Saturday, October 25, 2014

That's the Ticket

Suppose my family showed up on your doorstep with little or no warning.  Suppose there is chaos in the streets.  While you might want to accommodate my family there are certain logistical issues that will force you to say "No." unless I can address them.  You cannot let us in unless I can bring something to the party.  Call it the price of admission or the price of a ticket. (Author's note:  This idea was shamelessly lifted from Alpharubicon)

People understand tickets.  I need a ticket to ride a bus or attend a sporting event.  What might the "ticket" to join your household look like for, say, forty days?


The standard five gallon bucket will hold approximately 24 days worth of food for an active adult.

Based on amino acid values from Feedipedia, and Essential Amino Acid values from WHO, an adult man with a lean body mass of 190 pounds will do OK on 25 pounds of rice, two pounds of lentils (or split peas) and two liters of vegetable oil.  That pencils out to about 2600 Calories per day.

Labels are our friend.  Note that the label does not match what is suggested in the text.
If one assumes that field corn (Zea mays) will be available on-site, then the pilgrim can show up with four pounds of lentils (or split peas) and two liters of vegetable oil and match up those same daily values.  Obviously, four pounds of lentils is much more compact than twenty-five pounds of rice + two pounds of lentils.  This comes into play if you have more than just a couple of pilgrims traveling as forty days will require two buckets per person....especially if you start putting in vitamin pills, salt, pepper, tea bags, etc.  Those items are bulky and reduce the amount of grain you can put in the bucket. 

Some people advise packing the buckets separately with the grains in one set of buckets, high-protein foods in others, culinary aids in a third set of containers and so on.  The up-side to having the contents "kitted" is that the loss of one bucket is not catastrophic.  I know many people who would be inconsolable if the bucket with the caffeine was lost.  Better to have those needful thing in each bucket.

Meds are not stashed in buckets because of shelf life issues.

Also, one can simply count out the number of buckets at about one-per-month.  Yes, I know that there are more than 24 days in a month but there might be other sources of foods trickling in and most of us could stand to lose a few pounds anyway.

Why lentils and/or split peas

They cook quickly. No other reason.

Why forty days?

Quarantines were originally forty days long.  Ships sat in harbor in isolation for forty days to ensure that they were not bringing in exotic diseases that the inhabitants had no immunity to.  Ebola presumably has a maximum of a 21 day incubation period.  Forty days would be two lockdowns. back-to-back.  That, and forty days has a nice Biblical feel to it.

Having a standard kit makes it pretty easy for the outside man to do the math and drop off an appropriate multiple of kits.

Pray always.  Test everything.  Keep what is good.

I did a weekend long trial run on the rice/split pea/soybean oil version of this diet.  My body really complained about the lack of fiber.  My digestive system has become very lazy because I eat 35 grams of fiber in a typical day.  The field fix would be to supplement the diet with as many vegetables/greens as possible and to physically move as much as possible.

You might notice a miss-match between the photographed label and the suggestions in this essay.  The sugar was eliminated and the oil was increased to 30% of calories which is what most people are accustomed to.  One potential side effect of greatly reducing the fats/oils in a diet is that one might find themselves constipated of other compensations are not made.


  1. Good points, and worth remembering and planning for. Especially now...

  2. Thanks for reading and thanks for your kind comments.