I tend to go grocery shopping several times a week, picking up various items at different stores and buying only for a few days’ worth of meals at a time. Shopping this way allows me to eat yummy fresh food without having any of it go to waste, but if I suddenly get superbusy for a week and don’t have time to shop or cook, the pickin’s get pretty slim. What if the power and gas went out, leaving me with a fridge full of rotting produce and a pantry stocked with rice and dry beans that I couldn’t prepare? I worry about these things occasionally.

If we’re talking serious disasters, then I might be the perfect candidate for a huge, 275-serving bucket of dehydrated emergency food: Costco sells one for $115, Unclutterer reports (via Serious Eats).
Not only does the bucket contain a variety of dishes—including blueberry pancakes, corn chowder, “Ala King” (note the lack of Chicken here), and something called “Potato Bakon”—but each meal is just a little more expensive than the classic 33-cent cup of Top Ramen. As blogger PJ recounts, when he and a friend happened upon the buckets at Costco,

[M]y friend realized he could eat for an entire year on less than $500. Tears swelled up in his eyes when I mentioned he could probably also get rid of the refrigerator in his apartment.

The idea of spending that little on food is kind of appealing, until you think about why the stuff is so cheap. (As commenter missdona points out, Costco ironically categorizes the bucket as part of its “prepared gourmet entrees” section.) In terms of bang-for-buck rations, natural peanut butter would definitely be my number one choice; I’d probably want to have some dried fruit on hand, too. What kind of food would you turn to in an emergency or in belt-tightening times?

See more articles