessimism: “The really disturbing thing about Lagos’ pickers and vendors is that their lives have essentially nothing to do with ours. They scavenge an existence beyond the margins of macroeconomics. They are, in the harsh terms of globalization, superfluous”.
One of the major factors pushing this mass and continuing migration to the cities—in addition to being landless or forced off land—is the difficulty to make a living as a small farmer. This has been made especially difficult, as countries have implemented the “neoliberal” policies recommended or mandated by the IMF, the World Bank, and even some of the western NGOs working in the poor countries of the third world. The neoliberal ideology holds that the so-called free market should be allowed to work its magic. Through the benign sanctions of the “invisible hand,” it is said, the economy will function most efficiently and will be highly productive. But in order for the market to be “free” governments must stop interfering.
With regard to agriculture, governments should stop subsidizing farmers to purchase fertilizers, stop being involved in the storage and transportation of food, and just let farmers and food alone. This approach also holds that governments should stop subsidizing food for poor people and then the newly unbridled market will take care of it all. This mentality was evident as the Haitian food crisis started to develop late in 2007. According to the Haitian Minister of Commerce and Industry, “We cannot intervene and fix prices because we have to comply with free market regulations” . This was the same response that colonial Britain adopted in response to the Irish potato famine as well as to the famines in India in the late 1800s. But to a certain extent this way of thinking is now internalized in the thinking of many leaders in the “independent” countries of the periphery.
This ideology, of course, has no basis in reality—the so-called free market is not necessarily efficient at all. It is also absolutely unable to act as a mechanism to end poverty and hunger. We should always keep in mind that this ideology represents the exact opposite of what the core capitalist countries have historically done and what they are actually doing today. For example, the U.S. national government has supported farmers in many ways for over a century. This has occurred through government programs for research and extension, taking land from Indians and giving it to farmers of European origin, subsidizing farmers directly through a variety of programs including low-cost loans, and stimulating the export of crops. It should also be noted that the United States, Europe, and Japan all developed their industrial economies under protectionist policies plus a variety of programs of direct assistance to industry.
A year supply of stockpiled food may be overkill for most survival situations short of an apocalyptic event (i.e. TEOTWAWKI). However, if it helps you sleep better at night knowing you have a year’s worth of food stock on the premises, what’s that investment worth to you?
The effects of the governments of the third world stopping their support of small farmers and consumers has meant that the life for the poor in those countries has become more difficult. As an independent report commissioned by World Bank put it: “In most reforming countries, the private sector did not step in to fill the vacuum when the public sector withdrew” (New York Times, October 15, 2007). For example, many African governments under pressure from the neoliberal economic policies promoted by the World Bank, the IMF, and the rich countries of the center of the system stopped subsidizing the use of fertilizers on crops. Although it is true that imported fertilizers are very expensive, African soils are generally of very low fertility and crop yields are low when you use neither synthetic nor organic fertilizers. As yields fell after governments were no longer assisting the purchase of fertilizers and helping in other ways, more farmers found that they could not survive and migrated to the city slums. Jeffrey Sachs—a partially recovered free-trade shock doctor—has had some second thoughts. According to Sachs, “The whole thing was based on the idea that if you take away the government for the poorest of the poor that somehow these markets will solve the problems….But markets can’t step in and won’t step in when people have nothing. And if you take away help, you leave them to die”.
Last year one country in Africa, Malawi, decided to reverse course and go against all the recommendations they had received. The government reintroduced subsidies for fertilizers and seeds. Farmers used more fertilizers, the yields increased, and the country’s food situation improved greatly . In fact, they were able to export some food to Zimbabwe—although there are those in Malawi, who consider that to have lowered their own supplies too far.
Another problem occurs as capitalist farmers in some of the poor countries of the periphery enter into world markets. While subsistence farmers usually sell only a small portion of their crops, using most for family consumption, capitalist farmers are those that market all or a large portion of what they produce. They frequently expand production and take over the land of small farmers, with or without compensation, and use fewer people than previously to work a given piece of land because of mechanized production techniques. In Brazil, the “Soybean King” controls well over a quarter of a million acres (100,000 hectares) and uses huge tractors and harvesting equipment for working the land. In China corrupt village and city officials frequently sell “common land” to developers without adequate compensation to the farmers—sometimes there is no compensation at all.
Thus, the harsh conditions for farmers caused by a number of factors, made worse by the implementing of free-market ideology, have created a continuing stream of people leaving the countryside and going to live in cities that do not have jobs for them. And those now living in slums and without access to land to grow their own food are at the mercy of the world price for food.
