Saturday, October 27, 2012

Storm prep

As Sandy tracks toward New England, we're taking some basic precautions. Remember Irene?

We already have flashlights, extra batteries, and plenty of candles. We have a gas stove, so we'll still be able to cook, even if we lose power. Ditto water--city water isn't dependent on power. (It'll just be very cold water.) Temperatures are supposed to be relatively mild, so it won't be a catastrophe if we don't have heat for a few days.

As far as food is concerned, I plan to spend today cooking up the last meat in the freezer (a whole chicken) and making a batch of soup, as well. The freezer is full of frozen broth; if that thaws, no big deal. There isn't anything in the refrigerator that will go bad quickly, outside of cream and eggs, and we can eat the eggs first. Cheese can sit at room temperature for a while, as can vegetables.

A few kitchen tips:

A full freezer maintains its temperature for much longer than an empty one. If your freezer isn't full, fill some Tupperware with water and freeze those. When you lose power, don't open the freezer for at least 24 hours; everything will stay cold for at least that long (if it's full, and you don't open the door). After 24 hours, you can use the still-frozen Tupperware containers to line a cooler, at which point you can transfer the contents of your refrigerator to the cooler. Once the ice melts, you then have some extra containers of water, in case something happens to the water supply.

Try not to open the refrigerator any more than absolutely necessary during those first 24 hours, either, to preserve the inside temperature as long as possible.

Many things can stay at room temperature, if need be, and still be fine. Cheese, juice, vegetables, greenery, condiments, and butter will all be perfectly safe outside the cooler. If you have a gas stove, or a camper stove, there's no need to stock up on canned soup. You can cook just like normal, and heat up things on the stove.

Do your laundry now, and make sure you have a full tank of gas.

If we lose power, it won't change much. We'll be doing exactly what we're doing now: packing, and drinking the last things in the liquor cabinet, except by candlelight.

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