- danhole Aug 26, 2008 04:07 PM
Okay, we have another threat here in the Gulf Coast. The last one was, uhhh . . . I don't remember it's name since it didn't actually hit us here in Houston. My DH, who is usually the last person to take anything weather related seriously, woke me up early and said "Go stock up! A storm is coming." So I go to the store, which is full of folks in full panic mode (I'm thinking WTF??? Ain't going to happen.) and I am wandering around trying to figure out what to buy, beside some bottled water.. He is so picky, that it was a very limited choice. So, I get some peanut butter and cheese crackers, beef jerky, peanut protein bars, and since we have a gas grill with a burner on the side, I buy some Newman's pasta sauce, noodles, a couple of cans of spaghetti O's (his preference, not mine) and some chicken noodle soup, condensed. Then I am racking my brain for more items. I didn't want to get anything that needs refrigeration, or a freezer, so what to buy? Besides bottles water.
As Fay was showing a predicted path to my front door I stood in line for 40 min to get 2 LPG tanks filled. Sent the wife out for a dozen gallons of water. Didn't get as much as a drop of rain as Fay took a southerly turn into the state.
I have so much food in my freezers that before we lost power I could transfer a lot of stuff into the fridge freezers and work off that without opening the upright freezer and eat well for at least a week. PB and canned tuna are always great to keep on hand. I think I could cook out of my pantry for a while after I could no longer use anything from the freezers. Really water is a biggie. You need it to drink and you need it to cook. I have enough water in my pool to use for flushing the toilets. And don't forget batteries and fill up your car soon in case you need to high tail it out of dodge since our gas stations were out of gas several days before people were even looking at this seriously.
Wishing you good luck with this one. Gustov looks like it could be nasty when it hits the Gulf.
Heh...I feel your pain..am in Naples, FL. We took a major hit here from Wilma in 2005, power was out in our neighborhood for 4 days. One thing I did not have then but I do have now is a good portable Coleman freezer chest, not electric (the kind you could take to the beach or on a camping trip)...just one you can throw some ice into to keep anything you had before the storm at least cold for a few days if your power goes out so that you can GRILL it on your gas grill. I think you have plenty for just the two of you (?); maybe sardines or kipper snacks would be good to add, though not everyone loves them--but they are easy to open and are very nutritious. Try to be sensible and not get caught up in the hysteria, too. Clean water is probably more important for flat-out survival. I hope Gustav stays away from everyone! Oh, gas is "down to" $3.74 a gallon here, big drop from $3.99...so I filled up on my way home as I kept reading headlines today about oil going up ALREADY in anticipation of Gustav coming into the Gulf.
I was in West Palm for Wilma and ate grilled hotdogs and caned corned beef for four days w/o power. Never let a boyfriend stock up pre-storm unless you want to be w/o power AND puffy. Dern salt...
I'm in Biloxi, MS now and went out to get supplies for Gustav yesterday. I didn't go nuts as I didn't want to be left with tons of canned things that won't get eaten. I bought water, a few cans of Campbells Select Harvest Soups, canned pears, mandarin orange cups, tuna pouches, special k bars, a bag of oranges, and extra food for our kittens. We already have PB, crackers, and canned beans. I also filled up my gas tank as I've noticed prices starting to creep up. If worse comes to worse I'll just drive north. My husband started pulling out the pre-packaged meals that are shelf-stable he had left from his last deployment...can't remember what they're called...Anyhow, he offered those to me(he's necessary personel so he HAS to stay on base in the case of evacuation whereas I'm not allowed to) but they hold about as much appeal as chewing on my shoe so I declined. =)
Having survived Hurricane Andrew and several others here in Miami I will add my 2 cents. Other than the obvious food items added to my hurricane supplies are; wet ones or any kind of baby diaper wipes to be able to clean up; huge amounts of paper towels; bought huge water containers from Wal-Mart to fill up with water instead of bying a ton of bottled water; tarps from Wal-Mart for immediate roof repairs; bug repellant; get cash from bank &/or bank machine as they will go down; candles; and as posted earlier gas for your grill because the propane dealers will sell out fast; cans of tuna fish; make sure you have a manual can opener; we also have battery operated fans; battery operated tv/radio; propane camping lamp with propane cannisters; matches. Last but not least do as earlier suggested, fill up your car with gas, lines will start getting ridiculous so get it filled asap.