One of the reasons for the growing consolidation of land holdings and forcing out of subsistence farmers is the penetration of multinational agricultural corporations into the countries of the periphery. From selling seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides to processing raw agricultural products to exporting or selling them through new, large supermarkets, agribusiness multinationals are having a devastating effect on small farmers. With the collapse of extension systems for helping farmers save seeds and with the disbanding of government seed companies the way was paved for multinational seed companies to make major inroads.
The giant transnational corporations such as Cargill and Monsanto now reach into most of the third world—selling seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and feeds while buying and processing raw agricultural products. In the process they assist larger farms to become “more efficient” —to grow over larger land areas. The main advantage of genetically modified organism (GMO) seeds is that they help to simplify the process of farming and allow large acreages to be under the management of a single entity—a large farmer or corporation—squeezing out small farmers.
The negative effects of the penetration of large supermarket chains are being felt as well. Large supermarkets would rather deal with a few farmers growing on a large scale than with many small farmers. And the opening of large supermarkets does away with the traditional markets used by small farmers.
Ending World Hunger
Ending world hunger is conceptually quite simple. However, actually putting it into practice is far from simple. First, the access to a healthy and varied diet needs to be recognized for the basic human right that it clearly is. Governments must commit to ending hunger among their people and they must take forceful action to carry out this commitment. In many countries, even at this time, there is sufficient food produced to feed the entire population at a high level of nutrition. This is, of course, most evident in the United States, where so much food is produced. It is nothing less than a crime that so many of the poor in the United States are hungry, malnourished, or don’t know where their next meal will come from (which itself takes a psychological toll) when there is actually plenty of food.
In the short run, the emergency situation of increasingly severe hunger and malnutrition needs be addressed with all resources at a country’s disposal. Although mass bulk distribution of grains or powdered milk can play a role, countries might consider the Venezuelan innovation of setting up feeding houses in all poor neighborhoods. When the people believe that the government is really trying to help them, and they are empowered to find or assist in a solution to their own problems, a burst of enthusiasm and volunteerism results. For example, although the food in Venezuela’s feeding program is supplied by the government, the meals for poor children, the elderly, and the infirm are prepared in, and distributed from, peoples’ homes using considerable amounts of volunteer labor. In addition, Venezuela has developed a network of stores that sell basic foodstuffs at significant discounts over prices charged in private markets.
Pioneer recipes save your life on Food Crisis
Early frontier cooking was greatly influenced by place and season. Indigenous plants and animals supplied much of the food. Other provisions (flour, dried beans, coffee, sugar, etc.) were stocked at points of origin and resupplied along the way. The first pioneers in most places ate by campfires. By necessity, foods were cooked by very simple methods. Dutch ovens, frying pans, boiling pots, and roasting spits were typically employed. As settlements grew, so did the range of cuisine. Why? Improvements in housing and transportation enabled a greater variety of food to be prepared in more traditional ways.
What Did the Pioneers Eat?
In the pioneer world, people were not able to go to the nearest grocery store to pick up food for dinner. If you had used the term “fast food” with one of the pioneers they would have thought you picked something from the garden and ate it, because preparing food in the pioneer world was an art, as well as a chore.
When you think of how available most foods are to us today, it can sometimes lead you to wonder how our pioneer ancestors could have survived. With no refrigeration and few (or no) grocery stores close by, they had to rely on common sense, imagination, and the land around them for most of their daily menu.
Pioneer women who had to decide what few precious things to carry across the plains surely made one choice in common—their own individual collection of “receipts,” as recipes were then called. For them, these were reminders of a security left behind and a hope for the abundance of the future. In the interim, they simply did what they had to do to keep their families alive.
Velvet Chicken Soup
3 or 4 pounds chicken
3 quarts cold water
1 tablespoon salt
6 peppercorns (or 1/4 teaspoon white pepper)
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 cups rich milk or cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, well beaten
Thoroughly clean chicken and cut into pieces. Put in covered kettle with cold water and salt. Bring to boil quickly and simmer until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from stock and remove meat from bones (saving meat to use in croquettes, pie, etc.) Return bones to soup stock and add peppercorns (or white pepper), chopped onions, and chopped celery. Simmer together until a little more than a quart of stock remains in pan; strain, cool, and remove all fat. Add rich milk or cream, bring to a boil, and thicken with cornstarch that’s been mixed smooth with a little cold water. Add butter and season to taste. Beat eggs with a little cream. Pour 1 cup soup over egg mixture, stirring well, then pour egg-soup mixture back into soup, stirring constantly, and cook 2 minutes. Serve hot in soup dishes, adding bite-size croutons if desired.
