One thing that we haven't discussed as we've planned our three-month supply menus is the issue of versatility. Storing versatile products and using menus that are easily adaptable can add variety and flexibility which could be important in many emergency situations.

Many of the products that I've chosen to store can be easily substituted and interchanged. For example, I have stored many different kinds of pastas and sauces. By choosing different combinations I can make stroganoff (egg noodles with a white sauce) or spaghetti (spaghetti noodles with a red sauce). I've also chosen many different bean dishes for dinner. By changing around the combination of ingredients, we could have baked beans, black bean burritos or taco salads.

I've stored all of the ingredients for bread, pancakes and tortillas. Having flour, salt, leavening, oil and powdered milk would also allow me to easily add variety to my menu. Instead of bread, I might make biscuits, tacos, or crumpets. I could make a pizza crust it and top it with a red pasta sauce. Or if you look through my menus, you would see that I have all of the ingredients to make a peach pie or cookies. Because of added versatility, I would challenge you to include at least one meal on your menu that uses very basic ingredients such as flour. You may already have these types of items stored in your longer-term storage.

Not all of these meal variations are actually listed on my menus, but I can look at my ingredient list and see many more possibilities. If you notice menu adaptations as you look at your own meals and shopping lists, it would be valuable to jot them down with your original menus. That way in times of stress, you'll have those ideas easily accessible.

There a several advantages to having a menu that allows versatility. Not only can you add variety into your menu, but it also make items easier to rotate. You would also be able to substitute items as necessary if you found yourself running out of something.

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