Low carb food at the end of the world
A good strip of beef-jerky is bone dry, and hard enough to kill you if you file the end to a point. It will also keep practically forever.Harvey Randall, Lucifer’s Hammer
Prague has turned into a ghost town with the COVID-19 epidemic. After the government declared a state of emergency, there’s an apocalyptic feel in the streets. All bars, restaurants, and shops (with supermarkets and pharmacies the exception) have closed. So has the border. Looking out the window this morning I noticed that everyone was wearing facemasks. It’s a condition for using public transport. People go to work, get their groceries, and then straight home again. Netflix must be going through an awful lot of bandwidth.
The bear came back from food shopping creeped out by the lack of people everywhere.
“It’s eerie. I’ve never been in a country where all the shops shut before.” “Yes, you have. Remember Sundays when we were kids in the 1980s? It went on for years.”
“Oh, but that’s different. Now there’s a rampaging killer virus on the loose.”
In an unexpected comeback, REM’s “It’s the end of the world as we know it” is the top-selling track on iTunes. KFC no longer describe their chicken as “finger-lickin’ good”. Anyone seen licking their fingers in public is likely to get shot on the spot. And people obsess about toilet paper.
I’ve been thinking about food and reading end of the world sci-fi novels. In Lucifer’s Hammer, a classic by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Californians prepare for the earth to get struck by a comet. Beef jerky is what you want here. Not only will it last forever, but you can also sharpen it into a lethal weapon. There isn’t a lot of it to be had in Prague but you can make your own. The best way according to my book is to cut thin slices of beef and dry them on a low temperature in the oven for 24 hours. By turning the remaining fat from the meat into pemmican nothing goes to waste.
As an alternative to beef jerky, we found pork scratchings in the corner store. From a nutrition standpoint, they’re excellent. You get 46g of protein and 19g of fat per 100g of pork scratchings. Pork fat contains a lot of monounsaturated oleic acid which is something you want in your diet. This week.
When it comes to the end of the world foods, beef jerky has an edge because it will last longer. Sealed and stored in a dark place, it keeps for up to two years. The high-fat content in pork scratchings makes them go rancid within a few months. Both foods offer a way to store meat without refrigeration.
Meat, or protein, is your kryptonite on a low carbohydrate diet. Forget about pasta. You’re better off filling the cupboards with cat food. It’s high in protein in case of an emergency, and god knows what health benefits you might reap from the added taurine.
Someone clever once said that no country is more than three meals away from a revolution. The same thing does not apply to toilet paper. At least not yet. There’s not a single mention of toilet paper in any of the disaster books I’ve read so far. Maybe it’s an oversight by the authors, but I doubt it. My Ukrainian friend who lived through communism told me they made do with old newspapers. Food shortages were always a far more pressing issue.