Side Pork and Mormon Gravy
Mormon gravy, common fare among the early settlers and apparently a creation of necessity expressly for the times, is still hearty and nourishing for many of this generation who like to make it with ground beef or frizzled ham or bacon and serve it over baked potatoes.
8 thick slices side pork (or thick-cut bacon strips)
4 tablespoons meat drippings
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Salt, pepper, paprika
Cook meat on both sides in heavy frying pan until crisp. Remove from pan and keep warm. Measure fat and return desired amount to skillet. Add flour and brown slightly. Remove from heat and add milk, stirring well to blend. Return to heat and cook and stir until mixture is thick and smooth. Season to taste. Serve with side pork on potatoes, biscuits, cornbread, or even pancakes.
The years 1862 and 1863 saw thousands of Scandinavian Saints leaving their homeland to come to Zion. With them came some of their favorite recipes, including Norwegian fruit soup and Swedish jam cake.
Norwegian Fruit Soup
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried currants
1 tablespoon raisins
1-inch stick cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sago or quick-cooking tapioca
To each cup water, add amounts given above of prunes, currants, raisins, and cinnamon. Cook until fruit is tender. Add sugar, vinegar, and sago or tapioca and bring to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat, remove stick cinnamon, and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.
Swedish Jam Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup strawberry jam
Cream butter and sugar; add beaten egg yolks and salt. Dissolve soda in buttermilk. Sift together flour and spices and add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, adding flour last. Beat well and add jam. Fold in beaten egg whites. Bake in greased and floured 8×8-inch pan at 375° F. for 35 to 40 minutes.
Native Currant Whirligig
Of English origin, “currant whirligig” was made in pioneer times with native wild currants. It is equally good made with other tart berries, such as cranberries.
3/4 cup sugar or 2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
3 cups cleaned and washed black or red currants (or other tart berries)
Mix sugar, flour, spices, and salt together. Pour slowly into hot water, stirring constantly. (If using honey, use cold rather than hot water and blend ingredients together before heating.) Cook until thickened, stirring. Place currants in 8×8-inch square pan or baking dish and pour hot sauce over them. Set into preheated 350° F. oven while making topping.
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 teaspoon soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup lard or shortening
1 large egg
3 tablespoons milk (soured with 1/2 teaspoon vinegar)
1/4 cup sugar or honey
3 tablespoons melted butter
Sift flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar into mixing bowl. Cut in shortening, then add egg and milk. Mix to stiff dough. Roll into 9×12-inch rectangle; spread with honey and melted butter mixture. Roll from long side as for a jelly roll, pinching edges, and cut into 9 pieces. Remove berry sauce from oven and place dough swirls at even intervals on top of hot fruit filling. Bake at 350° F. for 15 minutes. Serve warm with or without whipped cream.
Spiced Red Cabbage
Typically German, this recipe for spiced red cabbage has been passed down as a favorite. It is still used in many homes today, traditionally in some as part of the Christmas feast.
4 cups shredded red cabbage
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 medium-sized apple
1 small potato, sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon shortening
Combine cabbage, onion, apple, and potato in small amount of boiling salted water and simmer until tender. Drain and combine with remaining ingredients.
This currant bread recipe was brought from Wales in 1856. The Welsh people often used it as a Christmas bread. The Saints found wild currants when they first arrived in the valley, and it is possible that they dried them for winter use. Raisins were not available until later, when cuttings for grapes were brought from California.
1 yeast cake
1/4 cup lukewarm water
9 cups flour
2 cups shortening
1 pound raisins
1 pound dried currants
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 halves candied lemon peel, cut fine
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups (about) water
Soften yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Cut shortening into flour. Add remaining ingredients, including yeast mixture, except water. Mix thoroughly, then add enough warm water (about 3 cups) to make a soft but not sticky dough. Let rise overnight (about 7 hours), then form into 4 small loaves. Let rise again (about 2 hours) and bake at 300° F. for 1 1/2 hours. Especially good with cheese.
This potato cake recipe came across the plains with a young woman from Austria over a hundred years ago. Potato cakes are delicious served hot or cold with any kind of meat, fish, poultry, or salad.
