Mitt Romney's Faith Draws Attention To Mormon Food Storage16:16
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Mitt and Ann Romney serve "Ann Romney's famous chili" at a New Hampshire campaign event in June 2011. Mormon cuisine and the church practice of storing a three month supply of food are gaining attention as Romney runs for president. (AP)
Mitt and Ann Romney serve "Ann Romney's famous chili" at a New Hampshire campaign event in June 2011. Mormon cuisine and the church practice of storing a three month supply of food are gaining attention as Romney runs for president. (AP)

If Mitt Romney becomes President, would Ann Romney set up a food storage facility at the White House? That's one of the questions that came up when the New York Times ran a story about Mormon cuisine.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons) are urged to keep at least a three month supply of food and water, cash and a 72 hour emergency kit.

Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt University, told Here & Now's Robin Young that she keeps an emergency backpack kit and says her food storage tends towards canned food and the freeze-dried "space age" kind.

"It's freeing to know that when I get a signal of a tornado I can grab that backpack and head for the basement and I'll have a source of light, I'll have something to eat, I don't have to worry," Flake said.

The Mormon church helps anyone in need in a disaster. After Hurricane Katrina, the church had emergency supplies on the ground in New Orleans within 24 hours.

And if a church member falls into personal difficulty, the local bishop approves distributions of aid from church storehouses. It's kept  confidential and meant to ensure that the church member doesn't become dependent on church welfare.

Flake said LDS church congregations are purposefully limited in size so that they can more effectively run like an extended family, where asking for assistance is not shameful.

"It's like going to see your parents if you had a problem," Flake said.

Guest:

  • Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt University

This segment aired on March 15, 2012.

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