As the storm gets closer there will be lots more panic, etc. so best to get all of your supplies early and then sit and wait. Even if you are not in the eye of the storm sometimes the bands are even worse, especially on the eastern side of the storm, bands there are usually the heaviest. Needless to say if you have seen the news lately while Fay was only a tropical storm it caused severe flooding across the whole state of Florida since it sat here and stalled. East coast in places received over 33" of rain.
Looks like Gustav is going to be major so you need to take it serious and get your emergency plans in order. Stay Informed, but above all Stay Safe.
To paraphrase a line from the movie The Graduate, one word, just one word, no it's not plastics, it's ICE. This is assuming you have everything else in order. Way back in 19 and 83 after Alicia in Houston, I was on the southeast side and got the eyewall, never the eye, sustained winds 95 plus. All the old oak trees were down, no water 7 days, phone 10 days, power 2 weeks. Did not miss the phone at all. It's 95 degrees the next day, and cold drinks are wonderful when cleaning up debris. Sounds crazy, but I got steaks and charcoal the day before and ate well for a couple of days.
re: James Cristinian
For us up here (I live in Montréal) ICE has a very different meaning, as the most recent dangerous storm was the great ice storm in western Québec and Eastern Ontario. Ice could have been picked from any balcony. And had to be, to prevent collapse. Like our Acadian cousins in Louisiana, we have metal balconies with wrought iron balustrades...
Firstly, good luck and godspeed to all the people in Gustav's path in the US Gulf area and the Caribbean - it has already killed many people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic - there is a huge Haitian community here so that is a general concern. Of course we also hear of the threat to New Orleans and nearby regions and wish them not to re-experience Katrina...
Since the ice storm a lot of us have been careful, even in the big cities of Montréal and Ottawa, to always have at least some tinned fish or other protein and water laid in. Yeah, cat food too, but he can also eat the tinned fish.
A little Chinese catering stove can be nice for essential cooking.
Alkapal, I agree with wine. Ideally good, but even some decent boxed stuff.
If you have a little butane stove or other kind of non-electric stove, making espresso in a small moka pot or Melitta filter coffee will not take any more energy than instant. And you can use it for a lot of the foods mentioned here. I hate instant oatmeal (too spoiled by real Irish or Scottish porridge) and a lot of it is full of sugar - do you really want a dental emergency? but couscous, bulghur etc are nutritious and actually partly cooked.
I've neglected to buy one of those wind-up radios first invented for the African bush but must do so as they are the most dependable thing. We got constant info from Radio-Canada/CBC.
What I don't understand is why everyone waits until there is an emergency to get their stuff in order?????--doesn't make sense to me. We always have a stock of canned food, pasta, rice, etc. and also candles, propane and lamp oil(and lamps). We always keep at least 15 gallons of water because we are on a well that needs electricity. Ice storms are common here and power can be out for 1 or 2 weeks and the roads totally impassible.
My suggestion is to do a good pantry with canned chicken, tuna, crab, clams, soups; and vegies such as green beans, corn, mushrooms; a good supply of whole wheat pasta, rice and for us wild rice. Ramen noodles are a great thing for emergencies because they don't take long to cook. Don't forget treats! We also have a freezer full of meat and vegies (and have a generator).
Don't forget things like toilet paper, paper towels. If you do a bit each time you shop, you can have a stocked pantry. When stuff is on sale, buy a bunch.
I am with you, get the water and other goods in before the panic. I start buying 2 for 1s from about March onwards and by the time hurricane season is here (south Fl) we could live on tuna salad on crackers for weeks, cereals and long life milk, canned fruit etc. I always have an extra bag of dog food for the pups. Wilma left us without power for 8 days and we did fine.
so much already here, but a few other things...
TJ's sells these pre-cooked rice dishes in pouches - jambalaya, mexican, and another flavor that are ready to eat and/or heat out of the pouch and shelf stable; there are other similar products made by Uncle Ben's in brown, white, chicken, etc. There's another brand maybe Annie's (?) that makes white sushi rice and brown sprouted rice that is shelf stable and cooked - comes in a round dish like package.
You might also buy some instant oatmeal that you can add hot water to and revive.
