Doomsday Kitchen: “Meals in a Jar” Cookbook

meals in a jar cover

I’ll admit first off that I thought Meals in a Jar sounded like a FANTASTIC idea, sort of along the lines of Dream Dinners. I imagined a book of step-by-step recipes that would end up in a jar, only to be brought out sometime later when I run out of fresh ingredients and I want to prepare a quick meal that was home-prepared without all those pesky chemical preservatives.

That’s what I got. Sort of. And so much more.

I’ll admit also that this book is not for me. But since I’m not the only person who reads this site, I had to share it with you because a) you might be interested and b) I thought it was fascinating that there are people who do these things in real life.

Meals in a Jar by Julie Languille is not just a cookbook. Oh no. It is also a very lovingly prepared instruction manual for how to feed yourself and all of your nearby survivors in the event of an apocalypse. It’s impressive – Languille teaches you how to can and dehydrate food and how much to prepare and how long it will last. She includes recipes like Cream of Asparagus Soup and Braised Chicken and Mushrooms and White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies.

I was disappointed, actually, because I kind of want to make Tamarind-Braised Pork Ribs, but I don’t want to make it for 8 people three weeks after a massive zombie attack. I would rather travel to Languille’s house on Whidbey Island in Washington state with what’s left of my family’s canned goods as a peace offering and hope she invites us to stay for dinner. I suppose that after the power goes out we will need a sailboat. My husband will come in handy there.

Okay, I suppose I shouldn’t be so flippant about it – next year is the 20th anniversary of The Big One – the Northridge Earthquake that turned the power off for much of Los Angeles for quite a while. If I had a bunch of meals in a jar, a stash of propane, and a full 50-gallon water drum, we would be just fine.

And Languille does publish the meal planning website, where “normal” recipes like Healthy Apple Chicken can be found for free and a lot more is available to members.

If you live in a place that is at risk of hurricanes, floods, and blackouts, AND you are not afraid of phrases like “retort pouches,” then this is the cookbook for you!

Get Fresh Meals on the Table With The Fresh 20

Fresh 20logo
My friend Melissa Lanz is just like you. Yes, in the same way that “celebrities are just like you” when caught on film being regular people coming out of Starbucks with their kids. She is a woman, a wife, a mom, and a go-getter. But here is where she is different. Because she recognized the problem of feeding her family healthy meals with limited time in a busy schedule, she came up with a solution that helped not only herself, but anyone else who has the same problem.

And that’s how The Fresh 20 was born.


Or rather the high cost of not being prepared in the kitchen. It was tax time. I added up receipts. I was ashamed. Our busy, unorganized lifestyle had driven us to spend the cost of a brand new car on takeout food. It wasn’t my fault really. There are so many alternatives to cooking at home. If I could microwave it in 5 minutes, we ate it. If someone delivered it, we ate it. And yet, at the end of the year, my energy was low and my healthy living defenses were down. I did what all modern moms do. I went to the Internet well. There are millions of recipes available. There are dozens of meal planning services. I still could not find what I needed. Everyone wants a quick solution, but I just was not willing to serve mushroom soup casseroles or refrigerator dough to my growing family.”

Melissa developed a meal plan that relies on 20 fresh ingredients per week. Supported by the Pantry 20 – or 20 staple ingredients you should always have on hand, and the Kitchen 20 – or 20 kitchen tools that are used all the time, The Fresh 20 assists you in getting a fresh, wholesome meal on the table (or in my case, sometimes standing up at the kitchen counter) for your family, no matter how much or how little time you have to make it.

You can join The Fresh 20 by subscribing to their weekly meal plans that are emailed to you. You can choose Classic, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, or even a lunch plan. It only costs $5 per month. You may scoff at paying for a meal plan but I swear to you it makes a huge difference, especially if you spend a lot of time going through cookbooks and a crazy box of recipes to figure out what to make for dinner this week, or if you are getting bored making the same old things for your family. I sit down once a week and look at our family’s schedule, look at the meal plan I was sent for the week, and pick the meals that are appropriate for the amount of time I will have on any given day. Every day I look at my printout on the fridge and it tells me what to do. “Defrost meat.” “Start crock pot meal in the morning.” Etc. It has relieved me of a burden that I didn’t realize was taking up so much of my headspace.

Book Cover End of Vi#2E49CB

And the even better news is that The Fresh 20 Cookbook is coming out next month! You can pre-order it here. In celebration of the cookbook release, The Fresh 20 is giving away The Pantry 20 – all of the staples that Melissa uses and recommends you keep on hand. If you enter and win this giveaway, BAM. Pantry – handled. All the ways you can enter the contest are mentioned in this video (where you can meet the wonderful Melissa herself):

The Fresh 20 Pantry Giveaway from TheFresh20 on Vimeo.

I am happy about The Fresh 20 for so many reasons. One, because I like Melissa. Two, because her motto is “Shop Once, Eat All Week,” which is basically my motto, only nicer. (Mine is “I’m not going back to the @*&$-ing grocery store until next Sunday.”) Three, because I totally want one of you to win The Great Pantry Giveaway! So go enter!

I was treated to a complimentary meal plan subscription and a sneak peek of the cookbook to facilitate this feature.