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Cooking without power


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#1 DanM

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 08:45 PM

I apologize, I know there is a similar topic out there, but for the life of me, I cannot find it.

The Mid-Atlantic and New England are about to get slapped around by Hurricane Sandy and the Frankenstorm that will result afterwards. The local utility is expecting 50-70% of the state to lose power. Assuming I have no power, I will be able to cook with a camp stove, barbeque, and camp dutch oven. The pantry is filled with beans, grains, canned/carton soups, tuna, etc... I will expect many grocery stores to be closed for a few days as well, worst case scenario.

Any thoughts on what to cook? I have a couple of nice size pumpkins that I plan on stuffing with random goodness and roast on the grill. I will also make a pancake mix for an easy meal, soups, lentil salads, chicken and rice, etc... are all on my list.

Dan

Edited by DanM, 27 October 2012 - 08:47 PM.

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

#2 patrickamory

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:09 PM

I was thinking about this too... I have a gas range and am hoping the gas stays on even if the electricity goes out.

#3 Dana

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 10:09 PM

You'll want to use what ever is in the fridge first before it goes bad (assuming the electricty is out). Keep the freezer doors closed as long as possible. Do you have a generator? You pantry items are good for when the fridge things are gone. Be wary of salt - a lot of shelf stable items such as canned soups, etc, are loaded with salt, and if clean water is an issue, you'll want to stay away from it as much as you can. Be sure to stock a few cases of water. Fill your bathtubs with water so you can use it to flush (this is very important).



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#4 Lisa Shock

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 11:34 PM

I'd cook a couple of days' meals in advance, things that hold ok cold/room temp (picnic food, pies) and work from there. In particular, I'd look long and hard at anything in the fridge and see if you can make it into a pie, don't forget savory pies, out of it.

I'd try to have extra water for handwashing, plus lots of paper towels and disposable plates and flatware so you don't have to wash up.

I'd also be filling my coolers with ice.

I'd also like to remind people to only cook like this in well-ventilated areas. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer.

#5 DanM

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 04:59 AM

Good points. I plan on baking a bunch of cranberry muffins, sweet potato pies or bread, and something with apples to use up much of what is in there.

I will be bottling 12 gallons of cider tonight so I can refill the carboys with water. I will probably have about 40 gallons of potable water on hand, more if I wanted to bottle.

I will call around for ice, especially dry ice. block ice will be especially useful.
"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

#6 rotuts

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 05:30 AM

most gas ranges do not work w/o electricity. I found this out during a hurricane in the mid-80's

Webber works though!

#7 HungryC

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 06:10 AM

You need a coffee strategy....when all hell breaks loose, small rituals are very comforting. Chemex pot, French drip, or instant, you'll want a way to make it. The caffeine will help flagging spirits and provide liquid enthusiasm to begin the cleanup or repair process. If you can make coffee, you will be popular with the neighbors, utility workers, and other important post storm contacts, like the guy in your neighborhood who owns a 24" chainsaw. Canned evap milk, Parmalait, or other shelf stable milk is part of my hurricane stash....simply to put in coffee.

Bake bread, cake, biscuits, or scones before the power goes out. Homemade treats can help reduce the anxiety of waiting.

If you have a chest freezer with some spare room, make your own block ice in pans or large Tupperware containers. Empty 2 liter soda bottles work, too. If you are evacuating and are in a high risk area, consider this: take everything out of your fridge and freezer, put it into multiple garbage bags, then put it all back in. If you are away for an extended time and can't clean out the fridge, it will be a much easier experience to toss a few bags than to scrub melted festering ice cream out of your freezer.

Signed
an Andrew, Juan, Lily, Katrina, Rita, Gustave, and most recently Isaac survivor

#8 dcarch

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 08:03 AM

Unlike earthquakes, weather related disasters do not normally impact water supply and natural gas supply.

In the many power outages we have had in the NY area, the only thing that was a problem had been gasoline supply because gas stations do not have power to run their pumps.

For those of you who do not plan on having a backup generator, get yourself an inverter, very inexpensive. You can run your computer, internet, TV, and charge up you cell phone by plugging in your car and run the engine at idle speed.

A used car battery can be charged up to power a 12v LED light for many days. Cheaper than buying batteries for your flashlight.

dcarch

Edited by dcarch, 28 October 2012 - 08:04 AM.


#9 heidih

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 08:15 AM

Here is a link to an earlier topic on hurricane prep

#10 patrickamory

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:17 AM

most gas ranges do not work w/o electricity. I found this out during a hurricane in the mid-80's

Webber works though!


Not an option on the 11th floor. Neither is a generator, or running an inverter from my (non-existent) car.

My 15-year old Caloric gas range has electric igniters on the burners, but I'm presuming the gas will still flow and I can light them with a match... fingers crossed! (Oven would be more problematic.)

#11 Jaymes

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:18 AM

And, before the storm hits, put a cup or small bowl of water into the freezer. Freeze it. Then, when it's hard, put a penny on top of the ice.

