You’ve probably heard that those of us who live on the East Coast have a little hurricane problem going on. Irene is trundling her whorl-y way up the seaboard, and it’s important to be prepared for any emergency so stock up on flashlights and rain gear, sure, but don’t forget about food!
The biggest food problems during a flood-type situation are supply (stores might be closed/floating in international waters, and it’s unsafe to drink from the tap water during flooding) and power outages.
The FDA has a lot of great advice on its website for dealing with the latter. If you’re afraid that power’s gonna cut out, it’s a good idea to freeze things that you would normally refrigerate (milk, meat, etc.). The thawing process will buy you some time. Freezing big containers of water, also, will leave you with giant ice cubes that will slow down the unsavory side effects of those perishables warming. Insulated coolers are also useful, for obvious reasons. And, most basically, store things high upon top of bookshelves or your fridge in case of serious flooding.
Logistics aside, knowing what to eat during a power outage and what you should stock up on beforehand can be tricky. So we’ve compiled a list of ideas for waiting out what might be a tough weekend.
While your stove still works, fry some bacon. It doesn’t need to stay in the fridge once it’s cooked, and you can use it in a BLT (here are some tips for a killer one) or crumble it over a salad. It’s also good on its own, obvs.
Roast a few heads of garlic. This also doesn’t require refrigeration and it can add flavor to vinaigrette, which also stays good at room temp. Garlic becomes deliciously squishy when it’s roasted, so you could spread it on toast, too.
Boil some eggs. Don’t peel them—they’ll stay fresh longer. The uses for hard-boiled eggs are endless: eat them straight, slice them for a sandwich, or chop them and throw them on top of a kale salad with some grated Parmesan.
Speaking of cheese, buy room-temp-friendly varieties, cured meats and jarred pickled veggies (cornichons, beets, anything!) and you and yours will enjoy a smorgasboard of goodies tomorrow night.
Stock up on canned tuna—a godsend during power outages. Here’s a great no-cook recipe that combines it with beans (sub canned beans).
While you’re at it, grab two cans of beans. (We like cannellinis.) Then, Saturday or Sunday, drain them and, using a mortar and pestle, mash them with olive oil, salt and some of that garlic you roasted, and you’ve got bean dip.
Bake granola. Stored airtight, it will keep at room temp for a week.
Linguine with anchovy and tuna, perfect for all those canned guys you stocked up on.
Buy some anchovies in oil, which stay good outside of the fridge until you open them. You can keep them on hand for Sunday night. Throw them on top of this salad or, again, put them on bread.
If you can’t manage any of the (slightly) more complicated suggestions above, feel free to use and adapt the Sam Dean Non-Perishable Tough Times Classic, PB+Spoon:
Find spoon and jar of peanut butter, preferably chunky-style. With a scooping motion, scoop a large blob of peanut butter onto spoon. Can be eaten in one bite, but eating it like a peanut butter popsicle while wandering around your dark house with a flashlight both increases efficiency and prolongs enjoyment. Serves one, unless you’re OK with sharing your spoon.
And, last but certainly not least, get booze. Playing in the dark is always more fun with wine and whiskey on hand.
Sam Dean is a staff writer for Bon Appe’tit.