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Hurricane Sandy Food

In light of how unprepared we were for last year's storm and three weeks worth of power outages, this year we're all set if Hurricane Sandy (Arf!) makes its way to Connecticut.

Make ahead food to have on hand and keep in the cooler: Beef Stew, Chicken Noodle Soup, Italian Sunday Gravy with Chicken, Meatballs and Sausage.

Also have set:
- Canned/shelf stable provisions
- Peanut butter and peanut butter filled crackers, flatbread
- Apples, oranges, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, celery
- Boxes of shelf stable packaged milk
- A few Boy Scout MRES (only as a LAST resort)
- Tons of dry/canned cat food for the wee ones
- Bottles of tap water filled for drinking/cooking
- A rainbarrel of water for sanitary/cleaning and toilet flushing
- Several bags of ice and frozen blocks of ice, will use in our coolers to keep perishables fresh
- Flashlights, lanterns, candles, batteries, matches, crank radio, firewood
- Air mattress in case we need to sleep in our living room, heated by our fireplace
- An extra battery for my cell phone in case my existing one dies out and I can't recharge it right away
- We have a propane grill (refilled the propane tank), charcoal grill (new bag of charcoal), and a Colman gas camping grill.
- Beer and wine. Why suffer in agony.

Any other ideas or tips?

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  1. Waterless hand sanitizer would reduce your need to use water for washing.

    A rifle & ammo - it's almost deer season, right? And you'll keep those pesky looters at bay, if it comes to that ;-)

    ETA: "dry/canned cat food for the wee ones" - your kids are gonna love that!

    1 Reply
    1. re: PrawoJazdy

      Feed catfood to the children? Shoot the neighbors?

    2. Speaking from lifelong experiencew/ many hurricanes, living on Long Island/North Fork(now in Seattle)Fill up your car gas tank in case service stations have no electric.
      Likewise get cash from ATM in case no electric.
      Also car charger for cell phone is very helpful.
      Go to dollar store and stock up on personal 'cleansing' wipes too.
      And yes.....LOTS of wine!!
      Will be following storm here in Seattle as all family on East Coast,Maryland,NY,Eastern LI,Vt,
      NH and Cape Cod. Good Luck!

      2 Replies
      1. re: grangie angie

        Cash and booze- can't have too much of either.

        1. re: Berheenia

          Don't forget cheese! 1.Cash 2. Booze & 3. Cheese. :)

      2. Back in 2005 we went for 4 weeks without power, and dealt with some extensive flooding due to multiple hurricane strikes, it sucks...

        Have enough goods on hand to last for couple of weeks, and prepare for rationing. Also make sure you have enough propane to last that long also.

        Chainsaws, axes, hatchets, shovels, and saws to help clear felled trees
        Sandbags, tarps, and a roll of tar paper (for roof damage)
        Extra sets of work gloves
        A few hundred dollars in cash
        If you live in the sticks, get a pellet gun, or a .410 shotgun, or a .22 caliber rimfire rifle for for rabbits and squirrels (eat rabbits, and save your canned goods).
        Plenty of iodine for water purification.
        A couple of big bottles of Listerine for antiseptic use.
        Ace bandages for cuts
        Plenty of extra bottles of aspirin and ibuprofen
        Also be ready to clear the perishables your fridge when the power goes out.
        A good battery backup and freshly charged spare batteries for your PC, laptop, or phone.

        2 Replies
          1. re: magiesmom

            When I lived in Miami back in '92, we did.

        1. It never hurts to be prepared but since there is not much else going on in the news besides the election the media are centering on Sandy. And of course the weather people have their jobs to worry about. They have gotten progressively worse over the last few years. All those weather chasers over the last couple years have them scrambling. Their job is to "incite". But god speed with you just in case.

          8 Replies
          1. re: miss_belle

            Some great tips, thanks. Miss Belle you never know. But last year we were without power for three weeks. If this passes by and misses us, great.

            1. re: TrishUntrapped

              Trisha - you must live inland CT. My family is on the coast so it varied from 2 days to 1 week without. Regardless, hope it misses y'all up there..:-)

              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                I would think you'd have bought a generator then. that's what people have done here.

                1. re: magiesmom

                  My cheap, er I mean um frugal, Yankee husband thinks it's crazy to buy a generator when power outages are so rare. And in fact they are. In the 30 some odd years we've lived in Connecticut, we've had like three outages, and except for last year, they weren't long at all. ;-(

                  1. re: magiesmom

                    Areas that aren't served by natural gas have to use gasoline-powered generators and with them come new problems. If electricity is down in the region then the gas stations can't pump gas even if they have it, and my family member's generator uses ten gallons a day. This means constant driving and scouting looking for gas to keep the system running. Still, better than the alternative.

                    1. re: Querencia

                      The wealthy folks have built in generators which operate automatically off propane. My in laws have a portable gasoline operated one. My main concern is that if we lose power and our basement floods, our sump pump won't work. And yes, that scares me. We have our washer, dryer and water tank elevated a bit but not our furnace. Just got a call from our town saying if we have family outside the storm area to go there. I'm a newspaper editor/reporter and I will be working throughout this mess.

