Pantry Basics

“Cooking During Hard Times”

This is the name of my new cooking class and soon to be available cookbook.  In May 2011, Joplin, Mo experienced a F-5 tornado.  At that time I was unemployed and wondering what God had in store for my future.  I say that it took an F-5 tornado to put me in the place of my calling.  The Thursday after the tornado, I stopped by to see my friend, Pastor Daniel Wermuth II at Joplin Family Worship Center.  It was a crazy scene, people everywhere, trucks showing up with supplies, people showing up to volunteer, rescue efforts still in place, and emergency workers everywhere.  I asked pastor Dan, “How can I help you?”

That night we housed 15 volunteers for the night, and the next day I worked about 15 hours and then did it all over again daily for three years. I became the Community Liaison to attend all the community relief efforts and the Director of Operations of the Hope 4 Joplin relief center at Joplin Family Worship.

One of the blessings that the Lord allowed us to do was to establish a make shift grocery store.  We set all the supplies that had been donated in an orderly manner, like a store, and clients could shop for the items they needed.  One issue that we encountered in food distribution was the preference for ready to eat food.   I could not understand this, so I started asking questions.

We had many items that were donated that required cooking including beans, rice, lentils, fresh vegetables, and canned foods.  When these items came in and we set them out, as we walked the clients around we would offer so many of these items to them.  “NO!  I don’t want that.”  I asked why?  “I don’t know what to do with it.”  This was very perplexing to me.  I continued to ask questions and take notes.  I asked other agencies who do food distribution and found the same thing.

It became more clear when I had a conversation with Kathy Lewis Director of Crossline Churches of Joplin.  I told Kathy about this and asked if she had experienced a preference for ready made foods, too.  The answer was yes.  I asked her opinion of why.  She said that they had done survey’s of clients, and one of the things clients requested was cooking classes.  I found this very interesting.

I started thinking about this and doing a little research and realized that not everyone grows up in a household with cooks.  According to 30% of college students can’t boil and egg

This spoke to me that there was a need for basic cooking skills training.  I thought about my wife and I, and how we handled feeding a family of 6 when we had no income.  This was the birth of: Pantry Basics – Cooking During Hard Times.

Over 5 years in the making, I held my first cooking class at Crossline Churches of Joplin’s new facility.  This was a very special night to have this dream finally come true.

There were four people signed up for the class, and I had three in attendance.  The first thing I had the students do was to wash their hands, and then we made bread.

This is a loaf of my $.50 bread.  This has only 4 ingredients and is a no knead bread.  Very easy, and only 1.5 hours from start to finish.

The loaf pictured is the basic recipe with added Italian seasoning and fresh garlic cloves.  It was awesome.

Tuesday night was the first class of a 4 part series.

  1. Introduction to Pantry Basics and Bread
  2. Soups, Beans, and Eggs 101
  3. Chicken 101, Breakfast, and Vegetables
  4. Meats, Pasta, and Desserts

Each week we will cover the topic with hands on cooking, sharing recipes, and interactive discussions.

At the end of this class, the students will have established a fully stocked pantry, have basic cooking information, and be able to feed the family during hard times or on a tight budget.




About Lowell Lane

Food is my passion; I love to grow it, cook it, eat it, and share it with others. Business is also my passion; I am an entrepreneur, business consultant, and mentor.
This entry was posted in Baked Goods, cooking, Cooking Tips, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. What a great and very timely idea for those who never learned the basics but is also a great refresher for those who want one! I know when I moved to different parts of the country I learned to cook different meals i.e.. regional favorites and especially when I lived overseas I had to learn to cook a whole different way. When I returned stateside, I was glad to be with my mother so that I could learn to cook American style all over again. I am also thinking of women who have spent so much time in the workforce – long hours, catching a meal when then can (eating what’s handy, not what is nutritious) that if their circumstances change, would no doubt need a refresher as well. I can’t think of a more perfect role for you, my friend – it must be a God thing!!

  2. LAURA LANE says:

    I’m so proud of you!

  3. Rebecca Knox says:

    I am so excited about this, Lowell! Congratulations!!! 🙂

  4. my budget’s so tight and I’m trying so hard to eat healthy that I figured I’d better learn to like healthier food and cook it. I like certain things, and I don’t mind my veggies, but I suck at cooking them–they intimidate me more than anything. I’m looking for resources to stretch what I already have and to budget enough to pay my bills and not eat out. I’ve wondered about cooking classes and such, and I’m glad you’re doing something great. I think people are embarrassed not to know how to cook, but heck, look around you–very few people seem to know how to cook anymore, so they’re in good company.

    Sounds like you have an awesome idea and I hope it worked out well. Keep it up!

    • Lowell Lane says:

      You have a good start by using what you have. Start by doing inventory. List your meats produce canned items dry goods dairy and misc. Then you can plan meals using these items and adding as little as possible. We like to create new dishes and look at meat as flavoring or use minimum amounts. If you look around blog several recipes. Please check out my wife’s blog at Lots of recipes and ideas. Blessings

      • Thanks for the heads up. I’m on a super-tight budget and trying to see what I’ve got (and what’s in danger of growing things that might choke me to death the next time i open the door) and what I can do with it. I spent most of last night looking up cooking blogs to see their ideas or tips, because I am just not good at cooking (especially vegetables–they never turn out right). But I want to re-learn how to cook for myself and do it healthily. I’ll check that out. Thanks again.

      • oh wow–just realized I responded twice. Oh well…it’s been a long crazy week and I can’t wait til I get my head on straight again…too much research, i guess (hee hee).

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