Emergency Grocery Lists & Menus
We are under a Winter Storm Warning here in Ohio and are expecting to receive a nasty mixture of snow, sleet, and ice. There is plenty of food in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, but I wanted to make sure that we had the more critical items in case the power went out. After living in Florida for years, I could easily plan for a hurricane in my sleep. We would always buy plenty of water, fill big coolers full of ice to store fruit, vegetables, our favorite condiments, milk for cereal, and even some Starbucks Frappachinos just so we could indulge in our morning coffee ritual. I would cook some pasta or tortellini ahead of time and place it in the cooler, to later make a pasta salad. We did not live on the coast, so it was always a great opportunity to plan a Hurricane Party. This was a fun way to make the best of it with family and friends, while clearing out the refrigerator. I f power was lost; we would grill all the meats in the freezer after the storm had passed. Preparing meals without electricity was never too much of a challenge in our home. With the power out and the windows rattling, there were times that we worried that the roof would blow off, but we never did worry about what we would eat.
While working on an emergency grocery list and menu today, I really had a difficult time trying to figure out how we could eat hot meals during a power outage when there is no Florida sunshine to keep you warm. I suppose we could run out to our patio in the sleet, snow, and freezing rain to use our grill while we kick ourselves for not buying a generator. Our meals would be hot, but they would do little for the frostbite we got in the process. We have gas heat, plenty of candles, blankets, lanterns, wine, and cards so there is no chance we will be cold or bored. I also stopped at the grocery store earlier today to buy enough to eat for a few days and will fill a couple of thermoses up with hot tea and coffee. However, with an electric stove there is very little chance there will be a hot meal if we lose power.
All of the grocery items were selected because they are fairly healthy. They are typical staples that we can eat and enjoy even if we do not lose power. This will help avoid food waste. Our water heater runs on electricity, so if we lose power, we lose hot water to wash dishes. Because of this, I have included disposable items on the list as well. Ziploc Bags can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation and can be used to combine foods such as the salads and dressings. Clearly, I have no intention of washing dishes in freezing cold water.
We always keep a good supply of onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in our home, as well as olive oil, vinegar, a variety of herbs, salt, and pepper. These items can easily be combined with the avocados, tomatoes, canned tuna, crab meat, chicken, or beans to make a good salad, depending on what we are craving. We also have plenty of gas for the grill, as well as an assortment of meats, vegetable, yogurts, and cheeses in the refrigerator. Because this is a winter storm, food items that must remain cold, can be kept outside on the patio as long as the temperature stays below 41°F or less. Items that must be kept frozen need to be kept at 0°F. This definitely will not be as much fun as a hurricane party, but I think we have sufficiently planned for a winter storm. I am sharing some websites I found while searching for no electricity meal ideas and I will add more as I find them. This climate is still new to me, so if you have any additional ideas, websites, or suggestions, please leave me a comment.
Emergency Grocery List for 2 People
- 8 Gallons of Water
- Lemons & Limes
- Grape Tomatoes
- 1/2 a Dozen Bagels
- Cream Cheese
- Trail Mix
- Granola Bars
- Protein Bars
- Summer Sausage
- Whole Grain Crackers
- Canned Chick Peas
- Canned Kidney Beans
- Canned Black Beans
- Canned Black Eyed Peas
- Canned Tuna
- Canned Crab Meat
- Canned Chicken
- Paper Plates, Cups, Bowls, and Utensils
- Large Ziploc Bags
- Chocolate – This item is on the list, because I do not ever want to live through an emergency without it.
We did not need to purchase the following items However, based on your needs; you may want to add them to your own list:
- Baby and Children’s Items
- Pet Food
- Battery Operated Radio
- A Manual Can Opener
Additional links that may be helpful in emergency planning include:
FEMA has an excellent emergency preparedness guide called Food and Water in an Emergency. It is very informative and can definitely help make sure that you are reasonably prepared for an emergency or natural disaster, both expected and unexpected.
The Iowa State University Extension has a 3-Day Emergency Food Supply Guide that is meant to feed one person for $20. This is probably the most budget friendly guide that I found. If the food supply was built slowly by utilizing coupons and store sales, it could probably be done for much less.
The Washington Departments of Health and Emergency Management also has the Emergency Food Supply Guide. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you can opt to see the list in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Cambodian. I am not quite sure what they expect you to do if you do not speak and of those languages.
Costco sells a Food for Health Emergency Food Kit. It comes in a large weather proof bucket and is filled with 275 servings of food. All of the food is 100% vegetarian, but water and a heat source are required to prepare the individual packets.
Mark Bittman shares an experience he had while traveling in Equador. His hosts were familiar with the concept of Cooking Without Electricity and utilized a bicycle powered blender used to make him a fresh vegetable soup.
You can also check out my No Electricity Dinner Recipe. It is definitely not filet mignon and buttery baked potatoes, but it hits the spot when you need to make a cheap and easy meal with out power.