                      Going to the store now to get more protein bars and fill up the gas tank.

              2. I was at the store today to stock up on food for Sunday's weekly football extravaganza. I didn't get a single stinking thing to prep for a possible power outage, though, and I live smack on the Jersey Shore where the darned thing is supposed to land.

                We will have leftovers of lasagna, sausage/peppers, and salad from football. We also have loads of pasta, frozen marinara sauce, frozen chicken/beef/pork, rice, canned stock, etc. Our grill has a side burner to boil water and I've gotten pretty adept at cooking even things like macaroni and cheese on the grill over the years. (don't ask) We do have a generator so we will be able to keep our fridge and freezer on for as long as we have fuel for it anyway.

                As far as water goes, I'll fill some of the large 2 and 5 gallon water jugs that we have as well as the Brita pitcher, my Klean Kanteens, etc. There are only 2 of us here so we will have plenty of water, as well as other things like soda, club soda, and, ahem, cold beverages.

                We do have a few bags of ice in the basement freezer, plenty of cat/parrot food, and lots of candles. We should be good if we lose power aside from the showering issue.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Njchicaa

                  When the hurricane watches hit us down here, we usually load up our freezer with perishables before the storm hits. All of the extra food in the freezer will keep it colder, for longer.

                  Anything we can't freeze, we usually throw a party and serve it up before the storm hits. By the time the storm hits, our fridge is usually empty except for bottles of water, beer, and my wife's cranberry juice.

                  If you can afford one, you could buy a propane powered refrigerator (an absorption refrigerator), or if you know someone who is mechanically inclined, you could have them strip one out of an old motor home.

                  Also for showering, my wife and I both used baby wipes while we were over in the sandbox during our time in the Army. So pick up plenty while you still can...

                2. We already have over a dozen gallons of bottled water on hand, & always have the usual flashlights/radio, etc. on hand. I also always have easy stuff that I can make on our 2-burner propane camp stove - eggs, bacon, canned turkey chili, turkey hot dogs, pasta, etc., etc. Actually, there aren't very many good things I can't make on that cute little 2-burner propane camp stove (during our last storm I turned out a damn good "Turkey Piccata" on it - lol!).

                  I'll be adding a couple more 70-quart muck tubs to horse stalls tomorrow that will be filled before the storm hits, & outdoor 100-gallon troughs will be filled to overflowing too, so no worries if we lose power & thus can't use our well.

                  Other than that, instead of the usual mad rush for bread, peanut butter, & toilet paper, I'll be buying some nice wines, cheeses, & other snacks so hubby & I can enjoy whatever degree of storm hits in style. :)

                  1. Have prescriptions filled.

                    If you are a coffee drinker remember to grind some beans ahead of time!

                    I like having a smaller cooler to keep items accessed frequently and items needed for the day. Larger coolers or fridge with dry ice stays cold longer with limited opening.

                    Make ahead things which are easy to work into quick meals include hard boiled eggs, bacon, rice, meatloaf, corn bread and brownies just to have brownies!

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        Good one! Extra credit to you ;-D

                        If no one will be home during days without power, before the storm, put into your freezer a tightly-sealed jar containing an ice cube. Do not open fridge or freezer during an outage. If the power comes back while you're out of the house, the state of the ice cube will tell you if the temp was above 32F long enough for frozen foods to thaw. After the 2011 Halloween storm I did not touch the fridge at all during the 104 hours without power. The freezer compartment was very full. The only thing that spoiled was an already-opened container of cream that wouldn't have lasted even if the power stayed on. Potstickers in the freezer thawed slightly so that they stuck together when they refroze, but nothing frozen spoiled.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Be safe everyone.

                          What a great tip about the ice cube.

                          A good can opener!

                          It's probably too late for this one as most everyone is probably already stocked up, but I love all of those wipes Clorox wipes, Diaper Wipes, all of that kind of stuff, for cleaning up so you can reserve your water for drinking and other essentials.

                          And if you've got babies and toddlers, don't forget formula, that just-add-water or formula Gerber rice cereal. Jars of baby food.

                          Powdered milk is always great to have on hand. Various kinds of jerky.

                          Know where your water main is... your gas line... etc.

                          Spare eyeglasses.

                          Phone numbers and addresses of your loved ones in case your cell phone goes dead and you don't have access to that kind of stuff.


                      2. I was talking to my mother about this earlier today. She is well prepared except on the caffeine front. I suggested making some iced tea, buying instant coffee just in case they are without power for extended periods of time. They lost power for a week last year and were most upset about that.

                        1. Two must haves:

                          manual can opener that works
                          kitchen matches that will strike easily (some that are sold nowadays are nearly useless)

                          Other things:
                          Can you get your car out of your garage if the power loss affects your automatic garage door opener?
                          Meat can be hard frozen in blocks of ice and it will last a lot longer than in bagged crushed ice
                          Clean your house, your clothes and yourself before power loss is possible.

