I grew up in Manila where raging tropical thunderstorms are the norm right after the summer months of April and May. Dealing with weather disturbances is part of growing up. This is what I did, and what I will continue to do for the next blizzard, hurricane or scheduled vampire attack.
Pro tip# 1 – BUY FOOD THAT NEEDS NO REFRIGERATION.
My pantry is generally stocked with the items above because they are my personal comfort food – it’s just lucky that they don’t require refrigeration.
My husband is not a fan of sardines, I am – but note that you can change this with other canned goods like tuna fish, corned beef, Spam, Vienna sausage, etc. If you want to make tuna fish sandwiches, just make enough for one meal, and if possible use mayonnaise packets because the ones in packets keep without refrigeration.
Ramen noodles! You can’t go wrong with those (see lower right hand corner of photo) because it’s always nice have warm soup in cold weather. I like this imported Nissin brand from the Asian supermarket, but get whatever you like. Also for the pancakes, they are the complete kind and you only need water to make them – no eggs or milk needed! Champ-o-rado is chocolate rice porridge, the great stuff that Filipinos love to eat during rainy days.
I always have rice and eggs on hand, and eggs can survive without refrigeration for a couple of days (this is debatable, btw – but if you keep it in a cold safe place, i think you’d be fine.)
Buy bread if that is your preference.
In short, buy anything you can cook stovetop or not cook at all.
Pro tip #2 – STORE WATER!
Seriously, while we see the panic buying of water in supermarkets – let me remind you that you can store water in food grade containers, reuse disposable water bottles and other beverage containers. If you don’t like drinking water out of the tap, at least you have water to cook your ramen noodles with.
I naturally go overboard with this. My husband has made it his mission to drink out of mason jars, so we always buy pasta sauce in mason jars. I’ve kept all the caps, and of course, I stored water in them, in the fridge! The water will be cold, and ready to drink! (ha!)
And contrary to what everyone does, i don’t fill the bathtub with water – because I NEED TO SHOWER, and I don’t have a separate shower stall. I emptied out my big plastic tubs and filled them with water instead. I’d keep them covered, so I can still shower and get the stored water dirty.
Of course, since the water is CLEAN, i can use it to “shower” by scooping up water and pouring over your head with a dipper/tabo/small container (see photo below). If you didn’t know it yet, this is how Filipinos take a “shower” or as we say “take a bath”. Some areas don’t have high water pressure, or worse no water at all and as a culture we cannot stand not taking a shower everyday. If you want to do it with a partner, hey why not? 😉
Photo Credit: Xinhua/Luis Liwanag
Pro tip #3 – COOK ALL PERISHABLES FIRST.
In the event of a power outage, and the assumption that you have frozen chicken or frozen pork – cook it first. The Filipino that I am, I would cook Adobo because I know that it keeps well without refrigeration (but in this cold, just let it sit by the window, duh?) and the longer you have it, the better the flavors get. This recipe does not require any water so we also hope that you have the other ingredients on hand. The best part about Adobo? FRYING IT AFTER IT IS STEWED IS AWESOME.
But of course – there’s barbecuing, frying etc. etc. Just cook the perishables first, that way you don’t have to worry about storing them.
Pro tip #4 – DO YOUR LAUNDRY!
I hate doing laundry like the rest of us, however – in anticipation of the loss of electricity and running water, YOU SHOULD HAVE CLEAN CLOTHES TO LAST YOU FOR DAYS!
Pro tip #5 – DO YOUR PART!!!
Don’t be the idiot who “doesn’t believe” in all the warnings. Don’t be the idiot who doesn’t have food because you think “somebody will deliver.” DO YOUR PART. People’s survival preferences vary, and while I may sound a bit overboard for some people, I know that I won’t be bothering people for help. BE HELPFUL, NOT HELPLESS.
- Know what you have on hand before panic buying at the supermarket.
- Get all your “analog devices ready” – regular non-cordless phones if you still have a landline, candles, flashlights and charge everything that needs to be charged.
- Don’t buy more than what you can consume in the next couple of days, when life goes back to normal – you might be throwing away a lot of food.
- If you are in an area that needs to be evacuated, just beg your friends and family who live in safe areas to take you – AND BRING FOOD TO SHARE. Make plans ahead of time.
- CASH IS KING. When the power is out, you can’t use your credit card and might not be able to withdraw, so take enough cash to get you through.
- It is not the end of the world, so relax. Use the time to clean, catch up on TV, especially sleep.
- Help others in need. Call your family to tell them you are okay.
- Drink moderately. Do the paramedics a favor and let them do their jobs attending to others.
Our little household of 2 survived on freshly baked cookies, freshly baked brownies, a roast chicken, mac and cheese, stir fried vegetables with beef, hotdogs, eggs, tuna fish sandwiches and rice. In times of miserable bad weather, have a feast!
What are your tips for surviving a major weather disturbance?