Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Finger Food

As Hurricane Sandy smacks down into the eastern seaboard of the United States, I can't help my overwhelming urge for finger foods. Snacky-snacks. Should I go out and buy chips and salsa? Should I make peanut butter cookies? Banana bread?

There's a rational reason behind this desire: should the power go out, I'd need foodstuffs that do not require heat to prepare or refrigeration to keep.

There's an irrational reason too: Hurricane Sandy is the best reality TV of the season. All consuming drama. Infinite outcome possibilities. Occurring in real time. With chance of interactivity should the storm reach where you live. This sort of drama needs snacks.

Or at the very least we can all tweet #HurricaneSandy again and again.

I thought that, seeing as I'm hunkered down in the Midwest, that the hurricane posed no issue for me. Then I saw the Weather Channel's map of "likely power outages" (not me) and "possible power outages" (holy crap, that's me!) and I decided it couldn't hurt to take a trip to the store, stock up on essential snack food, get some fresh batteries, and fill a couple pitchers with drinking water.

They've not said if the power outages are possible all the way as far inland as Chicago and Wisconsin because of the winds alone (they're gonna be doozies) or if it's going to be because of rolling outages and demands on the grid. I remember all too well the rolling blackout of 2003 that darkened New York to Detroit. That was actually the first time in my life I'd ever seen a "brown out" before the blackout. My mother later told me that "brown outs" were common when she was a kid -- the television, which was on at the time,  got dim, then came back, then dimmed to almost nothing, then came back, then ... nothing. Four days worth of nothing.

President Obama got on air and made a very calm, very presidential, very rambling statement that people need to follow evacuation orders so that the first responders we have in place won't be unnecessarily put in harm's way. Reading between the lines: don't be selfish.

New Jersey's governor -- and I know very little about New Jersey's governor but this statement fits with everything I know of him -- says simply: "Don't be stupid. Get out."

Their concern is well founded. My New Yorker friend reposted this link to a Hurricane Irene cartoon today on Facebook. The fear among public officials, weather forecasters, and FEMA is always that when we predict a bad storm and it doesn't happen, that the next prediction will be seen as crying wolf.

Of course, all it takes is looking at the water mark in Battery Park. Today, four hours before the storm makes landfall, the water mark is only an inch below its height during Irene.

I'm not terribly worried for me, but being prepared never hurts.

Prepared. Like buying tortilla chips.

Twitter abounds with pictures of people's preparedness bounty. Namely beer. Practical for multiple reasons -- passing the time and, should the power go out, having all that cold beer filling the fridge will help keep the entire contents from rapid spoilage. (Not that we need more reasons for beer.)

Prepared. Like laying in supplies of brie and water crackers, Swiss Roll Cakes and salsa.

Prepared. Like checking the flashlight, finding it dead, then being responsible and purchasing new batteries for it, only to put in said new batteries and have the light bulb pop and die. So I have no flashlight. The good news is that I have plenty of candles and those at least give off heat -- important for someone looking to be prepared for a Midwestern windstorm and/or winter. Unfortunately, they also give off scent.

Scented candles: ready to stink up blackouts in pastel colors and high class holders. And banana bread (it's cooling on the rack). Yep. We're prepared.

Highly Recommended