                          Good luck.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: shallots

                            I'm with you on the clean clothes thing. I will be doing all of my laundry tomorrow and my husband will on Sunday. It is just stupid to not have loads of clean clothes on hand if you are expecting to possibly lose power for a long period of time.

                          2. Living on the gulf coast has taught me the most important thing is the generator and enough gasoline to keep it going for at least a week. The second thing is a 110 volt a/c unit. You can conserve the fuel by not running the generator constantly, only a few hours at a time to keep the food in the freezer frozen. Don't have to run the generator all night unless you need it to run the a/c to sleep. If the power is not running do not open the fridge. Fill all empty space in the freezer with containers filled with water, the blocks of ice will help to keep the colder temp. A full freezer stays cold longer. If you get lucky and don't need the gasoline for the generator, you can always use in the car or lawnmower later. Simple foods that can be eaten un-cooked, like cheese, salami, crackers, peanut butter, can or bagged tuna, fresh and canned fruit.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: DBinNOLA

                              Larger containers of water can take well over a day to freeze. If you are planning on creating your own ice blocks, do it NOW.

                              This afternoon I made hard-cooked eggs and a casserole dish of baked beans with sliced hot dogs mixed in. Both are things that taste okay at room temp. I divvied the casserole contents into portion-size containers and froze them. I'll put them, and some other things, into coolers on Sunday afternoon. I'm putting off buying bags of ice until then, and hoping it won't be sold out.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                ice is already sold out around here, greygarious.

                                1. re: magiesmom

                                  Happily, the Market Basket had an ample supply of bagged ice, and canned soup was on sale.

                                2. re: greygarious

                                  After reading the ice block suggestion this morning, I took out tupperwares, big and small, and filled them with water and put it both of my freezers....as many as I could fit. That was at like 8:30 this morning and they are now solid ice. Maybe I will empty the smaller ones into ziplocs and freeze some more water in tupperwares.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    I was thinking about things to eat at room temp, too. Also made hard-cooked eggs and some roasted beets to go with. Made a soup and a few curries, frozen into flat packages in freezer bags, so they can double as ice blocks before we eat them. Pre-cooked and froze some rice, noodles , and meatballs (I have jars of homemade tomato sauce) to keep the kids happy.

                                    Roasting a couple of chicken legs this afternoon since cold chicken tastes ok, too. If we are lucky and don't lose power, I'm all set - no cooking for a few days!

                                  1. I'm a couple blocks from the Atlantic here in Jersey and I've done the "nor'eastercaine" thing quite a few times before* (though, the possibility of snow mixed in this time is novel). My approach is simple:

                                    Some battery powered lights with extra batteries.
                                    Beer and tequila.
                                    The seltzer I always have around.
                                    And, if the power goes out, it's time to start thinning out all the excess in the freezer.

                                    Otherwise, my most important tip is this - Be cool and be safe. Everything else is just inconvenient.

                                    *Halloween '91 was the most memorable.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MGZ

                                      I haven't heard anything about snow around here. Just rain.

                                    2. Where I live we don't have hurricanes, but we have been snowed in and lost power for extended periods.
                                      I have one of those butane single burner's restaurants use for tableside cooking. I have extra cans of fuel. It is fun to cook or heat on it when there is no light.
                                      We have some "shake" flashlights that don't need batteries. I use those for all but reading, cooking, etc. For those we use bright LED or fluorescent lanterns. You can get those to last a long time.

                                      I will be getting one of those lanterns with a crank and usb ports so I can have light and charge the phone and kindle this winter if need be. I also have a dozen or more kindle cookbooks to read. If you have a backlit kindle (I have a kindle Fire) you don't need much room light.

                                      You could add pre-cooked bacon to your food list.

                                      Also have rope and duct tape.And make sure the first-aid kit is in good shape (and add ace bandages in case someone twists an ankle in the dark...).

                                      1. We lost power here in NJ 2 times last year - both times were within 9 weeks of each and we lost the power for over a week both times. When we lose the power, we also lose our sump pumps and our well water. After the second time, we decided we'd had enough and we installed an automatic gas generator. Yes, it was expensive, i'm grateful we could afford it, but the peace of mind is priceless. I also hurt myself pretty badly in an accident a few weeks ago and both of my feet are still healing. It would have really sucked to be worrying about losing the power on top of that, there really are no words for how relieved i am to know that my house will still function even if the power goes down. And I have almost no doubt whatsover that my area will lose power if this storm hits us the way they say it's going to.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                          Good for you flourgirl! I have a fractured knee...but hubby said no to the generator so I don't have peace of mind. ;-(

                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                            Well, it ended up thart we didn't lose power until wednesday and we got it back last nite. Still glad we had the natural gas gennie though. The gas lines have been horrific around here, (the governor of NJ just instituted gas rationing in several counties) and people with portable gas-powered generators have had a nightmare trying to get enough gas to keep them running. I'm really glad we filled our cars and got cash before the storm too.