Dry cereal to munch on in a high fiber or simply a dessert-ier flavor
if you can use your outdoor burner to make pancakes, you could buy shake it up Bisquick
Canned beans and some dressings, those that come in the individual pouches, to make bean salads.
Couscous that revives in five minutes with hot water
Other munchies like granola or granola bars, nuts, dried fruits, and why not some good dark and white chocolate :)
I just buy stuff I like whatever the weather. Gradually use and replenish as needed. Canned goods you don't like may sit around till they're soggy when you open them (they won't spoil, of course, but will suffer in textture). If you're wondering about MREs, these may seem like a godsend when you're tired and hungry and tullets are flying past your head. But I've tried a number, out of curiosity, and only the ham passes muster. The ham, however, is quite good.
MRE = Meal, Ready to Eat - which are military rations/meals. I'm prior service but I remember it having a main, a side, crackers, seasonings like salt and pepper, jelly, peanut butter, or some kind of spread, dessert, a flameless heater, towlette, chewing gum, water proof matches, and some kind of powdered drink. But it could vary depending on the MRE you had. My favorites were ham and beef stew.
My ex-husband is a former Marine and I was Army so we always kept a supply of MREs on hand. I still do this and it's all I can do to keep the kids from going into the stash and gobbling them up. My 12 year old son thinks they're much "cooler" than lunchables.
I've done some research on MREs and other military rations. A good resource for MRE info is.... well, http://www.mreinfo.com
They actually have the entire menu list for all MREs going back to the first ones made in 1981 (can you dig "Pork Pattie FD [freeze-dried] 1.2 oz"??)
There are civilian versions of MREs, too. Most use the same components that go into the military version since they're produced by the same contractors!
The last time a storm left me without power & water I had done everything that has been mentioned. The one thing I forgot was to grind my coffee beans! That one omission made the first day much more difficult than it should have been for me!
Only thing not yet mentioned yet is to refill prescriptions that might run out.
Edit: This year I have added some of the flavored tuna items. The Bumble Bee Sensations aren't bad and the flavor variety is nice after several days of canned stuff.
a generator. gasoline. to run fridge and tv, radio, basic lamps.
battery-powered multi-tasking lamps/lanterns.
super-duper insulated ice chest (or two). ice. water (obviously).
beer. cold beer.
(did i say good wine?)
oh, and little individual packages of mayo and shelf-stable half-and-half creamer pods. plastic utensils, paper plates.
after charley hit us in n. ft. myers, i wanted coffee! so, maybe a grill with gas or charcoal/wood to fire up the camp stove and coffeepot.
All of alkapal's,and even more shelf stable dairy.Neighbors,joint efforts take away some the sting.
At least two over-rated heavy duty (50') extension cords,dedicated to your freezer/frig/micro-wave/coffee maker use.Some sort of candle "powered"re-heat thing,for coffee,soup etc.
The last time we and our neighbors had a large outage,there was no doubt it would be long.We shared generator time for freezers etc.Took turns making coffee,Mellita and Chemex are god sent if you have a gas stove.POT LUCK,
One uplifting,imaginative soul in the group had a "PLAN".ice cream first,then a long chainsaw clean-up party,check on all neighbors and pets.Organise a Whiskey Party,before ice became too much of a hassle or luxury.Do not let
yourself down if avoidable.This fellow was in his late 70's,bossed,fussed and conned ALL into doing this "WELL".It is now ten years later and all of us are getting together for a TENTH REUNION.The guest of honor is now 88,still as bossy as ever.The only catch up that was huge 12 days later was laundry.
Dan, ya gotta love gulf coast livin'. Here we are almost on the third anniversary of Katrina, and we're staring another one in the teeth...the latest projections have Gustav tracking into the north central gulf for Monday. Oh joy for all of us in south Louisiana...but back to the food part of your question: start cooking now. It sounds strange, but you need to fill up your freezer, as a full freezer lasts longer in the cold state without power than an empty freezer. Those "experts" tell you to fill up containers with water to fill it completely, but I say why not fill it with easy-to-reheat food? If you're marooned for days and days without power (been there, done that), a nice hot "real" meal is great for morale. And you just might end up feeding volunteers, or National Guardsmen, or the local volunteer fire department. If you don't already have a big ice chest/cooler, go get one. Start making extra ice in your ice maker (or in plastic tubs in the freezer--block-style ice lasts longer) and you won't need to brave those long lines at the stores. Fill empty bottles with tap water---no need to use the expensive bottled stuff for washing hands, clothes, floors, etc. oh, and make sure you have a good manual can opener and an extra propane tank. You'd be amazed at what you can learn to cook on a grill. Water is the most important thing to stockpile--calories last longer than you think, but water doesn't.