6 medium potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
Wash and peel potatoes, then grate medium fine. Combine with salt, milk, eggs, and flour. Drop mixture by spoonfuls into hot shortening in skillet and fry to golden brown on both sides.
With the wild fruits—plums, cherries, grapes, gooseberries, currants—and the glorious fresh fruit cultivated so successfully from imported cuttings, the early pioneer women were soon making some of the delicacies that reminded them of “home.” Two of the favorites were Swiss apple-cherry pie, a recipe that came into the valley with a young Swiss convert who was famed for its making, and 101-year-old pastry, as good today as it was in the early days.
Swiss Apple-Cherry Pie
4 large cooking apples
6 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups pitted sour pie cherries, fresh or canned
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Make pastry for two-crust pie. Pare, core, and slice apples. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and brush on bottom of pastry shell. Arrange a layer of apples on bottom of pastry shell. Mix dry ingredients and sprinkle portion over layer of apples. Arrange layer of red cherries, then sprinkle with some of dry ingredients; then layer of apples and dry ingredients; layer of cherries and dry ingredients; and end with layer of apples. Top with dots of remaining butter. After top crust is added to pie, rub crust with cream or evaporated milk and sprinkle with mixture of 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Bake at 425° F. for 30 to 40 minutes.
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup lard or shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vinegar
Cut shortening into flour and salt. Beat egg lightly in a 1 1/2-cup measure; add vinegar and fill cup with cold water. Add just barely enough liquid to dry ingredients to hold dough together—about 4 tablespoons—reserving remaining liquid for next batch of pastry. Handle dough as little as possible. Roll out into pastry and use as desired. Makes two 9-inch pie shells.
This is a variation on a Native American cooking method.
You will need
4 large apples
A bucket of mud
Coat the apples with about an inch of mud on all sides, being sure that the mud is of a nice thick consistency. When the fire has burned long enough to make some coals, have your adult help you to scoop some of the coals to the side. Bury the apples in the coals, and leave them there for about 45 minutes. Scrape away the cooled coals. Knock the dry cooked mud off of the apples and discard the skins. Spoon up the sweet steamy pulp for a surprising treat.
Some groups of Native American people used a mud coating on their food as a sort of oven. The steam from the mud would keep fresh-caught fish moist, and as it dried and became clay-like, it protected the food from burning. When the mud was peeled off, it took a lot of the fish scales with it. A delicious instant meal.
This is a cattle trail recipe from the Midwest. Although this was originally done on the campfire, it might be best if you bow to modern convenience and do the cooking on a stove top.
You will need
A 16-ounce package of dry pinto beans
9 cups of water
Two large onions, peeled and chopped up
2 teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon of oregano
½ teaspoon of garlic powder, or two cloves of sliced garlic
¼ teaspoon of pepper
1 tablespoon of brown sugar or molasses (add this last, and put in a little more if you like.)
Wash the beans and heat them along with 6 cups of water ’til they boil for five minutes, then turn the stove off. Let them sit for an hour. Add three more cups of water and boil it all again. Now add everything else, stir it up, and cook it for about an hour.
Cowpokes on the drive west had to settle for foods which were portable. That meant a basic menu of beans and lots of meat. For a treat, there was cornbread, biscuits, or a sweetened rice dish. Pinto beans (which are small and spotted when raw, like a pinto pony) seemed to be the favorite. When cooked, these beans swell up and turn a sort of pinkish white. They were first given to the settlers by the natives on the Mexican border.
When you eat beans with rice or corn, the two foods mix up inside your body to create an important type of protein which is like the protein in meat. (Your body is made largely of protein, and so you need to eat a lot of it.) That’s why the native Southwestern people were so healthy with a diet of mostly beans and corn and not much meat.
Baked pocket yams
These were “handy” during the winter months, and not particular to any one area of the country.
Take several sweet potatoes, individually wrap them in foil, and surround them on all sides with mounded hot coals. Occasionally turn the potatoes. Cook till the sweet steam pipes out of the foil (about 45 minutes). Poke into the potato with a clean sharpened twig to check for doneness (the center will be soft).
When the potatoes are done, DONT EAT THEM YET. Let them cool a bit, then slip one into each pocket to be used as hand warmers. These will keep you comfortable while you chat around the campfire. Pioneer mothers used to send their children off with these in the winter months to keep their hands toasty on the long walk to school. Then the kids would eat them for lunch. When you eat yours, you might want to use a dish and slather them up with butter.
These were eaten all along the East coast.
