6 Tips For Cooking During A Power Outage

Winter Storm Dion began terrorizing the West Coast over the weekend of Dec. 7. Meteorologists expect it will engulf the East Coast in snow and ice through Tuesday, Dec. 10. Stories about power outages and closed stores are circulating through the media. As a student of an online culinary school, you’re first thought might be how you will cook if you lose power. Fortunately, with some creativity you can turn your power outage into a pioneer-style cooking opportunity.

1. Go grocery shopping now
Hit your favorite grocery store before the storm reaches your town. Stock up on non-perishable essentials such as canned beans and vegetables as well as rice. Choose items with loads of protein and fat to help keep your body nourished in the cold.

2. Inspect and clean the chimney
The fireplace is a great place to cook in the event of a power outage. You can fill your dutch oven with all sorts of ingredients to create gourmet meals over the fire. However, an unclean or cracked chimney presents a fire hazard. You should have it cleaned and checked every year before winter.

3. Get a propane stove and matches
You won’t be able to use an electric stove in your home if the power goes out. A camping stove that uses propane is a good alternative. Gather matches to light your gas stove when the power goes out. A gas stove will still work, you just have to create the spark on your own. Never use a grill inside, as it can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

4. Use perishables first
Cook your meat, fresh produce and dairy first if the power goes out. Most cooks own a dutch oven, which is the perfect tool for cooking on an open fire. Cook that brisket that you’ve had in the fridge in your dutch oven. Finish off your produce by making a hearty vegetable stew. The possibilities are endless.

5. Leave the fridge closed
Your food will warm faster if you keep opening and closing the fridge and freezer. Unless you need to open it, keep the doors closed. Refrigerators are insulated to keep the cold in and warmth out. Make use of this feature by leaving the doors closed. Think of your fridge as a cooler while the power is out. The ice that’s in there now is all you have to keep your food safe.

6. Light your work space
Cooking in the dark is hazardous. You could potentially cut yourself if you can’t see where your knife is moving. Keep a flashlight or lantern on hand to illuminate your workspace.

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