December 08, 2006

The Art of Hamstering (or Stocking Up)

You’re going to laugh at me. Especially if you live in Holland. But I just came back from the supermarket, and bought food for about three months. Well, maybe not three months, but for a loooooong time. I’ve got kilos of rice, sugar, flour, powdered milk, chick peas, lentils and toilet paper stashed away. I’ve got cans of coffee, chocolate powered, ravioli, Campbell’s Chicken Soup, Swan luncheon meat and spaghetti sauce on the shelves. Extra tahina, liters of cooking oil and olive oil and skimmed milk. Candles, boxes and boxes of those. Matches too. Chocolate paste, and apple sauce. You name it, I’ve got it, and I’ve got it in surplus. In Holland, we call that ‘hamsteren’. Hence the title, ‘the art of hamstering’. Enough food to survive a war.

And that’s exactly what the purpose is behind this shopping trip. Personally, I don’t think it is ever going to get that far. But the rhetoric between Hezbollah and the government isn’t exactly improving these days. Sunday’s Hezbollah demonstration promises to be a biggie!
But even if we’re going to into some kind of disagreement with each other (Lebanese, that is), shops will always remain open, or at least a couple of hours a day. I mean, we’re not going to starve.
So I sort of disagree, but hubbie says that “you weren’t here during the war. I’d go into the supermarket and find empty shelves.” I cannot argue with him, I wasn’t here.
I have to add that hubbie never ever ventures into a supermarket. At least not since he married me. So how would he know what an ‘empty’ shelf look like? And besides, who cares if the shelves for the chicken wieners are empty, we don’t eat those anyway.
However, I was given the order to go out and ‘stock up’, so – the obedient wife that I am – I did.

I’ve never had to do this before, so I am not sure if I did it right. I mean, we never ever eat canned food, so why buy canned food right now? I probably end up having this at my kitchen shelves until two years after the expiry date, and then we throw it away. I still have like 27 cans of sardines in the cupboards, remnants of this summer’s war (when hubbie went stocking up. We have never eaten canned sardines in our lives! Where he got that sudden inspiration, I do not know). We’ve finally munched our way through a massive amount of serial and toasted bread, also from this summer.

And what about the 7 packs of spaghetti? It’s going to mighty dry if we have spaghetti, but no sauce to go with it. Well, I bought the sauce as well, but you need fresh mushrooms, and fresh tomatoes, and onions and bell peppers, and minced meat as well. So in theory I’d need to stock up on those as well, but you can’t. So you’ve got to go to the store anyway to buy those items, and then you might as well by the spaghetti too, no?

So what is the purpose of all this, if I may ask? I bought flour and yeast and sugar, so I can bake my own bread (don’t laugh, I have a bread machine). And I’ve got extra butter in the fridge. But what to put on the bread? I cannot stock up on cheese, and I hate jam. So back to the supermarket, to buy the salami. Well, if I go to the supermarket to buy salami, I might as well buy the bread as well, no?

I find all this stocking up useless, without purpose, and I just spend about a million pounds on food items I’d never touch if it weren’t for the fact that hubbie wants to be ready, ‘just in case’. Well, I am ready. Bring ‘em on!
And in the meantime, what did I forget? The wine! May God help me (and Lebanon) if I do not have my wine.


Leila said...

Why don't you buy lentils? If things get really bad, you can sprout them for green veg. Really.

And all that stuff for sauce for pasta -well, if you're stuck and hungry, you won't care if you don't have green pepper and onion for your tomato sauce. You'll be happy for the tomatoes.

I hope it never comes to that.

We here in California keep supplies on hand in case the really big earthquake hits. So we think about what to stock. My earthquake kit in the back yard (a large, never-used rubber trash can wtih sealed lid) contains several cartons of meat chili, as well as some sardines (and canned peaches, and all kinds of other rations). I imagine that if we're really hungry we will want some protein, and we may not have the fuel to cook things at length.

We also are supposed to keep like fifty gallons of water in stock at all times - it ain't happening. But I do need to replenish the water bottles we have in the back pantry.

Anyway. I hope you won't need these supplies and end up giving them away to poor people who are hungry, before the expiration date.

Anonymous said...

Come on now.. Why the Pessimism??

I do not think you will use them.. but while we're at it, I tell you.. canes of foul and hummus is always a plus, it takes one good meal of those, and your good for a couple of days :)

Inshalla 3ala salemeh (hopefully all this will pass peacefully)

Michael van Eekeren said...

Zonder wijn ben je nergens.

Anita Meulstee said...

sardientjes uit blik zijn best lekker!

Hamsteren, tja, beter mee verlegen dan om verlegen zou ik zeggen

Gelukkig vond ik je blog weer

Anonymous said...

Lekker hoor, hamsteren. Volgende week ben ik in Beiroet, dus als ik trek heb, dan kan ik bij je aankloppen? :D