Be prepared with shelf-stable mealsBy: Suzy Fleming Leonard, Florida Today, 2:08 p.m. EST November 12, 2015
Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout, says David Treffer.
A few decades separate Treffer and his scouting days; he earned that impressive rank in 1972 in St. Simons Island, Georgia. But he still believes in the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared, so much so, he's made it his line of work.
As new business development manager for Chef 5 Minute Meals, the Rockledge resident travels the country spreading the word about his company's shelf-stable products.
Which is how I ended up spending a recent lunch hour at the picnic pavilion in Larry L. Schultz Park in Rockledge for a taste-test.
You know those frozen dinners you buy in the grocery store? Chef 5 Minute Meals are like that, only they don't need to be frozen, and you don't need a microwave to heat them up.
Treffer isn't a prepper, someone who hoards away rooms filled with supplies in anticipation of Doomsday. But everyone should be able to take care of themselves and their family for 24 to 72 hours, he says.
"I like to encourage people to adopt the pioneer spirit," he says, comparing the minivan to a modern-day Conestoga wagon.
When he travels, Treffer always buys a case of water to keep in the car with him, "just in case."
Chances are, you won't get stuck on the interstate and need it. But things happen: heavy rains, crashes, wildfire.
He chuckles and admits he's returned many a rental car with a case of water in the trunk.
He also keeps a Chef 5 Minute Meal on hand.
The basic meals come in beef chili, chicken pasta parmesan, chicken cacciatore, vegetable lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, beef stroganoff and beef stew. There's also a three-cheese omelet with beef chili and beans.
The company recently added kosher and halal meals to its menu. Backpack friendly versions in pouches instead of boxes also are available.
Treffer gave me a quick demonstration of how the basic meals work.
Inside each box is a magnesium plate and a bag of saltwater.
"Like a science experiment," he says.
Pour the saltwater into a tray with the plate, slosh it around a bit, then place the sealed meal upside down in the tray. Slide the whole thing back into the box and seal it.
After about two minutes, steam puffs out the ends of the box. In five minutes, we had a warm, hearty meal of beef chili.
Is this something I'd want to eat on a regular basis? Probably not, though I'd put it up there with most of the frozen meals I fall back on for a quick lunch. And Chef 5 Minute Meals have a five-year shelf life.
The company, which is based in Piney Flats, Tennessee, sells much of its inventory to governmental emergency management agencies. But Chef 5 Minute Meals are available online at disasterfoodsupplies.com for $6.99 a meal.
We got lucky during this year's hurricane season. Still, it wouldn't hurt to emulate a Boy Scout and be prepared for next year. Just in case.
Contact Leonard at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SuzyLeonard or on Facebook /SuzyFlemingLeonard
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