As a prepper, I want to give my head-in-the sand loved ones the security I find in being prepared. But I’ve tried this before, and it just didn’t work out so great. What I found out, and you may have discovered for yourself, is that my non-prepper loved ones think I’m nuts. And my thoughtful prepper gifts were most likely re-gifted to someone at their workplace as a going away gift. Note to self: “no prepper gifts to non-preppers.”
But I’ve realized that the reason non-preppers often don’t like prepper gifts is this: although the gift may be generally useful in an emergency, in everyday life it has no utility for that person. For example, giving a camp stove to someone who has never camped in her life will almost certainly guarantee a re-gift. Plus it can actually do damage: that person will now see you as a crazy prepper.
So now, I’ve gotten sneaky about it and started fitting the prep to the person. If you’re looking for the right gifts for your non-prepper loved ones, try this: recall a problem that your loved one has expressed during the past year, and solve that problem with a prep. Once you start doing this, you’ll might find that it gets easier to give prepper gifts to non-preppers. It won’t solve all their problems, but let’s face it, neither will the magnesium fire-starter you gave them last year, now forgotten in a closet.
In the coming days I’ll share gift ideas that are useful in everyday life and will also help your loved ones become prepared without realizing it. Today, I’m sharing with you my list of gifts for non-prepper cooks. We all like food, right?
1. Thermal Cooker
There are those fabulous cooks who love love love their crockpots. But some of them are wary of leaving them plugged in all day while they’re at work. Fair enough. A thermal cooker will help with this. If you’re not familiar with a thermal cooker – basically, you start your food cooking, and then after a few minutes (depends on the recipe), you lock that food away in the thermal cooker. And there it cooks away, without electricity, for hours – until you’re ready for it. Wow. This kind of blew my mind when I originally saw this. Combine the power of a thermal cooker with the butane stove, and well, you have a seriously awesome off-the-grid cooking set up.
2. Energy Saving Kitchen Tools
Many of us have friends that are into saving energy for various reasons.
Introduce your energy-saving cook to manual kitchen tools. Many of them are easier to use than plugging in an appliance – especially for simple tasks. Grandma loved her manual egg beater, and the modern ones have been improved upon so they’re even nicer than grandma’s (seriously). When the power goes out, they’ll be able to whip up a lovely crepe (as long as they have that lovely off-the-grid cook stove).
My favorites: I wrote a post on this recently, and my all-time favorite is the re-designed modern egg beater. A close second in my kitchen is a mortar and pestle – you can grind things like spices and even coffee in a big, heavy one. I have the 3-cup version and love it. For those who are into coffee, we love this manual coffee mill too – it’s an important part of our off-the-grid coffee-making.
Many folks who enjoy local produce find themselves with a bunch of it coming in at one time. And if your favorite cook complains about her freezer filling up during the harvest time, a dehydrator may be the answer.
We all know how useful this is for prepping, but for non-preppers, it will save precious freezer space (among other uses). For instance, some things are better dehydrated – like zucchini. You can also make really lovely things like candied oranges in them. Some folks make bread, too. A dehydrator for a non-prepper cook may get her to start thinking about off-the-grid food preservation.
My favorites: I’ve owned this dehydrator before, and it was solid. But last year, I upgraded to this fancy one and it was well worth it – food dehydrates much better when the fan is at the back instead of the bottom. And you don’t have to rotate trays. I’m glad I upgraded.
4. Sprouting Set Up
Sprouts can be problematic to purchase in a grocery store these days. There have been instances of food poisoning that have caused some large grocery store chains and restaurants to no longer sell them. When you do find them, they can be not-so-fresh and expensive (have you tried to get broccoli sprouts in a rural area lately?).
There’s an easy and inexpensive solution: sprout them yourself. Even the busiest cook can spare a few minutes to water some sprouts. It’s a great way to get greens into the diet (especially in winter time) without relying upon the food grid.
5. A Boatload of Favorite Foods
When you love a certain thing (coffee is my favorite example), and you’re a non-prepper, at one point you’ll find yourself saying, “Holy cow, I really spend a lot of time/money/energy buying X”. It may never cross your mind to just cut to the chase and buy a case. (Rhyme was not planned.)
Give your loved one a boatload of this favorite certain thing, and they’ll be thrilled. Give them “the good stuff” and they’ll be over the moon. I’ve given 5lb bags of fancy coffee as a gift to my coffee-loving friends and family. Not only is it something they can use in the event of an emergency, it helps them see the pleasure of having a large stock of an item they enjoy. The hope is that it might be a foray into stocking a bit more than a day’s worth of groceries at a time. One can hope.
6. Food Making Kits
High-quality luxuries like root beer can be expensive – especially for a family. The same goes for other lovelies like cheese and beer. There’s so much junk in our food these days that the only way to de-junk your intake is by opting for super-expensive “boutique” foods.
As we preppers and survivalists know, learning how to make food that non-preppers buy in grocery stores is a solid survival skill for the long-term. But our non-prepper friends may be unaware of this. Use that to your super-sneaky advantage. Food making kits are an especially good item for families. It’s something they can do together and the kids learn real-life skills (like applied chemistry). You can give a root-beer making kit to an entire family, and consider the gift-giving complete. With any luck, they’ll enjoy it enough to master the skill. Perhaps they’ll even start their own root-beer root and herb garden — again, one can hope!
7. Cast Iron Cookware
People are tired of cookware they can’t rely upon. Even the “good stuff” these days is not so great. Wouldn’t it be nice to have cookware that’s made in America and reliable? Not just reliable but something that can be passed on through the generations?
Cast iron – especially American-made cast iron – will last and last. It can be heated to a very high heat, so they’re great for cooking something like a steak. It’s something real in a sea of not-so-great.
My favorites: (oh! where to start!!?) this is an amazingly inexpensive set of Lodge cookware (you could split it up to share among your friends). Here’s the entire Lodge store with lots of made-in-the-USA cast iron.
8. A Sneaky Way to Give a Butane Stove
Most of us, cooks included, can get into a food rut. We make the same stuff over and over again, but yearn for something new and different – and yummy of course. Asian-style hot pot cooking is new and “different” to many of us. Basically, you put broth in a large pot, and add ingredients to it while you simmer it at the table. The soups can be tailored to just about any taste (we all like soup!). It’s very sociable and fun.
So here’s how to be super-sneaky about it: give a beautiful hot pot recipe book and a butane stove so that you can cook at the table. Get it? The butane stove is a fabulous emergency essential: you can cook on one in the event of a power outage. Even if your loved one doesn’t like Asian food, you’ll have used the age-old art of distraction to get them the gift they really need.
9. Food Vacuum Sealer
Perhaps you know a cook who loves local produce, but never seems to put away any for later. Or perhaps a loved one that cooks huge meals and is often begging you to take some of the extra food that she made this weekend off her hands.
For this foodie friend, a food vac could be the answer. It will help her save her local harvest for later, and she can save those leftovers for future meals.
My favorites: I really like this food vacuum sealer.
Again, this list is aimed just at our loved ones who like to cook (or eat!).
In the meantime, what ideas do you have for giving a prepper gift to a non-prepper who likes to cook.