2 cups cooked rice
2 spring onions, chopped
Mix indgredients and fry on an oiled skillet. YUM.
A ship sailing from Madagascar in about 1685 was hit with bad weather and had to make a forced docking in Charles Town, South Carolina (now Charleston). The captain made friends with a local man, and as a present, he gave him some of the ship’s cargo . . . a bushel of rice. From that small gift was born the rice industry in America.
Rice needs the lowland swampy terrain that our coasts provide. That’s why in states like Louisiana and the Carolinas, tasty rice dishes are so common. Rice was (and is) easy to store and mixes well with lots of other ingredients. This recipe was (and is) simple to make, filling, and nutritious.
This version of the stew is as easy as 1-2-3. You don’t need to find a tobacco field to enjoy it.
Ingredients (All cans are the 16-ounce size.)
1 can of lima beans
1 can of corn
1 can of chicken broth
1 can of chicken, or 1 pound of fresh cooked chicken
1 squirrel tail (optional)
2 large onions, chopped up
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
3 cooked, peeled, and chopped potatoes
A dash of pepper, garlic, brown sugar, and salt
Hot sauce to taste
Put the onions and a tad of oil into the pot first and cook them ’til they turn clear, then add all the rest.
Depending on the amount of juice from the vegetables, you might have to add a little water. Keep it bubbling, and stir it for about 20 minutes.
Two or three eastern communities with the name of “Brunswick” like to claim this stew as their own concoction, but generally, Brunswick County, Virginia, is given the credit. It is thought to have come about in the early 1800s.
These are a Southern tradition.
A pot full of water
3 cups corn meal
1 teaspoon of salt
Put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Mix corn meal and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add boiling water ’til the batter becomes mushy but not stiff. Let this sit while you heat up some shortening in a skillet. When the shortening is hot but not smoking, drop several heaping tablespoons of the corn meal mixture into the pan.
Keep the corn “cakes” separate so they don’t run together. Turn down the heat a little, then flip them over and cook the other side. They should be flat and crispy golden brown. That’s it.
These are called HOE cakes because they were originally cooked over a fire on the flat part of a garden hoe. They are basically an African-American invention and are like those potato chips . . . you can’t eat just one—especially if you drip butter on top.
Food is a human right and governments have a responsibility to see that their people are well fed. In addition, there are known ways to end hunger—including emergency measures to combat the current critical situation, urban gardens, agrarian reforms that include a whole support system for farmers, and sustainable agriculture techniques that enhance the environment. The present availability of food to people reflects very unequal economic and political power relationships within and between countries. A sustainable and secure food system requires a different and much more equitable relationship among people. The more the poor and farmers themselves are included in all aspects of the effort to gain food security, and the more they are energized in the process, the greater will be the chance of attaining lasting food security. As Venezuela, a country that has done so much to deal with poverty and hunger, has put it,
Yes, it is important to end poverty, to end misery, but the most important thing is to offer power to the poor so that they can fight for themselves.
Are you worried about your future? Are you worried by the many disasters that you face in your everyday life? Worry no more. The Lost Ways comes in to solve your woes. This program was created by Davis Claude and its major role is to prepare and teach you how to handle worst-case scenarios using the least independence. This program will therefore motivate you to protect your family and friends during the worst period without the help of the modern technology.
Remember, calamities are everywhere: at work, home, school and many other places. These calamities cause tension and leads to a decrease in productivity. This may finally lead to a reduction in life. Fortunately, the lost ways review will provide solutions to these situations. It will give you the tips for preparing yourself when nothing seems to go as expected.
Generally, most people are optimistic. This makes them unprepared for failure. However, the best thing is to prepare for worst times. It is important to tell your kids about earthquakes, fire outbreaks, extreme weather conditions and other calamities. Tell them how to deal with these calamities in case they occur.
Other useful resources:
The Lost Ways (Learn the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive famines,wars,economic crisis and anything else life threw at them)
Survival MD (Best Post Collapse First Aid Survival Guide Ever)
Backyard Innovator (A Self Sustaining Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)
Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness)
Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )
Liberty Generator (Build and make your own energy source)
Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)
Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )
Family Self Defense (Best Self Defense Strategies For You And Your Family)
Survive Any Crisis (Best Items To Hoard For A Long Term Crisis)
Survive The End Days (Biggest Cover Up Of Our President)
Drought USA (Discover The Amazing Device That Turns Air Into Water)
SOURCE : lds.org
SOURCE : monthlyreview.org