                                            Several of my neighbors who though we were nuts for installing the gennie are now calling me asking for our electrican's number. Going without power and running water for almost a week or more really really sucks. Of course, I realize that there are whole lot of people who lost everything in this storm, and being without power for a while is a very trifling thing compared to losing your home or God forbid, loved ones to such devastation. I feel just awful for those people.

                                            Trish, how did you guys make out? And I am so sorry to hear about your knee - I never hurt myself like this before and it was a real eye-opener. I always thought I understood what people who were hurt like that were going through but I really had no idea. This whole experience has definitely made me a better, more empathetic person.

                                            1. re: flourgirl

                                              Glad you're ok flourgirl! Amazingly, this time we were spared. I don't know why as power was (and still is) out just further down my street. Because we had so much food, I cooked it up and brought it to our neighbors without power. I realized that if I asked anyone if they needed help they would say NO. After all, that is the Yankee way. So I just brought the food - hot ready to go. And it was very much appreciated and eaten. We also let them use our showers, washing machine/dryer. One neighbor said it made her "feel human" again. Day Six now for some still waiting for the lights to get back on.

                                              We dodged a bullet this time. I worked steadily throughout the storm posting storm stories on our website getting information to the public. Like the hokey pokey, that's what it's all about.

                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                I know, it made me feel better being able to help our neighbors. Lots of people taking showers, doing laundry, just hanging out in the heat and the light. Almost half of my neghborhood still doesn't have power. And it's getting cold now... My son's school is still closed Mon. & Tues., and they are shipping them all to another intermediate school on Wednesday if they still can't get the power back by than.

                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                  We finally got power in Rahway last night. Lost lots of frozen food we had stocked up on.

                                          2. Looks like everyone has pitched in and you should be able to get along well with this list. I'll give it another 2nd for filling your prescriptions and having at least 500 in cash on hand. Living on the Gulf coast in 2004 & 2005 taught me well...

                                            1. We used to also fill the bathtub w/ cold water and have a small pail(for flushing) just in case you're not on town water and have to rely on well water/pump to flush.
                                              Good luck!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: grangie angie

                                                Kitty litter, if your pets aren't strictly outside critters.

                                                Full gas cans, in case you have to evacuate (avoids long lines at the gas station).

                                                Bleach, bleach, bleach.

                                                A couple of good, heavy-duty thermoses so you can brew once and keep coffee hot all day (or night).

                                                Something, other than wine :) to keep y'all entertained, especially if you have kids. Card games, board games, good books . . .

                                                Water purification tablets are a good idea to keep on hand, unless you're planning to boil your drinking water if municipal supplies become contaminated.

                                                Passive solar camping shower if your water heater is electric, in case you lose power. Also can be used to heat up water for cleaning dishes.

                                                Heavy-duty shovel in case trash pickup is interrupted for a long time. (Alternatively, you could burn the garbage, local laws permitting).

                                                Peanut butter, beef jerky, roasted nuts, and canned foods. Dehydrated foods (like dried beans and skim milk powder) IF you have lots of water on hand to reconstitute.

                                                Should you have a baby in the household, diapers. Lots and lots of diapers. Also wipes.

                                                If you're going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, sunscreen and insect repellent. (Then again, I'm in Florida, where insect repellent is second nature!).

                                                If you have a lot of trees in your yard and suspect the storm will knock some down, a chainsaw is very handy, especially if they're blocking your vehicles and you need to get somewhere fast.

                                                Let us hear how y'all do!

                                              2. I have family in the middle of the storm bullseye so have been following other forums related to the forecast etc. The funniest post was from a young man who said his storm prep had been to buy ten sets of Edible Undies for his girlfriend and four cans of Redi-Whip.

                                                1 Reply
                                                  1. There are times when you need to have canned and jarred food around, and this is one of them. Looking on the bright side, it will make you appreciate your own cooking all the more. :-)

                                                    1. Mixed nuts,garlic stuffed olives ,black pitted olives,dried hard salami, Sliced smoked cheddar, sliced pretzel bread or bagget, veggies and dip (eat within 3 hours!), and other dried table snacks.No cooking,use paper and plastic dishes (all recycelable),can easily be restocked,goes great with beer,wine,or beverage of preferance.Pretend your watching Football.Foods out...Help yourself,and be happy!!Keep it simple.......Treet it like a party.There's enough to worry about when these damn things come through.Stay safe and good luck.

