Living on the Georgia coast, I’ve learned more than ever the importance of being prepared when natural disasters strike. In 2016, during Hurricane Matthew, we lost power for about 48 hours with no indication of when it would return. Outside, harsh winds ripped through the neighborhood, uprooting age old oak trees, snapping tall pine trees in half and wreaking havoc. In 2017, we evacuated Savannah during Hurricane Irma, and thankfully came home to minimal damage.
When the power goes out, it’s important to have a back-up plan of what to eat and how you’ll feed your family. Last hurricane season, the grill was our go-to cooking source. We have a gas grill with a propane tank and used it to cook and warm all of our meals. We scrambled eggs in a cast iron skillet, cooked bacon on a thin sheet pan and heated up baked goods directly on the grill grates.
Proteins that will keep you full are good sources of energy. Think hot dogs, boneless skinless chicken breasts, ground beef and steaks. Canned goods that only require heating up are perfect solutions. Try black-eyed peas, green beans with potatoes or squash and Vidalia onions. These other canned goods can be easily heated or eaten straight from the can:
- Chef Boyardee
- Beanie Weenies
- Smoked Sausage
In case of no running water, foods that don’t require additional water are most convenient, such as hearty soups. Don’t forget to have a manual can opener nearby, and some salt and pepper. If you don’t have a grill, stock up on sandwich meat, fresh fruit and cold beverages that you can keep in a cooler with plenty of ice. Crackers, pepperoni and cheese is one of my favorite snacks. And, you can never go wrong with a good ol’ classic PB&J. A loaf of bread, chips and snack cakes are must-haves. Individual pizza crusts that require no refrigeration are great for heating through on the grill too. You can create on your own toppings and melt the cheese on top by closing the lid of your grill.
A few other important cooking items that come in handy when the power is out are a cutting board and a sharp knife. Remember, disposable plates and utensils, aluminum foil, hand sanitizer and baby wipes will help to keep things clean and tidy.
Don’t forget your pets! Be sure to stock up on pet food as well and plenty of bottled water.
Stay safe and well fed.