Cook a big pot of red beans (or your favorite legume), divide into smaller containers & freeze. You'd be amazed at what you can learn to cook on a grill. Buy an extra dozen eggs and hardboil them; they make for easy breakfasts or egg salad sandwiches. Get a loaf of sandwich bread--normally I can't stand supermarket sliced bread, but that stuff has amazing staying power & will keep for a week (the good stuff goes stale so quickly). Get your favorite granola or cereal bars. Buy 5 lbs of potatoes--they keep well at room temp, you can make boiled/mashed/roasted with that burner/grill, and they're filling and comforting (same goes for sweet potatoes). Buy a few apples--bananas go bad quickly in the heat. Make some turkey or beefburgers and freeze individually wrapped--they'll be ready for the grill. If you don't have a french press coffee pot and you're a coffee junkie, get one of those; it is hard to go cold-turkey off of coffee when you're dealing with everything else.
If you have to evacuate, you can fill your cooler with cooked, frozen food in lieu of ice. When you arrive at your destination, you'll have "real" food, either to share with your hosts or to microwave at your Motel 6. I've always found that it's easier to find shelter if you tell potential hosts, "and I'm bringing a big batch of whatever". By emptying out your freezer before you leave, you're also saving yourself the potential trauma of cleaning out a fouled fridge when you returned (trust me on this one, I still have dreams about the smell).
The most important thing you can do is to check with your neighbors. Find out who plans to stay, who's going where, get emergency phone numbers, and ask what sort of supplies they have. If you do stay, try to get spare keys--you may be stuck for a long time with no outside support/supplies, and you can "shop" at the houses in your neighborhood (pay 'em back by cleaning their fridges, or yards, or whatever). Better that you eat their whole beef tenderloin on day 4 of your ordeal rather than having it putrefy and ruin their Sub-Zero. Plus, if they're staying too, you may need them in ways you haven't begun to imagine. Find out who has first-aid skills, who has a gun, who has a generator, who has a gas stove (somehow we never ever lose gas service), who has a boat/sea-doo, who is a reserve sheriff's deputy---if I sound as though I'm planning for "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome" it is because I've been there and back. At various points, food will be the least of your worries.
And if you want a cookbook, try The Storm Gourmet by Daphne Nikolopoulous.
I'm loving all these ideas. Besides things already mentioned I was thinking alfredo sauce, canned hormel/wolf chili, garlic, ginger, chili powder or dried chilies, canned and roasted green chilies, soy sauce, etc. I also always have in my pantry a product made by goya that I find in the hispanic section of the grocery store it's ham flavored concentrate. I use it to make my refried beans without the calories but you could use it for soups or whatever.
danhole we live in the same city. Take care.
You know I am not a stick your head in the sand type of person, so I try to keep a supply of batteries, candles, portable radios, and TV (until they pass that damn digital law). We also have 3 grills in our backyard, one is gas and the other 2 are charcoal. I have a couple old pots that are perfect for cooking on a grill. We have propane, and some very large containers that I can fill with water. If I think a storm is coming I start stockpiling ice from the ice maker, putting it in large zip up bags and stuffing our freezers with them. Another thing I have found that keep the freezers nice and cold are fill large plastic bottles with water, 3/4 full, and put that in the freezer. And I do have a couple of ice chests that I can fill up. It is just the food that baffles me, because the DH is so picky! Before Eduardo, which fizzled for us thank heavens, I had bought some canned chicken, which he turned his nose up at. Since everyone has given me so many good ideas, I may make a big batch of chili, and portion it out in the freezer. I'm not sure about the shelf stable meals, but I will look at them and see if I can find something he might eat. I am really easy to feed, so I could live off our pantry for a couple weeks. I had not thought about potatoes, but that is a great idea. Putting that on the list for sure.