                                                      1. Was caught off guard twice last year, and without power for a week each time, vowed to be more prepared the next time. looks like the next time is headed our way, and we are as prepared as we can be. Laundry done, house as clean as its gonna get, heat pumped up while we have power, and a cord of wood bought and brought inside to stay dry and usable. 4 huge Poland springs containers and bath tubs filled so we can use the toilets, flashlights gathered on the outer, and gas cans full for generator, cars gassed up this morning, and cash on hand already. As far as food, got candy, homemade Chex mix, and various salty snacks. Also have lots of diet coke and water. Peanut butter and bread on hand, and bought a case of chef boyardee. (because although I can live on yummy snacks and junk food, the pre-teen boys need a bit more sustenance .) also all of my electronics are charged, and extra batteries are ready. Don't think there's anything left to do except lie down, eat some chips and French onion dip, and await the storm.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: sunangelmb

                                                          You sound like me. We have lots of bottled water and Diet Coke, peanut butter, bread, about a zillion bags of snacks, cereal, granola bars. I didn't bother with boxed milk because nobody here likes it....my husband and daughter would rather go without milk than drink it. So I bought 2 gallons of milk and hopefully it will get us through a few days. Plus orange juice.

                                                          My 6 year old son is the wild card. He doesn't eat peanut butter, granola bars, etc. And even if he ate soup (as in canned soup), my stove is electric so not really an option for us.

                                                          I just had an idea though. Tonight I am going to cook up a load of chicken fingers and keep them in the refrigerator. Even if (actually when) we lose power, they will last for a meal or 2 and my kids don't care if they are room temperature.

                                                          Oh, and we have TONS of Halloween candy, so if all else fails, there's always that...

                                                          1. re: valerie

                                                            We also have lots of peanut butter, Nutella, granola bars, snack bags, cookies, crackers.

                                                            Have a pot of butternut squash lentil soup on the stove, slow roasted tomatoes in the oven. Will cook a box of noodles to keep (dd wants noodles for breakfast, lunch, snack every day)

                                                            I have an unopened half gallon of milk and an opened gallon, both whole milk. Going out soon to pick up boxed milk. Once it's opened, does it have to be refrigerated? Am I better off buying the juice box size containers of milk? Just worried that we'll lose power and dd (19months) won't have her milk!

                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                              Yes, boxed milk needs refrigeration once opened, as do cans of evaporated milk. The juice-box packs are probably your best bet.

                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                Wasn't much of a choice when I got to the store. No refrigerated milk. There was one pack of juice box type packs in 2 percent. No bread either.

                                                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                  Even though I could never get my daughter to drink the boxed milk, I ended up back at the store tonight and I bought some almond milk. If all else fails, maybe she (or my husband) could use it in cereal.

                                                                  1. re: valerie

                                                                    Does the boxed milk have such a different taste? I wonder if she would notice it. Hopefully we don't have to use it.

                                                                    We have almond breeze in the fridge, and another box in the pantry. I do t care to drink it, but I like to bake with it

                                                        2. The only thing this Flordian recommends that I did not see on this thread already was an old school non battery operated telephone. We did not have a landlines for 4 weeks after Wilma and cellphones were unable reliable for a couple of weeks.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: ldkelley

                                                            I really wish that it could be explained what this is. I am only familiar with landlines and cellphones.

                                                            1. re: Astur

                                                              Ldkelley is talking about the kind of phone you have plugged into your landline. You want something like old fashioned AT&T princess phone that simply plugs into the phone jack and nothing else. If you have a cordless phone or something like that where the base needs to be plugged into the phone jack AND the electrical outlet, when the power goes out, your phone won't work.

                                                              THis kind of phone is important to have for all kinds of emergencies where you might lose power: earthquake, fire, snowstorm, hurricanes, you name it.


                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                My confusion was because he then goes on to mention that landlines didn't work. I thought there was an alternative to cell or landline phones and needless to say i was very interested!

                                                                1. re: Astur

                                                                  Oh, whoops, you're right. I have no idea then!


                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    I believe what he is saying is that if you only have cordless phones, your landline is useless is this scenario.

                                                            2. re: ldkelley

                                                              Yep, that's exactly what happened here. Cell phones were almost useless (mine just started working last night) and our cable went out too. Unfortunately, we get our phone service from the cable co. so we had no form of communication most of the time for several days - other than texting.

                                                            3. Have lived through the great power outage, and living in an area with no NG and an electrical feed that fails regularly for extended periods in the winter, I agree with all suggestions here.
                                                              The ice cube in the freezer is a good idea that we'll use from now on.

                                                              There have been several threads covering this on CH over the years.

                                                              I'd emphasize cash and a full tank of gas. Without power there is no gas or debit terminals. In fact, cell phones service is often unavailable.

                                                              water supplies and edible, non-perishable foods that don't need to be necessarily heated. fill your car with gas and for sure have a crank radio and sheker flashlight.

                                                              Our area has a high water table with a huge snowload that can be melting during spring power outages. Units like these are popular to keep sump pumps running:


                                                              For sure they're be cheaper in the states.

                                                              If you put a quilt or heavy blankets over you freezer you'll get more insulation. Filling bathtubs, laundry tubs and any open container you have with water will help cool your quarters in the winter and heat them in the winter.

                                                              No-one has mentioned old fashioned hurricane lamps. We picked uo a couple in a local Amish shop and they're great.

                                                              Good luck to you all.

