Eating in the Time of Storms
There’s plenty of information about what to do to prepare for a storm. We’re here to talk about food and drink beyond stocking up on leche condensada and Beanee Weenee.
First, use common sense. Listen to official news sources. Don’t panic. Anticipate losing power, so charge all your devices. Do your laundry. Gas up the car. If you have a chainsaw, get some gas for that, too.
If you haven’t gone to the grocery store yet, be prepared for lines. Consider going later in the day.
• Yes, do buy sweetened condensed milk if you like milk in your coffee or tea. If they’re already out, evaporated canned milk or shelf-stable boxed products are alternatives.
• Stock up on food that doesn’t need refrigeration or much in the way of preparation: fresh fruits and vegetables, crackers and biscuits and baked goods.
• Get bags of ice for the cooler.
• Check your backyard fruits: avocados, starfruit, bananas, coconuts and so on. Harvest what you can. Share with family and friends. After the storm, collect fallen fruit to eat, share or – if it's too damaged to eat – throw into the compost heap.
What to Do When the Power Goes Out
Loss of power is one of the biggest challenges during storms. Outages can last a day to several days.
▪ If all your appliances are electric, consider buying a portable gas burner to heat water for tea and coffee, do simple stovetop cooking. Pull out camping/cookout supplies.
▪ Got a grill? Stock up on matches and charcoal for the barbecue (but always use this outdoors, never inside).
▪ Take inventory now of what’s in the freezer. if you lose power for a few days or longer you’ll have to – safely – deal with frozen meats and seafood, vegetables and any other foods. Here are food safety guidelines when your freezer has been out for more than a few hours.
▪ Get with your neighbors for candlelight dinners to use up what’s in the fridge. During Hurricane Andrew, when many were without power for a week or longer, neighbors met to share food, drink and help. For a few days, before the noisy generators started up, many South Floridians got to make new friends.
Recipes to Make on the Grill
Grilled lobster or shrimp
Thaw seafood. Chop garlic and parsley add to extra-virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper and a tablespoon or two of panko or dried breadcrumbs. When coals are hot, grill until done.
Dress Up Canned Goods
Now, While You Can: Eat Out
All done? Now check to see if your favorite restaurant is open tonight. They’ll likely have to close because of the storm and have food to be eaten too, so you can help them out. As for hurricane parties, use your own good judgment, but smart folks wait to party after the storm, not during.