You might be away when the power comes back on and, if everything in the freezer has thawed and refrozen, you shouldn't eat it. You'll be able to tell if your penny is still on top of the ice that the frozen things stayed frozen.

Oh, and ps, it seems obvious but be sure that you've got a good non-electric can opener. It seems that every time we go through one of these things, I hear somebody say afterward that they either forgot they'd need one, or had one that they couldn't find, or had one that they did find but it was rusted and almost unusable.

Edited by Jaymes, 28 October 2012 - 09:23 AM.

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#12 rotuts

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:28 AM

well p.a. hope you and (me in NE) and others along the coast stay safe.

sorry, not only does your stove have electric igniters but the value that releases the gas is (probably) electric.

I did realize that i have a standard 'up-right' regular door freezer ( not chest boo hoo ) and its 3/4 full of SV. If I loose power and the stuff even gets close to a thaw its pasturized! I just jinxed myself: SV on the webber? in a pot of BBQ water.

we all need an induction plate that runs off an exercise bike: think of all the butter exchanges that would count for!

#13 Jaymes

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:41 AM


most gas ranges do not work w/o electricity. I found this out during a hurricane in the mid-80's

Webber works though!


Not an option on the 11th floor. Neither is a generator, or running an inverter from my (non-existent) car.


Any chance that you have a fireplace? I know it's unlikely, but throughout the years, I have been in many apartments that do.

We were without electricity for almost a month after an ice storm in the Midwest a couple of years back, and I felt just like a pioneer cooking in that fireplace.

Edited by Jaymes, 28 October 2012 - 09:45 AM.

"And you, you're just a stinker."

#14 patrickamory

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 10:06 AM

sorry, not only does your stove have electric igniters but the value that releases the gas is (probably) electric.


I fear you might be right, since I remember during the 2003 blackout roaming the streets fruitlessly in search of a coffee.

#15 DanM

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 10:31 AM

You need a coffee strategy....when all hell breaks loose, small rituals are very comforting. Chemex pot, French drip, or instant, you'll want a way to make it. The caffeine will help flagging spirits and provide liquid enthusiasm to begin the cleanup or repair process. If you can make coffee, you will be popular with the neighbors, utility workers, and other important post storm contacts, like the guy in your neighborhood who owns a 24" chainsaw. Canned evap milk, Parmalait, or other shelf stable milk is part of my hurricane stash....simply to put in coffee.

Bake bread, cake, biscuits, or scones before the power goes out. Homemade treats can help reduce the anxiety of waiting.

If you have a chest freezer with some spare room, make your own block ice in pans or large Tupperware containers. Empty 2 liter soda bottles work, too. If you are evacuating and are in a high risk area, consider this: take everything out of your fridge and freezer, put it into multiple garbage bags, then put it all back in. If you are away for an extended time and can't clean out the fridge, it will be a much easier experience to toss a few bags than to scrub melted festering ice cream out of your freezer.

Signed
an Andrew, Juan, Lily, Katrina, Rita, Gustave, and most recently Isaac survivor


I plan on going to the market shortly and will stop by the coffee shop to buy a small supply of preground coffee for the french press.

Baked goods can also be baked on the grill, aka the wood fired hearth.

Coffee, cookies and beer are great ways to show apreciation.

good idea with the bags. I plan on cleaning up the fridge later... one more step.

Dan
"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

#16 rotuts

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 10:38 AM

roasted dark coffee beans + dark chocolate make an interesting snack in the AM!

I have two hand-crank lanterns and two hand crank flash-lights I got a few years ago from LLBean. very handy they have their problems: the light is so intense on the flash lights that if you point it at your cat or your dog or yourself, it can damage the retina.

sent some of those to friends in FLA who used to buy cases of batteries for the "Season" each year: they never had to do that again!

#17 LindaK

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 10:56 AM


most gas ranges do not work w/o electricity. I found this out during a hurricane in the mid-80's

Webber works though!


Not an option on the 11th floor. Neither is a generator, or running an inverter from my (non-existent) car.

My 15-year old Caloric gas range has electric igniters on the burners, but I'm presuming the gas will still flow and I can light them with a match... fingers crossed! (Oven would be more problematic.)


Yes, the gas will still flow, and you can light your burners with a match. But be careful that you don't burn yourself when it ignites. I keep long matches around for such emergencies. Presumably you could do the same with your oven, but I've been afraid to try, not being able to see precisely where the gas flows from and not wanting gas to build up before touching the flame. Better to eat cold food than do anything dangerous.


 


#18 Beth Wilson

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:07 AM

One thing we found a pain when dealing with a power outage is Debit! Make sure you have a bit of cash on hand as some local grocery stores did open for supplies when we had a power outage but they only took cash. In this day of plastic cards it is easy to forget the days of buying stuff with cash :-)

#19 Jaymes

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:15 AM

I apologize, I know there is a similar topic out there, but for the life of me, I cannot find it.
Dan


Dan...you say that you "know there is a similar topic out there." No wonder it seems vaguely familiar to you, because you started that earlier one as well!