                                                              1. After getting caught without power for a week after the derecho we are super prepared this time. We have 2 generators - one died during the last outage so we have it repaired plus our replacement, enough gas to run them for a week, extra cash on hand, full gas tanks in both cars, cleaned the house and washed ALL of the laundry. .

                                                                For food we cleaned out anything remotely sketchy in the fridge, stocked up on snacks, water and dog food (gotta feed the pets too), baked up a batch of brownies, roasted all our veg we had on hand, made a pot of marinara sauce, made a crock pot full of black beans, made salsa, roasted a bunch of chicken breasts and grilled a steak, purchased fresh bread, some sandwich meat, salad fixings and fresh fruit.. That should get us to the point where the storm ends. At that point we can use the grill or manually light the stove to keep cooking.

                                                                The bright side is that at least for this storm it won't be 85 in the house during the afternoon. :-) I'm really, really looking for a bright side.

                                                                1. Currently cooking meatloaves that can or will be broken down into other meals tomorrow, roasted veggies are next, then pasta. Been freezing containers for ice blocks all day, all other supplies seem to be good and accounted for. Strange thing is that though it hasn't been very windy here today (western MA) the landline is down. A short trip to the grocery store tmrw. morning should take care of all other details...best of luck everyone!!!

                                                                  1. Paper plates and plastic knives, forks, and spoons to avoid dishwashing: if your water is pumped by electricity from a well or up to an apartment, you can't wash dishes.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                      Absolutely. We have all our paper products out on the table. Last time I had to cart dirty dishes to a nearby church to clean them. Never again.

                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                        Bought lots of paper stuff, and Elmo plates too. Figured might as well make the best of it

                                                                    2. The storm is approaching. Good luck and safe passage everyone!

                                                                      1. I've always lived in hurricane prone areas. Being ready is just a slight extension from an already well maintained pantry.

                                                                        The majority of my preparations are non-food related - securing the exterior, $, gas, prescriptions, boards and sandbags at the ready, masking tape for windows, tarps, charged up tools & phones, fresh batteries, bleach wipes & wet wipes, disposable gloves, flashlights in strategic spots, lime, pet carriers out of storage, copies of insurance documents handy.

                                                                        My only last minute food prep is to fill water containers, have lots of ice and gel packs ready, grind coffee and cook off stuff in fridge. I also try to box together stuff needed by meal or by day. Easier to pull a box out of the fridge quickly than to gather all the items from various spots and loose cold air.

                                                                        I do keep an assortment of single serve condiments and shelf stable 1/2 and 1/2. They are handy for travel and camping too. If I am without power for several days I have sandwich accoutrements without worrying about safety.

                                                                        I find mini-cans of sweetened condensed milk at Hispanic markets in my area. One can will do for several cups of tea, especially nice with chai. I think Bumble Bee makes lunch packs of flavored tuna. They have lemon, Thai spiced and a sun dried tomato IIRC. If you cooked some rice or pasta shells ahead of time you can quickly make a main dish salad adding onion, celery, hard boiled egg plus the flavored tuna of your choice.

                                                                        Between always having a rotating assortment of prepared frozen stuff (soups, meat loaf, etc.) and a well stocked pantry I've always been able to eat fairly normally. I find being without power easier (unless it is beastly hot and muggy) than being without water.

                                                                        After each storm I update my prep list while things are fresh in my mind. I also note what needs to be replaced. After the last disaster I added respiratory masks to the list. The tornado damage created a tremendous amount of insulating material blowing about. The age of that part of town meant a good possibility of asbestos.

                                                                        Hope everyone stays safe!

                                                                          1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                            Completely unscathed in western MA, at least this town,which seems to have a magic bubble over it when it comes to bad weather....our thoughts and prayers go out to those who are feeling and dealing with the full effects of the storm!!!

                                                                            1. re: KSlink

                                                                              you may be in a magic bubble in Western MA, but we lost power for only 13 hours. YAY!

                                                                              1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                What's weird is that we lost power for a couple of hours in the middle of the day only, before things even got started around here.....

                                                                            2. re: jpr54_1

                                                                              We're fine in Queens - no loss of power, and luckily no damage to our building or car. Lots of downed trees in the neighborhood, though, and we're stuck here until the bridges are reopened and bus service is restored, which will happen tomorrow at the earliest, I think. I've got a quiche in the oven and we're considering a celebratory mimosa...

                                                                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                I am astonished, a half hour northwest of Boston, that the power remained on. Big trees around my house but only a few smaller branches fell, despite roaring winds. Possibly all the vulnerable branches and trunks came down in last year's Halloween snowstorm. Things had calmed significantly by 9pm but they were still predicting rain and gusts for today and tomorrow, so I left the iced food in the cooler. This morning I awoke to bright sun and a mild breeze.