We went through Alicia back in '83. We live in Oak Forest - need I say more? Trees down everywhere. No water, power, phones. It took us 2 weeks before we regained power, but the water wasn't near as bad, since we lived in an apartment complex with a pool. Lots of neighbors and we all joined ranks and did what we could. Had some really odd meals, but we survived. Of course I had a toddler back then, so we traveled from one family to another for the sake of the child. (yeah, right, blame it on the kid!) We have also survived some freaky tornadoes, floods and just about every time there is a strong storm we lose power, because of the over abundance of trees around here! We don't have neighbors we can really rely on at this point, because they are mostly elderly, and their families come and whisk them away!
Tlegray - I have my canned chili stocked already, and plenty of hot dogs and sausages for the grill. I'll have to look for that Goya Ham concentrate. You take care as well. You, too, James! Hopefully this will skip us, but I hope it doesn't hit Louisiana, again!
Thank you --we need all the hope & prayers we can get, on this anniversary week of Katrina. I also forgot to mention that you should cook a big pot of rice while you still have power--fried rice is easy to make in a skillet/wok on the grill, and it stretches a long way to feed many people.
re: Hungry Celeste
i ate for four days my leftover "porcupine" meatballs (rice-studded, y'all -- not the critter....) with sauerkraut after hurricane charley. it sustained me.
wouldn't a huge wedge of cheddar cheese be good (wrapped in a vinegar-dampened cheesecloth)?
now with all the pouch seafood, things should be easier. i read recently where the us govt is buying up lots and lots of freeze dried meals. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.ph...
re cooked rice, i heard that goes bad quickly. it is easy enough to cook each time you need it.
a wee bit ot, but they're selling a garage door opener now that (i guess) operates off a battery back-up during power failures.
Thanks everyone! This reminds me to check my own supplies. When the tsunami hit Asia and there was talk about whether or not California would be hit, my mom packed 5 gallon Supply buckets for each family memeber. She packed:
hand crank radio
first aid kit
pencils and writting tablet
Now, my question is, when should I rotate the water and meal bars?
the cheddar might get oily, but it wouldn't *have* to be kept on ice. tastes better room temp (but that is *usually* cooler -- and drier -- than post-'cane temp & humidity.)
for those who don't know, it is like living in an ant-swarming, steam-bath-spa for many days. (the storm stirs up all sorts of critters -- including those bleeping fireants. (note to OP: get lots of isopropyl alcohol, pain-killing neosporin, alcohol prep-pads (individually packaged), and that benadryl spray to kill itching. )
because between the ants biting the hell out of your feet and legs, you have to clean up the yard's broken limbs, blown-off roof tiles, broken glass/ceramics, rotten timbers, or worse. like inside, falling ceilings and collapsing drywall.) (note to OP, add heavy duty leather yard gloves with high cuffs, for cleanup, like the ranch/farm gloves in the upper left corner here: http://www.ccmac.com/)
also, add baby wipes and cottonelle http://www.cottonelle.com/product_wip...
so, one can feel "fresh as a daisy" in the aftermath of disaster -- even without lots of clean running water.
dani, on the lighter side (;-P) i'll get that recipe for you. it is tremendously popular with all -- even those who don't typically *like* sauerkraut. p.s., how were the el tiempo fajitas? mr. alka is in houston till saturday....pps, i forgot YOU were the op. ha ha!
Amen to the basic cleaning & first aid supplies. Don't forget the bleach--it is vital in the aftermath of a flood, when you can't trust the potability of water out of your faucet and when you need to think about sanitation. It can be helpful to put a capful or two in your rinse water for dishes, esp if you are using collected rainwater or suspect tap water.
These are all great suggestions, and I think i will print out this thread and take it with me when I shop this afternoon. Im stocking up on the canned goods/water, too. And Thanks to alkapal for reminding me about those f***ing fire ants ... I will treat all their favorite places with poison TODAY.
Id like to think I can deal with a few days away from the computer and electricity, but I know I would miss my air conditioning. Ugh ...
Dani - don't forget I have a pool if you guys find yourself needing water. And dont forget to fill your car with gas and get some cash from the bank -- ATMs dont work without electricity either! (learned this during Tropical Storm Allison)
This situation has been discussed before and deserves repitition as needed.
