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How to Cook When There is No Power after a Storm

Cooking outsideI still remember the last hurricane that hit South Florida.  It was Hurricane Wilma back in 2005.  It caused a lot of damage to South Florida homes, and offices.  But one of my lasting memories of coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma was trying to cook when there was no power after the storm.  It proved to be challenging at times.

Full power was not restored in South Florida for some time after Hurricane Wilma.  Indeed, the gas lines were long after Hurricane Wilma as a direct result of the sustained loss of power.

I still remember being at a friend’s house cooking in his backyard BBQ when the power was suddenly restored.  I immediately jumped in my car and drove straight to the closest gas station to gas up my car.  But after gassing up my car, I returned to my friend’s house to continue cooking.

My employer at the time realized that many families could not eat a decent warm meal after Hurricane Wilma due to the loss of power.  So my employer had a generator brought into work that allowed a chef to cook warm meals for all of us to eat during lunch and take some warm and fresh food back to our homes.

We have been fortunate over the past several years in that South Florida has not been hit by a hurricane.  But that does not mean we should lay down our guard.  We should not only prepare, but reflect on the lessons learned from past storms to be better prepared for the aftermath of the next storm.

For instance, it goes without saying that any hurricane preparation plan should involve enough food and water for at least one week.

But if there is no power, how are you going to cook all that food that requires cooking?

I recall going to a friend’s house where we proceeded to cook just about all of our meat.  We used his commercial styled grill.  And all of the neighbors even came over to use the commercial grill to cook some meat.

You see, my friend was prepared.  He had a large industrial style BBQ and enough gas to last a week.  He had a freezer where the meat stayed cold long enough to permit us to cook the meat we needed before the meat went bad.

So the lesson I learned from that experience was to not only take full advantage of the outdoor grill, but to also have enough food on hand to make the food last.  Here are some quick tips and recipes to use as part of your hurricane preparation plan:

Charcoal or Gas Grill – use that grill to cook your meats stored in a freezer.  Before the storm hits make sure you have supplies on hand to ensure that you can properly operate your grill.  If you need a propane tank, for example, make sure you have one that is full.   With a grill, you can cook just about anything.  Don’t forget that you can even use a grill to warm up canned products.

Hot Plate – if you don’t have a grill, then consider purchasing a gas two burner hot plate.  You will generally find them in camping stores.  If you purchase this product, make sure to purchase enough fuel to last for at least a week.

Generator – if you have a generator, then hook it up to an electric skillet with a cover.  This will use much less energy than a range.

Be sure to keep a manual can opener, corkscrew and bottle opener on hand as well.

And here are some more examples of cooking after a storm that you may find useful.

And for vegetarian and vegan friendly hurricane prep food tips, try this.

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