Elder F. Enzio Busche was a child in World War II Germany, and suffered through the destruction and lack of food there. Here are some of the things he said about his family's food storage.
Frequently I am asked, “What were the most valuable items in the days of starvation in Germany?” The answer is difficult to believe, because some of the experiences we had seem to be totally illogical and contrary to human nature. The items of highest value were tobacco and alcohol, because people who live in fear and despair, who have not learned principles of self-control, tend to need in times of panic some drug to escape the dreadful awareness of reality. I have seen people give their last loaf of bread and their last meager supply of potatoes just to obtain a bottle of brandy. How fortunate we are as members of the Church that we learn to develop a feeling for the true values of life and the necessity of self-control, so that in times of need there will be no panic, but we will be prepared.
As for what we needed, the food item we relied on most was vegetable oil. With a bottle of vegetable oil, one could acquire nearly every other desirable item. It had such value that with a quart of vegetable oil one could probably trade for three bushels of apples or three hundred pounds of potatoes. Vegetable oil has a high calorie content, is easy to transport, and in cooking can give a tasty flavor to all kinds of food items that one would not normally consider as food—wild flowers, wild plants, and roots from shrubs and trees. For me and my family, a high-quality vegetable oil has the highest priority in our food storage, both in times of daily use and for emergency usage. When vegetable oil is well-packed and stored appropriately, it has a long storage life without the necessity of refrigeration. We found ours to be in very good condition after twenty years of storage, but circumstances may vary in different countries and with different supplies.
The second highest priority item for me and my family is grain in all its forms, preferably wheat and rye. When grain is well-packed and well-preserved, it too is easy to transport, easy to store, and will last for generations.
A third priority item is honey. Its value in daily usage is immeasurable. My family prefers honey rather than sugar because our experience supports some of the research findings regarding the preeminence of honey. Another reason I prefer honey is because during the starvation period in postwar Germany, honey could be traded for three times as much as sugar; its value was considered that much greater.
A fourth important food storage product is powdered milk.
These four basic items—oil, wheat, honey, and milk (or their equivalents in other cultures)—together with water, salt, and renewable basic foods such as potatoes and other vegetables, can satisfy nutritional requirements in times of emergency and also are valuable and usable in normal daily life.