                                                                                This experience was good practice, though. I now have a better idea what to buy and pre-cook when a power outage is likely. I expect more frequent weather crises as the climate changes and discount comments about this being a "hundred year" storm. So I am leaving the cooler food alone until the ice is no longer keeping it cold enough. i want to see, and take note, of how long that is, anticipating that the info will be needed in the coming years.

                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                  That's a great idea about seeing how long the ice will last!

                                                                                2. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                  In Brooklyn. Power is on and no flooding, at least in my area. Filling the freezer. Making breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lets see if husband can get into work tomorrow.

                                                                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                    my son and daughter-in-law in Waldwick(Bergen County), N.J. are ok
                                                                                    just a few trees down but NO electricity

                                                                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                      In central NJ, tons of broken branches and uprooted trees in Princeton area. We lost power 9pm last night, hanging out at a friend's house who has power, it was a scary drive (around 10 miles) with downed power lines and seeing trees leaning on the lines. But no flooding.

                                                                                      1. re: BeeZee

                                                                                        Some downed trees but basically no problems here in Astoria Queens. No flooding, power is on - even my containers in the garden weren't upended. Public transportation is suspended of course - not sure what we're going to do about going back to work since we both work in Manhattan where the power is out after the 14th St. Con Ed plant explosion. We were prepared though with camping lanterns, camping stove, bottled water, boxed milk, etc.- we learned our lesson after having lost power for three weeks in the July 2006 blackout.

                                                                                      2. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                        I'm so relieved to hear that everyone who has weighed in to this point is safe and seems to have experienced minimal flooding and damage.

                                                                                        And, yes, this has been a good learning experience, even for those of us outside of hurricane zones. I've been thinking seriously about what I need to do to prepare should we get socked in by a giant winter snowstorm or a tornado, especially the former now that winter is bearing down.


                                                                                        1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                          Here in Westchester Cty NY, our power was off from Mon night until yesterday. Thankfully we have a gas stove and the water was running so we were able to cook a bit and heat water for dishes, baths and coffee. Miserable, sure, but the village near us did not lose power, so we had access to fresh milk, chinese food, pizza, and the wine shop.
                                                                                          We had plenty of candles and flashlights leftover from Irene last year, so we managed OK.

                                                                                        2. Also glad to hear everyone's ok. Our power went off and on but mostly remained on and we're good. Several towns around us have no power at all, 100% still out. I've been working fervently on getting news out. My husband and I provided hot showers and hot meals to friends who are still in the dark. Will be a long night for a lot of people. In our yard, several large trees, one with a 16 inch diameter, were uprooted and ripped asunder. Otherwise all ok.

                                                                                          Towns on the coast of Connecticut had major flooding and damage, and a firefighter in Easton, CT was killed last night when a large tree fell on his vehicle. Very, very sad.

                                                                                          Bye bye pine tree

                                                                                          1. I was hoping people would check in!

                                                                                            Raleigh saw several dark, gusty days with rain but it wasn't enough to cause problems. We just caught the edge of the storm. The coast took a beating though.

                                                                                            1. In New York City, hundreds of thousands are still without electricity and the utility has said many of them won't get it back until the weekend - later when the power lines are above ground. Those Chowhounds may not be checking in because they can't. I have a friend on the 11th floor of an apartment building downtown, who's marooned because the elevators don't work and while he could go down the stairs to the street, he wouldn't be able to climb all the way up again. He was prepared for this, and as his phone is working I can check now and then to see how things are going. His major challenge is boredom, as the TV and computer aren't working; catching up on his reading, he says.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is still without power. Let's be good neighbors and help each other out during this time. If you know someone without power, don't ask if they want a hot meal...just bring it to them.

                                                                                                1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                  Here in Florida, I just load up on charcoal to cook with, and where I live we really don't get much. We had Charley, that's it. I never thought about no grill or anything in NYC. My thoughts go out to you. I was a kid on Long Island when Donna came and we went to Jones Beach during the eye, we were dumb, I still have a sweatshirt that my dad picked up from the beach. After we came home a power pole got blown onto our house and we were stuck in there for a few days.

                                                                                                2. Sigh, on the edge of losing the big freezer:(....otherwise all else is fine.

                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                                    Sorry to hear that. Perhaps you can find someone with power that can keep your items for awhile.

                                                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                      I don't think we've heard from NJChiccaa who said she was on Jersey shore since the storm either. Praying she didn't lose her house. So many are just plain gone!!

                                                                                                      1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                                        I hope all are well! We have our power back and freezer was at an unbelievable 12... I think all the frozen bags of water were a life saver, and whoever mentioned the ice cube trick, I tried it and my ice cube was in pretty perfect state. Best to all and thanks for all the good advice!

                                                                                                        1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                                          Oh I'm so glad!

                                                                                                          I hope NJChiccaa is okay...


                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            We're okay! Trees down, fence blown to bits, and power out for a day. We were VERY lucky. This area is devestated, destroyed, damaged beyond all belief. Streets are still impassable, power outages still widespread, traffic signals off or missing, etc. School is cancelled for next week already and my guess is probably the following week too. There are thousands of people in emergency shelters and more going in each day as they are removed from the barrier island.

