Twinkies and the Zombie Apocalypse

Go with what you know

Twinkies have been an American staple for decades, and have made cameo appearances on countless TV shows and movies.

And now they’re gone.

But in their demise, they have reminded us of a crucial disaster preparedness concept.  In short, that concept is “go with what you know.” 

At InfoQuest, we spend most of our time training emergency responders on enhanced family preparedness.  We teach Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters, and EMS / EMTs how to better protect the family they have to leave at home in a crisis.  This way the responder can more readily respond knowing their family is safe.

One of the crucial concepts we cover is food and food storage, and one of the most important messages we give our students is to NOT focus on “survival” food.  First priority should not be given to MREs, freeze-dried camping food, dehydrated fruits or meats, or things like that.  They do have a place in your planning, just not at the top.

The first consideration in food storage (and we’ll get to the starring role Twinkies play in just a bit) is to have “more of what you normally consume.”

Here’s the important reason why:  In a disaster, crisis, family emergency, or other urgent situation, morale is going to be a crucial issue.  Anxiety may run rampant, emotions will be frayed, and PTSD is an all-to-common result.  One of the best ways to counter negative emotions is to make as much of your life as “normal” as possible.  A sense of normalcy and morale are important, and food is the king of morale. 

That’s why we hear phrases like “comfort foods,” or “eat something you’ll feel better,” and it’s also why favorite meals bring back happy memories, or why happy memories are sometimes the reason a meal is a favorite.

Besides, you need to consider this:  In a crisis, when stress is high, do you really want to switch immediately to MREs or other foods you’re not accustomed to?  How will it affect your digestive tract?  How will the kids react? Do you need stomach or intestinal upsets adding to your problems or hampering the work you’re trying to get done?  Or worse, do you need anything sending you to a post-disaster emergency room when you were otherwise fine?

So when you’re planning for your family’s food storage needs, plan on having more of the same.  It’s simple to do.  Just add to the items in your pantry, and rotate everything through like you normally would.  You have more food on hand, and you don’t have that “set-aside stash” that may reach its expiration dates without having been used.  Also, stock more of your family’s favorite junk food or comfort foods.  A good diet is important, but in a crisis, short-term emotional healing is of immeasurable value.

Comfort food for morale

And here’s where the Twinkie comes into play.  Although you might not have had a Twinkie in years, now that they’re gone, how much would you like to have one?  How would you feel if someone walked up and offered you a box of them?  Now take that feeling and multiply it by a hundred and you’ll have an idea of how much better your family will feel during disaster recovery, when you walk up with their favorite food.

Learn from this tragedy.  Let not the Twinkie die in vain.  Remember the important lesson of comfort food and morale when planning for your family’s needs!

About the author: Paul Purcell is a security analyst and preparedness consultant and is the author of “Disaster Prep 101” ( Copyright Paul Purcell. Permission is granted to reprint this article provided all portions stay intact.