Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Being Prepared - Cooking Alternatives Part 1 ~~ A Titus 2sday Linkup

(The next installment in a series on preparation. You can find my posts on water storage and alternatives by searching this blog for "Preparedness".)

She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. Proverbs 9:2

Here in the Midwest we get some crazy weather. Today's record-breaking heat reminds me of other extreme weather we've had. During one particular ice storm our power went out right after we put the kids to bed.

My darling groom and I debated the wisdom of leaving or sticking it out. We prayed and then decided we would tough it out in the family room. We gathered the sleepy children from their beds, poured blankets and pillows into one huge pallet in middle of the floor and added new meaning to "the family bed." We awoke the next morning to sunlight glinting off every icy surface outside and inside, well...

"We're hungry, what's for breakfast?"

Three sleepy-eyed little faces looked up at me and I had no answer.

The power had been off for the night so we feared opening the fridge and we couldn't even make toast. I gave them each some dry cereal to munch on while their father and I decided what to do. We faced the truth--we would have to brave the treacherous ice and cold in order to properly care for the kids.

That storm really shook me up. While we had plenty of food (my tired and stressed brain didn't think to grab a new jar of fruit from the cupboard) we had no way to prepare it. From that day on I began to look for foods that wouldn't need a lot of prep and also at other cooking methods that would enable us to at least survive until the power came back on.

Here are some options that might help you think about alternative ways to take care of your precious families during times like these.

~ BBQ/Dutch Ovens. We have a charcoal grill but at the time it was not covered and we didn't want to skate across the deck and chip away at it. That said, with a little thought, you could prepare enough charcoal or gas and cover the grill to keep it accessible no matter what.

~ Sterno. Not exactly cost effective, but if you can get your hands on a buffet server or special pan and rack fitted for sterno cans you could at least reheat water or soup. I found two of these types of copper pans/racks at the thrift store for just a few dollars. After a nice shine-up they were even company-ready for some nice dinners. :)

~ Fireplaces, firepits or wood-burning stoves. We don't have any of these, but they are under consideration for future renovations. If you do, consider keeping a small store of wood dry year-round for use to cook and heat water with.

~ The gals over at Food Storage Made Easy really endorse a new product called InstaFire. I have not tried it, but on their website you can watch videos of cooking on snow with it and even show it burning in water.

~ Solar Ovens. I will create a separate post on this particular method, but with the amount of sun streaming over us the next day it would have certainly been useful to have one of these.

~ Foodstuffs. Keep food items on hand that don't require a lot of refrigeration or heating. A small bit of store-bought pop tarts or granola bars won't harm too much and powdered milk can make dry cereal better, and help with other things too.

I am sure there are other methods out there and if you know of them please share!

Pray to the Lord to show you what you need and what He has already blessed you with that you might have overlooked. Look around your home and see what you can use in an emergency situation to help you feed your family meals more nutritious than simple Saltines.

Just make sure that there is no chance of a gas leak before you light a fire! This is why I wish to do a separate post on solar ovens (how tos, etc.) because if you can use that without fire, it would be great during dry seasons, etc.

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