When Hannah and Abbie asked if I would be willing to review a new food storage book, I readily agreed, especially since I am currently in a bit of a food storage funk.
Michelle and Trent Snow's It's in the Bag: A New, Easy, Affordable, and Doable Approach to Food Storage is definitely a new take on storing food.
The book is divided into three sections. Section One is devoted to the Snow's bagged meal system and accompanying recipes. Section Two focuses on food storage skills like making cheese and yogurt, sprouting seeds, home canning basics, and even directions on how to make your own chicken coop. The third section is a short one and addresses additional helpful hints like measuring conversions. I'm going to focus mostly on the first section since that it contains the key concept of the book: bagged food storage meals.
Basically, their entire years' supply consists of bags with all the needed supplies for each breakfast and dinner contained in the bag.
The Snows use a 10" tall gift bag with a recipe, label, and expiration date attached to the front, filled with the ingredients needed to make that particular meal. You pre-measure the spices, powdered milk (and eggs), etc. and put them into a ziploc baggie. You even include bottled water if the recipe requires it, along with the obvious cans, whether they are store-bought or home-canned. The bag does not include pantry shelf items, like vinegar or oil. To assemble the meal, you simply put the ingredients together, and the authors say that most of these meals can be completed within twenty minutes.
Some of the advantages of this type of food storage system (instead of just having your shelves full of cans) that the book describes include the following:
(1) Space efficient
(2) Cost effective
(3) Simple and convenient
(4) Easy for unexpected company or dinners to give away
As I was reading, I was very surprised to learn that Michelle and Trent eat breakfast and dinner out of their bagged meals 365 days a year and simply refill them as they use them. Wow. I still can't get over that.
One of the disadvantages that I personally see with this system is that realistically I would not want to have 365 breakfast and dinner meals pre-prepared in my basement, nor would I be interested in eating all of those meals in a year to prevent their spoiling. However, their suggestion is to have an expiration date on the bag so you can make sure you're using the oldest food first. The recipes rely a lot on canned foods (obviously), some of which I don't have in my current food storage, like powdered eggs, lots of canned meat, etc.
Frankly, I find the concept very intriguing. While I wouldn't want to use it for my years' supply (because I'd have to eat them so frequently), I could see myself having a few months of meals and then interspersing them with my fresher meals once or twice a week. The recipes (both dinner and breakfast) look appealing, and there are over a hundred of them, which really takes a lot of the mental work out of putting your three-months' supply together.
All in all, It's in the Bag is a thoughtful and encouraging take on food storage. The recipes are very helpful whether you use the bag concept or not, especially if you want to collect more pantry-friendly recipes. It makes the idea of putting together meals for a few months more practical and doable.
Perhaps I'll prepare a few of these meals, put them in bags, and see how it goes!
Thanks Brittany for the great review, and thanks to Michelle Snow for sending us the book to review!
Want to win a copy of "It's in the Bag"? Michelle herself is going to send TWO lucky readers their own personalized copy! Just comment on this post and tell us,
"What is your dream vacation?"
I know it doesn't have anything to do with food storage but I love this question and it'll be fun for us to read where everyone wants to go!
This giveaway ends at midnight (PDT) on Friday, August 27. One comment per person, please. We'll randomly choose two winners and announce the winners on Saturday.