With Nemo blowing into town this weekend, the dominant advice is to “hunker down” and invest in an emergency food supply. I rode the T from Tufts to Newton on Friday in pursuit of a maggot-free place to weather out the storm with home-cooked meals and dishwashers. Many of the people crowded onto the train were toting armfuls of plastic bags filled with canned soups and boxes of cereal. This was an opportunity to consider decision-making about the foods we eat within a unique context: panic.
After poking into the phenomenon of stockpiling foods with unlimited shelf life, I encountered Auguson Farms Deluxe Emergency Food Storage Kit (http://www.samsclub.com/sams/augason-farms-deluxe-emergency-food-storage-kit-1-year-1-person/prod1970426.ip#desc). There’s certainly an irony in billing dehydrated potatoes, powdered eggs, and freeze-dried brocolli florets under the name of a farm–as if this will help the smart people in their bomb shelters hearken back to the nostalgic time when the Earth’s surface was more than firey just debris. However, what stands out to me most is that this “kit” is a reflection of our culture’s emphasis on plenty and excess when it comes to food. Sam’s Club is clearly catering (pun intended) to the demand for hoarding and ensuring abundance. It’s not as if there is a reason to compete for resources or prepare for anything other than a vague notion that the world might end at some point. It might be a fascinating ethnographic endeavor to interview this product’s consumers and find out their motivations. On the bright side, Auguson Farms includes “one can of Vegetable Garden Seeds that is capable of producing over 2,300 pounds of fresh vegetables,” so that the intrepid few who invest in this emergency kit can start a more sustainable initiative after the End of Days.