Survival foods

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Bishop

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Meat is meat, some people are uncommonly fussy where it comes from. The Five Gold Bands by Jack Vance
[Not a survival story but rather an alien race's solution to overcrowded burial sites]

Meanwhile back on Earth...
Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 aka The rugby team that crashed in the Andes mountains 1972 - cannibalism of victims
The Donner Party 1847 : boiled Ox hide & horse bones, the occasional mouse and eventually most of Jacob Donner.
Stalingrad 1943 : Book. "The Stalingrad Protocols" by historian Jochen Hellbeck , where everything that had walked or crawled went in the pot.
1933 was a particularly bad year with cannibalsm being well documented in the Ukraine famine and the infamous Nazino Island prison incident, where the inmates had a solution for overcrowding and meager rations.
 

Toddy

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Fergus the Forager :)


It's a bit of a trawl, but famine foods is the archeology/historians term for stuff like this. From woodlice (taste like shrimp apparently) to roasted inner cambium ground for flour.

The trick to survival is getting enough calories surplus to how many you use to obtain them. Sounds simple but there are some very sound reasons why the population numbers really only increase when farming is successful. Extra calories were crucial.

M
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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Foraging here would be a hell of a job in winters. Every once in a while, a story emerges here of someone
believing that they can abandon the world and exist on their foraging. Usually the story appears at their funerals.
The nuts & berries thing, although abundant here, does not work well.

Paleo peoples lived very successfully on the coast. To do so meant to capitalize on seasonal abundances
(salmon runs). Moreso, food preservation techniques meant survival in comfort.
Every low tide on the beach reveals a forager's all-season buffet of calorie-rich shellfish if nothing else.

Toddy describes the need for "caloric density." In this, the oily salmon is superior. The carbohydrate equivalent is cultivated by the Tlingit and Tsimshian on the mainland and the Haida off shore on Haida Gwaii. They are still growing a variety of of potato which is an exact genetic clone of a variety cultivated in Chile and Peru. Trading and raiding that far south in their 40' - 60' ocean canoes? Maybe the Russian traders? Maybe the Chinese traders?

I would dearly love to get my hands on some seed stock to grow and eat. Paleo gardening persists.

Clearly, many groups pushed inland and managed to survive to this day.
They had great pit houses for all-season habitation. Kitchen gardens are still cultivated.
Judging from the middens, they were primarily fish eaters. Great stone weirs to trap mostly rainbow trout.
The implication is that they had the skills for mass food preservation.

What amazes me is mariculture = the deliberate landscape modifications to prepare beaches as clam and oyster beds.
There are middens of tens of thousands of cubic meters of oyster, mussel and clam shell to attest to their success.
I guess that they used the many thousands of years to get it right. All over the UK as well?
Even in this day and time all the "flat" spots are still used. Just don't take more than you need.
 
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Toddy

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@Robson Valley
That's a very good point; 'farming' comes in many forms, and the best farming has many complimentary strands. I think the construction storage caches (the bird storage, stone built cleits on the St.Kilda's for instance ) and of permanent fish traps, or salt shallows would come into it too. Salt's a preservative and awfully useful.

M
 

Robson Valley

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Have you read Kurlanski? A World History of Salt? Essential to anyone's education.
I was amused to learn that every place name ending in '-wich' was the location of a salt works.

The modern medical community craps on and on about the hazard of using excess dietary salt.
They have NO CLUE how much salt was used in the past for preservation.
Boat-loads of the stuff.
Easy for me to imagine that salt cod was a make-or-break survival food in cities as well.
I'd like to try it some day.
Was it so bad, in that day and time, as is claimed for modern salt "excesses?"

I am in the habit of taking 3-4 different salts with me when I go out for a meal.
I take a flat mortar and pestle to grind a pinch of each and a small plate to put them on.
Might seem eccentric but certainly entertaining. Marine salts are all so very different
from their unlisted impurities. Asian/India "black salt" just about made me puke.

One of these days, I'll count and take inventory of my salt samples. Plenty of North American businesses set up as artisan salt suppliers. UK and Europe, too. Rare in South America and Africa.
 

santaman2000

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Most of the older recipes I find that use salted meats or fish call for washing the salt out first though. Of course you’ll never get all of it out but it does bring it back a more realistic intake. That said, most of the older cultures had shorter lifespans.
 

santaman2000

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@Toddy The last few posts have me wondering if seaweed was commonly harvested in the UK? Is ot easy enough to make it a viable option for the OP?
 

Toddy

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All of our seaweeds are edible, we just need to be careful where we pick it nowadays.
Lot of old recipes for it too, from laverbread to tangle.

Rich in minerals, and taste, the original unami flavouring, but not a lot of calories.
 
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Robson Valley

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Once upon a time, long ago and far away in Jervis Bay, Australia, I took my lunch hour.
I had a Bowie knife and a lemon. For 30 minutes, I walked along the beach and ate rock oysters.
Then I turned around and walked back, eating rock oysters. Lunch was over.

