I do. I wrote it up for a short-lived self-suffiency magazine which doesn't exist anymore. The editor rejected it saying my method took too much time and no one would actually DO what I wrote about. But I do it and I ran across the write-up this morning and wondered, does anyone else?
Here's an edited version. It's just under 2,000 words. If that's too big for the forum rules, I'll send it as PM.
It's no trouble for me to read with a pencil in my hand. You'll find many recipes in my cook books have a series of numbers in pencil above them. This is my self-sufficiency rating for the recipe. It will look something like this:
The first number, 3, is the quantity of ingredients I raise or make myself.
The second number is the quantity of ingredients that I CAN raise or can make, but don't always.
The last number is how many ingredients I have to purchase.
I want to be as self-sufficient as possible and I wanted to see how store-dependent different recipes were? I rate my regularly used recipes and recipes which interest me. This method also shows what I can do to be more self-sufficient.
Ideally, every recipe would be 7/0/0 or such, but that's not realistic for my situation. I don't have a farm or farm animals. If I'm making fresh corn soup, for example, the ingredients are: onion, fresh corn, stock, chives, butter, salt & pepper.
I mark the ingredients I raise or regularly produce with a minus sign (-), the ingredients I can raise or make, but don't always with a tilde (~). I don't mark store-bought ingredients.
My marked up copy would be:
I add the minus signs and the tildes, and then go down that many items in the ingredient list and count the number remaining. That is the quantity of ingredientsI have to buy. So, for this recipe, I'd pencil over the recipe:
My goal is to make that first number (items produced at home) as large as possible and the middle and last numbers zero.
I had a crop failure for my corn but intend to plant corn again, so the numbers for my corn soup should change to 3/1/3.
If I ever get where I regularly make stock instead of buying it, then I'll have succeeded in making the recipe as self-sufficient as possible in my present conditions.
The only problem with this system is that I want to be overly optimistic. For the fresh corn soup, I could make my own butter, but I've only done so once in about 30 years. It isn't likely I'll do so regularly unless I get a cow, goat or something else changes. If that happens? I'll change the numbers. The ratings aren't static, it was designed specifically to change (why I do this in pencil).
Jennie, I really like this idea. It well suits my analytical mind, lol. I like that you include a things that are in the "could but don't" category. That's realistic, Sometimes I choose to buy things too, for whatever reason. You mention butter, and while I have goats and collect the cream, it's not as much as cows cream so I often prefer to save it for ice cream. :) Because of that I sometimes buy butter. I'm a tried and true prepper as well, so if I find a good food bargain at the discount grocery, I stock up!
My food goal is identical, and your system seems an excellent way to challenge oneself toward that goal. I can see writing homemade/homegrown substitutions next to some of the ingredients. I'm guessing you probably do that too.
I do that it. My method is EVERY ingredient is an equal %. And I calculate the % that is homegrown(not homemade).
Making my own salt kicked my % up. I am currantly growing black pepper but no seeds yet. Many meals only lack the pepper to be 100%.
Then we get to the homemade segment. Homemade is different than other peoples definition. Like i wanted to make coleslaw so i read the recipe and it includes mayonaise. I have to go back and learn how to make mayonaise before i can make the coleslaw. It's almost like a Wheaton scale but for cooking.
Thanks! As to the analytical stuff? My dad raised me and taught at Caltech. My older brother is also a scientist, and my husband was a software engineer before he gave it up to do Tech. support instead. I have always been surrounded by men who wanted to figure out a better way to do the things they did.
When I"m stuck trying to figure out a method for doing something complex, this model works too: what I can do/do easily, what I could do/don't mostly, and what I have to pay someone else to do.
Leigh. Here is my thread but the short version is to evaporate sea water. In that thread, Dale had mentioned using basalt rocks. Not sure the what or how on that as there is no basalt in my area that i know of.
Sadly, we are nowhere close to saltwater, but I really like the idea.
My husband and I were very interested in your rain collection setup. We have two 1550-gallon poly tanks for collecting our roof run-off and are still tinkering with filtering, etc. We use the water for the garden, livestock, and ducks. You've given us a few more things to look into.
That's all OT, sorry! Let me just say thanks to you and to Jennie for starting the conversation.