Thursday, May 7, 2015

What Izzat?

“What izzat?” and “Why Dooyah?” are two of the most frequent questions non-preppers ask of us.

Some of us tire from answering questions and others of us don’t even want anyone to know we are preppers in the first place for fear of prying eyes.

I am a teacher by trade and can state that “me-to-you”, one-way teaching is the least effective mode of instruction.

It’s fine for the Army because it’s a captive audience in that situation, but true learning is more Socratic i.e. student driven.

The interest of the person seeking to learn is the greatest predictor of learning that sticks.

I became a prepper because I was interested in storing up for the two months of the year when I receive no paychecks.

As I began prepping, I asked a lot of “why” and “how” questions of an experienced prepper who never once taught me more than I asked to know.

As I acquired information and internalized it, I wanted to acquire more information to internalize and this good friend of mine gave me the next step based on the interest I showed.

My daughter sees me prepping, but I do not explain it to her unless she asks.

And yes, she asks when she is ready to know.

When she saw me amassing the two-month pantry, she asked why and I responded with my matter-of-fact reason.

The five-gallon buckets with Gamma lids were in the garage where it was cool, but they came inside last weekend and wound up taking up unused space in a walk-in closet.

She asked why they were now inside and I explained that soon the garage would be too warm and that food would deteriorate more quickly.

She nodded.

She went shopping with me to WinCo Foods and when we were putting groceries in the car, she saw my car bag for the first time.

She asked what it was and why it ate up 1/4th the trunk space. I told her what it was and back home I showed her what was in it. 

If we are stranded somewhere waiting for a tow truck or cannot traverse a road due to inclement weather conditions ahead of us, we will be fine for a day or two.

My daughter saw me shaking the vodka I am infusing with vanilla and asked why I was making vanilla when (1) we can just buy it and (2) we don’t use that much to begin with.

Immediately, I got the store-bought vanilla extract and let her smell it. To her it smelled very good.

It used to smell good to me too.

Then I let her smell my immature vanilla that still has a while to go before it is technically ready to use.

She was overwhelmed by how much more vanilla power it had and immediately wanted to compare.

The homemade vanilla extract was so intense that she could no longer smell any vanilla in the store-bought extract.

While at WinCo Foods I picked up several of the large-sized, plastic spice bottles in the bulk food section, but no spice.

I also got some Madagascar and forbidden rice.

At home, my daughter asked why I bought spice bottles, but no spices. I showed her that the bottles would hold about a cup of rice and that I intended to include some exotic rice in the Christmas boxes I’m planning.

We are making dried Rosemary.

We will have vanilla extract.

We can add some rice and dried summer vegetables.

My goal is to send people the concept of a pantry and to gently whisper the concept of gathering a supply of foods.

Many of the exotic rice varieties cook just like regular rice. They are not stupidly expensive either.

I stock them in addition to regular rice because I imagine I would be comforted having a few luxuries if the lights are gone for a while and I was cooking outside.

My daughter knows I cook well and were the electricity to be off, she would be comforted by a well-prepared meal with the good stuff still on the plate in that situation.

Students of mine were amused by my story of buying moringa oleifera plants to cultivate.

When they asked why, I told them that I always loved to garden, that I was intrigued by an edible tree, and also that it’s cool to know things.

I have a cadre of probably six to eight students who ask how the plants are growing and I tell them.

Next year, I plan to be more open with my students about prepping, but I will continue whispering softly.

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