Here

:smile:

So now I'm wondering...how did you get through that earlier storm? Any lessons you personally learned? Anything you're going to do differently this time around? Anything that turned out to be not particularly helpful and that you're not going to repeat?
"And you, you're just a stinker."

#20 DanM

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:33 AM


I apologize, I know there is a similar topic out there, but for the life of me, I cannot find it.
Dan


Dan...you say that you "know there is a similar topic out there." No wonder it seems vaguely familiar to you, because you started that earlier one as well!

Here

:smile:

So now I'm wondering...how did you get through that earlier storm? Any lessons you personally learned? Anything you're going to do differently this time around? Anything that turned out to be not particularly helpful and that you're not going to repeat?


Thanks for finding it. I dont know why I could not find it earlier.

Anyhow. Lessons learned. Luckily, Irene was not as bad as they predicted. There was a lot of outages, but most of the major shopping areas had power, so we lived off of take out for a few days. With the stress of the situation, not cooking for a few days was fine by me. Putting every ice pack and gel pack I could find in the freezer helped keep things cold longer.

This time around I made sure my Coleman stove was cleaned, prepped and ready to go before the storm. I also made sure we have more batteries than we needed. I will also put a couple of large 20 gallon rubbermaids in the bath tub to store flushing water as the tub drain does not seal well and will drain after about 8 hours.

What did not help? I'll have to think about that one.
"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

#21 dcarch

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 05:40 AM

"----Yes, the gas will still flow, and you can light your burners with a match. But be careful that you don't burn yourself when it ignites. I keep long matches around for such emergencies. Presumably you could do the same with your oven,---"

Not really. You can only do it if the oven has a pilot light. Many gas ovens use an electric heating element to heat up the valve. Don't damage this element with fire.

dcarch

#22 ScoopKW

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 10:31 AM

I'm probably too late to be of much help but here are some tricks. I've been through a bunch of hurricanes, living in the Caribbean for so long:

1) Fill bread pans with salt water and freeze them solid. Transfer the blocks to the top shelf of the refrigerator, preferably before the power goes out. The fridge will stay colder, longer that way.

2) Open your fridge once per day. Once. Take everything you'll need for the day out and place in a cooler (that has one of those blocks of salt ice in it).

3) My favorite tip is to buy a couple cases of beer in aluminum cans, and freeze them. Place those in the 'fridge before the power goes out. They'll help keep the 'fridge cold, and you'll be the last person in the area who still has cold beer after the storm clears.

4) If power is out long enough that the freezer is going to thaw (we were out for 17 days after Hurricane Georges), prioritize -- eat the expensive frozen seafood first, and go from there thinking about shelf-life, possibility of food-borne illness, and cost. As a last resort (when the freezer temp gets in the mid 30s), cook EVERYTHING and invite your neighbors over. We've done that more than a few times.

When the salt ice blocks melt, use them to flush your toilet, if necessary.
Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

#23 dcarch

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 11:37 AM

And don't do any 48 hour sous vide meals even if you have a generator.

dcarch

#24 gfweb

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 11:48 AM

Upthread it was mentioned that you can't have a generator in the city. I don't see why not, so long as it can be put outside to keep exhaust out of the house. Generac makes a line of small generators <2000W that are really quiet and have stabilized power so you can run computers etc off them. Here's the 800W one. Our 2000W job powers a fridge with no problem.
http://www.amazon.co...nerator generac

#25 rotuts

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 12:11 PM

yar. I thought of the SV issues.

all though not SV dont think of washing your laundry!

#26 LindaK

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:13 PM

"----Yes, the gas will still flow, and you can light your burners with a match. But be careful that you don't burn yourself when it ignites. I keep long matches around for such emergencies. Presumably you could do the same with your oven,---"

Not really. You can only do it if the oven has a pilot light. Many gas ovens use an electric heating element to heat up the valve. Don't damage this element with fire.

dcarch

Thanks, that's very good information.

1) Fill bread pans with salt water and freeze them solid. Transfer the blocks to the top shelf of the refrigerator, preferably before the power goes out. The fridge will stay colder, longer that way.

Why salt water? Long ago, someone here tipped me off to the freezing water trick.. I've never salted the water, but it's worked perfectly without. I have a half dozen of them in the freezer now, waiting to be useful.


 


#27 DanM

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 05:12 PM

We are lucky so far... we still have power and made arroz con pollo for dinner.
"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

#28 janeer

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 06:23 PM

don't know where you are...but my son in NYC says all is well, cooking-wise

#29 heidih

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:43 PM

Like the salt with the ice in the ice cream maker perhaps the salt makes it freeze quicker?

#30 gfweb

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:52 PM

Like the salt with the ice in the ice cream maker perhaps the salt makes it freeze quicker?


Salt lowers the temp of freezing, so the block will be colder than 32F when it freezes and will stay colder.