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Survival Foods in Indian Kitchen

10 Non-Perishable Survival Foods for Indian and Bengali Cooking!

by Shyamali Sinha

Ten non-perishable survival foods for Indian and Bengali cooking, one can store for an emergency, also to practice no waste fuss-free Mindful Home Cooking.

As lockdown has eased here in Australia and many other places, many people are finding it easy to deal with daily life. Kids are happy to go back to school, parents are getting more time to focus on due works, people are allowed to gather in small groups. Despite all these, the fear of spreading the coronavirus, economic depression, many qualified people losing their jobs, all these challenges are still there.

Life may be going to be normal again very soon. But the most important lessons we learnt from the COVID-19 situation are-

  • Disasters often come with a little or no warning, we should always be prepared for an emergency situation like this. 
  • Everyone’s life matters, we should be thankful that we are alive and we got another opportunity to make the world a better place again!
  • Home cooking is not an option it is a mandatory skill everyone should learn to survive.
  • Know your food culture and eat local
  • We don’t need much food to survive, all we need the right ones. We need to be mindful while we are cooking. To survive, we should create more than we consume

What are the survival foods in Indian Kitchen?

Every survival situation is unique. Pickled, frozen food won’t work if there is no electricity. In my opinion, mostly non-perishable, dried food items are best options for survival food. Though massive floods can destroy all unprotected food items. You can’t totally prepare for every possibility, but there are some best practices you can follow.

If my pantry is well stocked with all these 10 items,  I know my kitchen is prepared!

  1. Rice
  2. Wheat Flour / All-purpose Flour
  3. Spices
  4. Lentils 
  5. Oil
  6. Salt 
  7. Sugar
  8. Tea
  9. Coffee
  10. Ghee 

Building a pantry that includes the best survival foods is not the same as randomly hoarding food. It requires a thoughtful approach.  I always follow a pantry inventory system to keep my pantry well-stocked. When the pandemic started this pantry list helped me to check and maintain my stock without being guilty of doing stock pilling. 

Emergency pantry list for Benglai and Indian Food
Emergency Pantry List for Bengali and Indian Food

Sometimes life throws challenges one after another

May was a terrible month for us! We got this message that my mom needs to admit in hospital for immediate operation. 

As our family members were preparing for her operation and did all her medical tests along with COVID test as a part of her hospital admission process. Unfortunately, her report came positive, and she had to stay in quarantine home for ten days! Her operation delayed, in fact, till date we are waiting to get her operation date. 

All these were not enough; a super cyclone hit the Bay of Bengal, my motherland West Bengal and Calcutta, the city of joy devastated. There were no electricity, drinking water supply, internet connection for several hours in the city, in many places all these services were disconnected for two-three days or even more. Many people lost their home. Farmers lost their crops.

after amphan kolkata
Kolkata after Amphan Cyclone (Photo Courtesy: Rakesh Roy)

Extend the sense of communal sharing to something beyond physical presence!

I was in deep pain that when our family, friends need us, we can’t reach to them.

I questioned why one after another disaster is happening with us? 

After a few days, I realised that the question is meaningless; the timing is horrible. There is no point in thinking this way. 

We managed to connect with our friends who are closely working with NGOs and contribute our bit. But, we knew that wasn’t enough to rebuild the state, not enough to deal with the food crisis either.

I subscribe to the idea of extending the sense of communal sharing to something beyond physical presence. I told myself to make a consistence effort to do something! 

Fundraising cooking session!

Without action, the intention is meaningless!

Start to do something!

We are aware of the Global Food Crisis, but I am concerned that till now, we are not preparing for the wave of grief. 

How do we prepare for the suffering that will be thrust upon us? 

We must start from basic and rediscover the art of Mindful Home cooking. The art of home cooking that we inherit from our mother and grandmother. 

I decided to start a fundraising cooking session named “Mindful Home cooking” on our YouTube Vlog channel Foodie’s Hut Life. 

List of NGOs we are donating for Amphan relief, and you may consider for your donation. Please verify below details by yourself before you donate.

Mindful Home cooking for a better world!

The YouTube channel, Foodie’s Hut Life, is a window for me to connect and talk with my Bengali speaking community. Through Vlogs, we exchange ideas, tips and moreover we enjoy our virtual friendship.

These days I  often get messages from my viewers and they wrote about how they are suffering from anxiety, depression, insecurity. I sense that more than the pandemic, the disaster, fear is taking away their mental peace. The bombards of negative news, the sense of unpreparedness to deal with the situation is huge! 

While we are not able to make our cooking videos on our cooking channel Foodie’s Hut any more, despite many challenges we are trying to make Vlogs as frequently as possible.

Currently, I am running a series on my vlog channel called “The Survival Foods In Bengali Kitchen”. One of the purposes of this series is to encourage people to be prepared, to stock the pantry with non -perishable food items but without doing hoarding or stockpiling.  And another purpose is to stop food waste and create fuss-free delicious meals from the kitchen pantry.

I strongly believe together we can create a better world where no one will sleep an empty stomach. Hope is the only energy that keeps us going, but at the same time without action, it is only an idea! 

Thanks for reading this post, please come back again because we are going to talk and exchange more ideas and stories about mindful home-cooking. Take care 🙂

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