Very useful advice from someone who knows


I have to give a shout-out to the blogger at “Come And Make It“.  He’s an American living in the Philippines, who writes about life there and its challenges.  In the process, he often comes up with nuggets of useful information that can be really handy in the First World too.  I don’t agree with all his views, but he frequently makes me think.

For example, his latest blog post is titled “Cooking Rice And Other Esoteric Prepper Subjects“.  Here’s an excerpt.

One thing that I have learned the hard way, after living on the tropical island, is the subject of rice.

Parboiled, Arkansas, Jasmine, Basmati, Sushi, Calrose.  There are so many damn rices out there.  How the hell does a white boy summer choose?

So as a guy who has pretty much ate his way thru the rice eating world.  From Stuttgart Arkansas, to Middle East to Philippines.  This is the hard won education I shall impart to you.

Asians including the Indian subcontinent flavor ALL wash their rice before use.  

This is two reasons.  First of all, Asian rice is harvested and dried on the damn highway.  As in ******* asphalt highway with cars driving over that **** at 65mph.  So after the brown rice fresh outta the combine is dried, it goes thru the mill and comes out as white rice.

The funky bits of stones, asphalt, and whatever ******* gots to be washed out of your pot of food.

So enter the rice wash routine.

HOWEVR, even if your rice comes all esoteric organic ******* clean first worlds handling you still gotta wash that rice.

The reason being is that you are washing out the starch from the outer bits of the rice.

This is the starch that makes your rice taste mushy and like ****.

Wash it off.  The Japanese will soak their rice overnight to get rid of that starch, leaving behind a lot more chewy protein.

Second of all.  Acid…  Japanese who have mastered the eating of rice to atomic physics levels, add in a bit of vinegar to their rice and the gourmets add in a bit of sugar too.

Acid will transform your ****** rice into something chewy and delicious.  Not like American style rice that is basically chunky gravy bits of starch.

There’s more at the link.

He’s not joking about rice being dried on the highway, with trucks and cars driving over it.  I’ve personally witnessed that in the Third World.  If you look at the foreign, more esoteric brands of rice available in stores like Oriental food markets, just bear in mind, the odds are very good that it was dried in that way – and it may not have been adequately cleaned afterwards.  His advice is worth following.

Another recent article was titled “Long Shelf Life Food Storage“.

Chest freezers are handy for storing long term.  However not the things one would typically think about freezing.  Rather your dry goods.

Living on the tropical island, I have had to store many dry goods in the freezer to keep ants out of it. 

Things like Sugar, spices, boullion, cocoa powder, etc.

So I made a list of items that can have the shelf life extended indefinitely by putting in the freezer.

Also if your electricity does go out and you have taken care not to have frost build up in the freezer, likely you will not lose any food even for months of no power.

So here is my list, and it is not exhaustive, rather just to get your mind going.

dried chiles and chile flake
beef jerky
dried cured meats
dried diced onion
powdered juice drinks
veg oil
baking powder
dried fruits and veggies
cocoa powder
chocolate (needs vacuum sealing also)
instant mashed potato flakes
pudding mix
skim milk powder
Dried fish

Many of these things should be vacuum packed and then probably overbag with mylar or wrapped in alum foil then vacuum packed to prevent odors from evaporating.  Many volatile compounds in foods can and will evaporate thru plastic.

Again, more at the link.

In other blog posts he talks about the impact of monsoon rains, the trials and tribulations of running a small manufacturing business in the Third World, his experiences with solar power, bureaucratic inefficiency, institutionalized corruption, and a host of other topics that aren’t usually discussed outside that environment.  It’s a useful perspective to understand how the vast majority of the world’s population lives.

If you haven’t looked at “Come And Make It” before, give it a try.  You might enjoy it.



  1. There are a number of spices that *should not* be stored in plastic for very long at all. If you buy them in plastic containers, transfer them to glass if at all possible. The volatiles will eat plastic. I know this from home and lab!

    1. Cedar, any suggestions on where to find a good list of those? Most of our spices we buy in small glass jars, but I was planning to start buying them in bulk, and all those seem to be plastic

  2. Hightecrebel, I don't know of any lists, but rule of thumb would be that anything with a strong scent is putting off more volatile oils. Cloves, for instance, although I've also had trouble with star anise, less with bay leaves or whole nutmeg (side note: bay leaves can be had at a Mexican or Indian market that will blow the tiny mcCormick ones out of the water). Glass jars can also be bought in bulk – I'm a fan of the square ones, as you lose less space when stacked together in a box or on a shelf.

    1. Appreciate it. I'd never even considered that some wouldn't react well with plastic, and had no idea where to start. I'd feel quite stupid if I prepped deep and then half my spices were useless. Plain rice or pasta with pureed tomato paste doesn't sound very appetizing.

  3. Maybe you should reconsider the rice you buy if it is being dryed on assphalt.
    I know how to cook rice and I do not wash it nor I end up with mush.
    Proper cooking time, uncovered at first, covered during simmer phase, uncovered and fluffed at the end.
    I freeze the rice for a day or two, mainly to kill any bug eggs. Same with any kind of flour.
    Adding light olive oil or vegetable oil will give some of that yummy crunchy rice, "pegao", if properly cooked.
    Every now and then I add a twig of fresh rosemary, from my herb garden. I also, sometimes, like to add a little of rendered bacon fat.
    Yes to using glass for storing dried spices.

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