Our coastal BC kelp forests are harvested for such products as agar and alginate,
not uncommon processed food additives. The nutritional merit is really marginal.

Pacific herring spawn on the kelp fronds.
Extremely high value harvest sold primarily to Japan.
First Nations have a very firm control of the entire business.
 

Nice65

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Apr 16, 2009
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Have you read Kurlanski? A World History of Salt? Essential to anyone's education.
I was amused to learn that every place name ending in '-wich' was the location of a salt works.

The modern medical community craps on and on about the hazard of using excess dietary salt.
They have NO CLUE how much salt was used in the past for preservation.
Boat-loads of the stuff.
Easy for me to imagine that salt cod was a make-or-break survival food in cities as well.
I'd like to try it some day.
Was it so bad, in that day and time, as is claimed for modern salt "excesses?"

I am in the habit of taking 3-4 different salts with me when I go out for a meal.
I take a flat mortar and pestle to grind a pinch of each and a small plate to put them on.
Might seem eccentric but certainly entertaining. Marine salts are all so very different
from their unlisted impurities. Asian/India "black salt" just about made me puke.

One of these days, I'll count and take inventory of my salt samples. Plenty of North American businesses set up as artisan salt suppliers. UK and Europe, too. Rare in South America and Africa.
I’ll have to get a copy of the salt book. I remember being thrilled to learn our word ‘salary’ refers to the precious commodity. As is ‘worth his salt’.
 
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Robson Valley

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Goes right back to the Roman Empire. That's how Caesar paid his soldiers. In salt = salarum.
Fast forward to the British "salt tax" in India and Ghandi's "salt march" to the coast.

I would think that in this day and time, anything foraged off a clean beach (clams, crabs, etc) ought to be salty enough to deliver all that's needed for a micronutrient supply.
 

Nice65

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Goes right back to the Roman Empire. That's how Caesar paid his soldiers. In salt = salarum.
Fast forward to the British "salt tax" in India and Ghandi's "salt march" to the coast.

I would think that in this day and time, anything foraged off a clean beach (clams, crabs, etc) ought to be salty enough to deliver all that's needed for a micronutrient supply.
Found a copy and bought it. It’s the sort of history I find interesting, the preservation of food had little to do with refrigeration or being able to afford or stock an ice house. My favourite foods are salt preserved, ham, sausage, bacon (preferably without the nitrates). I’ll forgo salt fish and pork, the heavily salted types that stink and need soaking for hours, but I can see how salt was and still is highly valued. Give me a shout when the Maldon is low and I’ll happily send you some more. It’s the monosodium glutamate of salts, I love the stuff.

As young children my dad would take a pan to the beach and we’d drop our haul of mussels, winkles, prawns (shrimp to you), shrimps (tiny little prawns) into boiling sea water along with some chopped onion and white wine. Sitting in the sand dunking rough bread into the broth is something special. In those days it was possible if quick, brave and with an eye out, to grab lobsters from the rock pools where we snorkelled. Truly a prize they were. :)

@Rabbit leg, apologies for getting off topic a bit. Can’t help it. ;)
 
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Robson Valley

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The Maldon has found itself in competition with many other salts. But, it's an attractive flavor.
Just ordered a coffee, green alder, plain and a juniper from Newfoundland.

Foraging at low tide for edibles has been an adventure for me ever since I was a little kid.
I like fishy things so the foraging part is less of a labor than it might be for many people.

Shred an onion and green and red peppers. Sliced garlic cloves. Saute' in a little butter with S&P.
Add perhaps 2C white wine, throw the bottle top away.
As the pot comes to a boil, fill it with the foragings of shellfish. On with the lid for 10 minutes.
Dunking buttered baguette into the broth, the meats and a glass of white is quite a feast.

The foraging will certainly be the driver for all sorts of other artisan occupations
such as the making of preparation and storage containers. These could be limiting factors.
As measured by the size and depth of many middens in British Columbia, taking out the garbage was another big deal.
 

santaman2000

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Jan 15, 2011
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........As young children my dad would take a pan to the beach and we’d drop our haul of mussels, winkles, prawns (shrimp to you), shrimps (tiny little prawns) into boiling sea water along with some chopped onion and white wine. Sitting in the sand dunking rough bread into the broth is something special. In those days it was possible if quick, brave and with an eye out, to grab lobsters from the rock pools where we snorkelled. Truly a prize they were. :).......
The Italian fish mongers in San Francisco have a similar dish they call cioppino. They’d make it with whatever they still had at the end of the day. Now it’s a popular dish in most upscale West Coast seafood restaurants.
 
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Rabbit leg

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Nov 9, 2016
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Thanks for all the recommended reading. It will take me a bit of time to go through it all, but gives me plenty of homework.

I would never have searched under famine foods. Lots of results there.

I'm a bit sceptical when it comes to plants. I'm a big eater.

I had another snake last week. It was the biggest one I've ever cooked, but still not much meat on it. I will try making a soup out of the next one.

It's going to be difficult to feed myself. Maybe on the coast with fish. As mentioned.

Cheers again.