Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Doomer Dinner Party - Challenge

One of my friends recently joked that we should have a Doomer Dinner Party - a meal made only of our preserved foods, food storage, and what is currently growing in the garden. Food storage + party? = a great idea in my book! Of course, in the spirit of Transition Towns it should probably have some sort of upbeat, positive name - like New Opportunities Dinner Party or Support Local Food Dinner Party, but I think Doomer Dinner Party is catchy and funny, so I'll stick with that name.


This is basically a variation on the theme of "Prep Practice", when a family shuts off the breakers and pretends no gas is available... but with guests. I think it would be fun to get together and have some peak chat, swap recipes and discuss how we can help each other and our community. I want to do it!


I started thinking about how I would go about hosting such a party. If the scenario is that the gas is all out, should I require everyone to show up on foot, on bike, or in a stroller? Should I imagine that the water is still running? How about electricity? Do I have to cook on the campstove / Sun Oven? Do we have to wear black? Whatever the scenario, I draw the line at requiring my guests to use a latrine.


Although my family does store some unusual things like wheat berries, we mostly eat what we store and store what we eat - even though this means dating every can we buy and rotating food. Some things are more successfully rotated than others. The canned pineapple seems to have been in the pantry awhile. We don't have any MRE's or canned bacon, but we do have powdered milk and powdered eggs.


What would a meal plan look like for a Doomer Dinner Party? With local, seasonal, food, it always depends on what's available. We don't store any meat, so the meals would be pretty much vegetarian. I've never cooked for more than four people without using tortillas or lasagna - so a potluck would definitely be a good choice for my dinner party. Is that enough caveats?

Here are some of my thoughts:

What's in storage (3 months): Wheat, beans (kidney, garbanzo, black, black eye peas), rice, basmati rice, canned tomatoes, canned corn, green beans and peas, pasta (several kinds), pasta sauce, salsa, olives, honey, sugar, baking stuff, spices, vinegars, olive and canola oil, shortening, canned peaches and pineapples, dried raisins and cranberries, oatmeal, peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered eggs. Some frozen stuff. Alcohol, tea, coffee, and homebrewed beer.

Early Spring (Feb/Mar/April)

What's growing (in my garden): Overwintered kale, parsley, carrots and broccoli. Cilantro, rosemary, thyme, mint, oregano, chives, sorrel, sage, dandelions.

What's still fresh in storage (in Feb anyway): Potatoes and butternut squash.

Meal idea: Butternut squash and black bean soup. Mashed potatoes. Some kind of kale side dish.

Drinks: Homebrewed beer and mint tea.

Dessert: Canned peaches with homemade yogurt from powdered milk.


Late Spring (April/May)

What's growing: Lettuce, onions, beets, spinach. Overwintered kale, parsley, carrots. Rosemary, cilantro, thyme, mint, oregano, chives, sorrel, sage.

What's still fresh from storage: Probably nothing.

Meal idea: Mixed greens salad with baby carrots and beets. Basmati rice with tomato/chickpea sauce.

Drinks: Homebrewed beer and mint tea.

Dessert: Oatmeal cookies.


Summer (June/July/August/Sept)

What's growing (I hope): Tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, okra, garlic, butternut squash, bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, malabar spinach. Peaches, blackberries, plums (?). Basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, mint, oregano, chives, sorrel, sage.

Meal idea: Pesto pasta with green veggies. Minestrone. Crusty artisan bread (if I can ever figure it out).

Drinks: Mojitos, peach iced tea.

Dessert: Something with the millions of peaches that will surely be around.

Fall (October, November):

What's still growing: We have late frosts here, so mostly still everything from summer, plus maybe some fall plantings of lettuce and kale. Apples (crossing fingers for small harvest this year).

What's fresh that's going into storage: Potatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, apples.

Meal idea: Confetti bean salad. Potato soup with kale. Roasted root veggies with garlic yogurt sauce for dipping.

Drinks: Something warm, with rum. Coffee.

Dessert: Apple crumble.


Winter (December, January, February):

What's still growing: Kale, parsley, rosemary, thyme.

What's fresh in storage: Potatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, apples.

Meal idea: Vegetable Vindaloo.

Drinks: Homebrew and iced tea.

Dessert: Spicy baked apples or apple cake.

Now doesn't that sound fun? Have your guests bring a salad or desert or a side dish, and it won't take so much work. I challenge you all to find a peak oil friend by the end of June and have a Doomer Dinner Party! I'll draw for a prize (TBD) from the entrants in June. Comment if you want to join the doomy fun!

The Rules:

1. "Party" must include one guest (spouses and partner and children not included). That's it!