There was a suggestion recommending cheese. Brilliant.
Alkapal, I could exist happily for an extended period on decent cheddar, dry salami, good dills and crusty loaves. Sauerkraut and pickled hot-pepper thingies would keep me there long after any crisis subsides.
Buried in the thread I posted above is a reference to cash, "As soon as the lights die, so do all POS terminals, debit and credit machines, and ATMs. Keep a cash stash on hand and immediately head to the nearest Mom and Pop variety for essentials - chain stores are completely paralyzed."
Many good reco's here, plus the reminder to cycle out the stuff that was not used the last 2 summers, if it's not too late. I noticed 6 jars of pasta sauce in my emergency pantry that are 2 years old- Bertolli and Newman's, most are past the recommended "eat by" date.
Danhole, another practical item that I don't think has yet been mentioned is the little one- pound canned danish hams. One is apt to refrigerate them, but the label states "needs no refrigeration until opened". Certainly a safe meat/protein item, after the cooler of ice has melted.
My friends in Tampa/St.Pete tell stories analagous to alkapal's about the sweltering living hell 4 years ago, when they were without power for 7-10 days. (I've been here 3 years). They persuaded me in short order to buy a fairly large generator and keep a week's worth of fuel, which I did/do. It makes many of the other issues go away, provided that man and machine survive the storm. I have a 6000 BTU window unit AC for my bedroom, still in the box, and the capacity to run the AC, fridge, microwave, lights, stereo, TV for a week. The 5500 watt generator was $660.
Peanut butter and cheese& crackers can tide one over for a couple days, but preparations for 10-14 days with no external assistance is more complex and more expensive, but I judge to be essential. I have elderly neighbors who would be deer in the headlights, and I'm ready to help. Let's hope for a halcyon season.
Oh, and my friends said have plenty of beer on hand. They had little else to do for a week but drink beer, FWIW.
Boil-to-reheat Indian Food
Instant oatmeal / grits
Pouch meat / seafood
Shelf stable milk/juice
Junk food (chips, candy, etc)
A camping shower
Hand crank radio
Board games/cards/ puzzles, etc
A teapot (one pot heated on the grill makes a french press of coffee and a serving of oatmeal)
If you have a generator:
Portable Electric Burner
No power for 10 days after Wilma. My kit has improved markedly since then.
A telephone that is NOT wireless - a actual old fashion plug-into-the-wall-phone.
When the power goes out, so does your wireless.
A way to re-charge your cellphone. Some hand crank radios have plugs or car adapter.
Do ALL your laundry so you don't run out of clean clothes if the power is out for an extended time.
Fill all the bathtubs. You can bucket-flush the toilets and use that for washing hands and dishes.
Get cash. ATM machines go down if power goes out or run out of money. Credit cards didn't work for months after Katrina.
While helping my elderly great aunt (in her 90’s at the time) to move do a different place in Maine, my mom came across a stack of tinned sardines in the cabinet. “These can be donated or tossed, you hate sardines.” My aunt said they were for emergencies. “But you HATE sardines!” Aunt expressed that this way she was not temped to eat her emergency rations and could always be sure they would be there in the event of extended power outage, storm, etc. I guess she has a point, but I can not imagine having to go through that and have to gag down sardines too. (I can’t stand them either.)
My supplies run similarly to those others have listed. Canned chili and many Progresso soups are good at room temperature if need be. Some of the snow and ice storms we get here do not easily lend to cooking outdoors.
I don't think any of those things would have helped me after Katrina when I was without power and water for about a week after the storm before finally leaving town. The helping people part I did, but the rest, you can throw out the window if you find yourself in a situation like that.
I think lack of water is a big factor in terms of staying in place or needing to leave. We were without power for a week after Fran in '96 and again in '02 due to a massive ice storm, but had water both times so home was still inhabitable. Most of the tips in the blog are common sense for any prolonged "unplugged" time. I do wish we'd thought to wash all of our clothes before Fran hit...
The lack of water was the kicker. I had lots of water in containers for drinking, but when I needed to use it to flush the toilets etc it started to dent my supply. The lack of power was no big deal, had gas to cook on when things started to defrost. When I managed to get out of town and went up to Baton Rouge to stay with a friend, he had no power for another week or so, but had water so it wasn't that bad.