                                                                                                            Has anyone heard from MGZ? He lives very close to the water I believe in the same general area.

                                                                                                            1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                              The son of one of colleagues lives in Hoboken. His cell phone went out and he can't recharge it and he can't get out of the area. My friend in turn has been told they can't go into Hoboken to get him. Mess!

                                                                                                              1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                We survived. It was bad, but life goes on. Just got power at studio, but still not at home. Seven inches of snow the other night was just insult to injury - washed away a lot of the mud in the neighborhood though.

                                                                                                                Appreciate the concern.

                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                  Glad you're ok MGZ! In hindsight would you have prepared any differently, or did you feel things were adequate?

                                                                                                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                    More tequila would have been nice.* Otherwise, I was able to eat out of the freezer. Had a pork belly defrost on me, so, I figured, "Let's make bacon." It wasn't too bad, but I think I can do better. All I had was cherry wood, so that may have been part of the problem.

                                                                                                                    Honestly, when your neighbors have water rush through their homes and cars, you're pretty grateful to have a roof (even if there are days on end with no power or cell phone service). There were a few places that set up shop to provide free food. They were working with grills and thought it pretty funny when I donated my supply of charcoal - I guess not everybody keeps 2 1/2 bags in the house all the times. It was good to see my little and pretty devastated hometown pull together.

                                                                                                                    *In classic Jersey Shore fashion, the liquor stores were the first to reopen - cash only and only during daylight hours.

                                                                                                    2. Remember Chef Madison Cowan, champion from Chopped? I follow him on Facebook and this is what he wrote today:

                                                                                                      "To ALL TV chefs in NYC: never mind your Goddamn restaurants in unaffected areas, let's link up & serve those most impacted by the Hurricane in Staten Island, Queens & New Jersey!l"

                                                                                                      One more reason I love this guy.

                                                                                                      1. My first time back on Chowhound since Monday. We are in lower Westchester and we still have no power. It went out Monday night at 6pm. I tried to load up my freezers with blocks of ice that I made in advance, but after 3 days, my freezers were a total loss. Note to self: when power goes out, get rid of cherry flavored Italian ices...my freezer looked like a crime scene!

                                                                                                        We are safe, our house is fine, though at a cool 56 degrees. Best estimates put our power back on in another week. But it could be so much worse...

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                                                          So sorry to hear you don't have power! I'm glad to hear you are safe and sound, hang in there, we are all thinking of you and hoping power comes back up soon!

                                                                                                          1. re: valerie

                                                                                                            I hope the power comes back soon. We're sending you warm vibes in the meantime.


                                                                                                            1. re: valerie

                                                                                                              Another week! That's awful! I just got a robot call voice mail from the power company thanking me for my patience but we only had a flicker and never lost power here in Brookline. Hope that you have some alternative housing available. The temp is dropping next week!

                                                                                                              1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                Thanks all. We were managing ok (fully charged iPhones and iPads helped!). We have been charging up the electronics wherever we go. We have been staying out of our house keeping busy and today we were able to get a hotel room that our friends were not using.

                                                                                                                The only thing in my freezers that I was really sad to lose was my homemade pesto! I make batches all summer long to pull out during the cold winter months. After a few days, I moved it to my one friends freezer who has power. Hopefully it survived a few days in my medium cold freezer before being transferred....time will tell.

                                                                                                              2. Glad you are ok Valerie. Power is gradually coming back. This too shall pass. Try to get out and do things to keep busy.

                                                                                                                1. Glad that the ice cube trick was helpful to some of Sandy's victims. As I mentioned already, the power never went out where I am (north of Boston) this time. I had bought two bags of ice and put them in the refrigerator compartment of the fridge. By Tuesday, I moved them into the cooler, because I wanted to know how long they would last. Only halfway through Wednesday - so no more than 3 days, for future reference.

                                                                                                                  After last year's Halloween storm, when there was no power for 104 hours, I bought a 3" screen TV that operates on 4 AA batteries. It was on Amazon, and was the only one I could find that did not have built-in rechargeable batteries, which would have done me no good at all. It has a good picture and works 2 hrs before needing replacement batteries (the built-ins I looked at also required recharging after 2 hrs). The antenna is VERY thin. I would not let children touch this TV.

                                                                                                                  1. Scroll down to the "Last Resort Risotto" for inspiration next time a power outage is in the offing.


                                                                                                                    1. So happy to be back on the grid, finally. Lost a lot of trees, our shed is probably damaged beyond repair, and our neighborhood still looks like a bomb went off (downed wires and trees) but we are all safe. Had to break out the chef boyardee after the 8th day powerless. Wasn't really able to cook, being that we have a well, and had to conserve water for toilets, not dish washing. Really thinking about rigging up my house with a generator switch. The gas situation got a little hairy though, so not sure that would help that much. It was cold, and I was thankful or bags of pretzels and candy. Oh, and firewood , lots and lots of firewood.