2. Can actually be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Doesn't have to be formal ;).

3. Meal should be comprised entirely (as much as possible) of food growing in your garden or food that could be foraged within walking/biking distance (this counts CSA if it is close by), and long-term food storage you have on-hand.

4. It's up to you whether you go "whole-hog" by not using electricity or lighting.

5. It's up to you whether you make it a potluck or make all the food yourself. Potluck items should be made from garden/storage food as well, IF possible.

6. The point is to build community, make friends, talk about peak oil and food storage, and see what it's like to cook out of your food storage! And to have good doomy fun!

**Most of my ideas for seasonal cooking come from the cookbook Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. Thanks to AR for the inspiration for the post!

15 comments:

MeadowLark said...

I want to give this a try, but am totally not at a place in my prepping to do it.

That said, I will commit to having a Doomer Party in June that involves as much locally sourced stuff as I can as well as RELEVANT CONVERSATIONS with those friends who think I'm a nut job. Maybe I can open the door just a tiny crack more. :)

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Yay - one entrant! You may be the winner by default ;)!

Maybe in June you will have your food storage up and running. That would be a good prep test for you.

And you never know, by June your friends may be a little more open to your way of thinking...

Lewru said...

What a cool idea! And your meals sound quite tasty. Very fun.

Tara said...

"Crusty artisan bread (if I can ever figure it out)."

Frau! Try this! http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/Artisan-Bread-In-Five-Minutes-A-Day.aspx

It's a variation (and an improvement) on the "no-knead" bread recipe that goes around. The results I'm getting from this are really great, and you can make a bunch of dough up front and just cut off hunks of it as you want to bake it. The only tweak I did was I dropped the baking temperature down to 425. It got too dark and dry for me at 450. I left the time the same. Not sure how this would work in a sun oven, but I can tell you it works beautifully in a conventional oven. The pan of steaming water is key.

As for a Doomer Dinner, I live about an hour away from all my friends - it's all I can do to get them to come over at all. I think turnout would be...small. :(

WriteBrain said...

I'll give it a whirl. Few of my friends are "doomers", but I think I could interest a couple of families. It would be fun.

Emily said...

OH, I LOVE this! I must begin plotting the details of who/when/how... :)

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Tara - small turnout? I was only planning on inviting one or two couples. It doesn't have to be big to be a party!

Andrew said...

As someone who is a "believer", but is not currently prepared, I would be very excited to attend something like this and learn!

Cheers!
andy

Chile said...

Does it count that I pretty much just did this with Sharon's visit? Almost the entire meal was from my CSA share, garden, and food preserves. It wasn't a total Doomer Dinner Party as I used food leftover from a restaurant in one dish and cooked everything on the gas stove. (I could have cooked it just as easily on my camp stove, though.)

We may be moving by June (keep your fingers crossed) so I don't want to definitely plan a dinner party. We will, however, be eating what I've preserved and frozen, though, so it will be easier to move.

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

OK, RULES:

1. "Party" must include one guest (spouses and partner and children not included). That's it!
2. Can actually be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Doesn't have to be formal ;).
3. Meal should be comprised entirely (as much as possible) of food growing in your garden or food that could be foraged within walking/biking distance (this counts CSA if it is close by), or long-term food storage you have stored.
4. It's up to you whether you go "whole-hog" by not using electricity or lighting.
5. It's up to you whether you make it a potluck or make all the food yourself. Potluck items should be made from garden/storage food as well, IF possible.
6. The point is to build community, make friends, talk about peak oil and food storage, and see what it's like to cook out of your food storage! And to have good doomy fun!

Chile said...

Okay, then. I had my Doomer Dinner Party last weekend. :)

I love the idea and will try to remember to do this once we are moved and settled....

MeadowLark said...

{whispering to the others....}
That Chile, she's such a cheater, it TOTALLY shouldn't count if Hausfrau hadn't said it.

I vote we make Chile do TWO more, just to make up for being organized and actually hosting SHARON of all people!!!! :)

I love you Chile, don't kick me

Chile said...

Sheesh. Okay, Meadowlark and Hausfrau - git yer buns down here for a Doomer Dinner Party on April 1st. hehe

Wendy said...

I'll take the challenge! And I'll even revive my blog to post about my meal :).

June 21. It'll be a great Summer Solstice party for me and my friends, and I'll be sure to make it all doomer-y, too ;).

kathy harrison said...

Our sustainability group has held two dinners. One consisted entirely of foods grwon in our gardens or foraged from the community. It was huge hit. It was held in early october so the food selection was fabulous and people really went out of their way to make it delicious. Iced sumac tea was a surprise. I loved it. We did ask that people label food so we knew what it was and people could decide whether or not they wanted to sample the wild mushrooms. The oter was a private dinner party with stored foods. It was good as well but as it was during winter, the only fresh green stuff was from sprouted seeds.