This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Twice!
(I’ll explain at the bottom)
We are just now experiencing our “First Big Snow” here in Michigan. I like to be prepared because in years past I was woefully unprepared and I will never let that happen again. As soon as they come and take the boat to storage, I know it is time to stock the pantry for the season. Now that I’m not going to town every day, I like to make sure that I have the basics “in-house” to make a delicious meal with what I have on hand. Running to the store during a blizzard is not my idea of a good time, so I prepare.
It’s actually not that different than an expectant mother. We’ve all heard the term “Nesting” in preparation for a new arrival. I am much the same with the arrival of brisk North winds and falling leaves & temperatures. It doesn’t have to be one huge purchase. Each time I go to the store, beginning in late summer, I will add just a few extra items for the winter cache’. Perhaps some canned tomatoes or pasta, extra flour, beans or rice. Just a few items here and there until you are prepared for winters worst.
It is so wonderful to have the ingredients already on hand so that you don’t have to venture out to feed your family. Here is a brief checklist of things that I like to have on hand “Just In Case”.
- Kosher salt
- Black peppercorns
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- Canola oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Red wine vinegar
- Jiffy mixes (corn bread etc.)
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Chocolate chips
- Pure vanilla extract
- Granulated sugar Confectioners sugar
- Brown sugar
- Maple syrup
- Peanut or almond butter
- Jams & jelly
RICE & GRAINS
- White rice
- Brown rice
- Pasta-various types
- Breadcrumbs: Plain & Panko
- Snacks, cereals & various crackers
- Chicken, beef & vegetable broth
- Beans: Baked, cannelloni, navy, chickpea & black
- Canned vegetable of your liking
- Canned tomatoes
- Tomato sauce& paste
LOTS OF DRIED HERBS & SPICES
I also like to make sure that I have a full week supply of meat and bread in the freezer
and lots of veg & cheese and greens in the crisper.
You are now well on your way to surviving winter’s worst without trudging to the grocery store or making your significant another stop on the way home.
NOW, how I learned “THE HARD WAY.”
Twice in my life, I have been stranded by blizzards, unprepared with little to eat.
The first time, was after I struck out on my own away from home right after high school.
I rented a place way out in the country. That was the thing to do at the time. Remember, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young? Our House? Oh well, I was working in the city but enjoying the country life gardening and raising horses. A terrible blizzard hit. Technology certainly wasn’t what it is today. The snow was relentless, the winds ferocious. Minus 75-degree windchills for nearly a month. I had oil heat, and the lines froze. I dragged bales of hay from the barn to place around the foundation of the farmhouse to try to thaw them. I hung blankets over the doorway into the kitchen and turned the oven on. Still, a glass water would freeze on the counter. In two days, the meat, bread & milk was gone. What saved my life? A case of Aldi canned green beans. The snow was so deep, I had to use a toboggan and much like a surfer, paddle my way out to my car. The Highway department asked me to stick something in the ground with flags on top so that they wouldn’t destroy my car with a road grader. The car was completely invisible under the snow. It took 13 days to get out and get fed. I even missed the funeral of a dear friend because I couldn’t get out. They would only plow major highways or in case of medical emergency. You would have thought I’d learned my lesson but NOOOO!
Fast forward eight years. I was living in the Colorado Rockies. I was up at 3:00 am every day to do the morning show, worked all day and then, I was doing Sports play-by-play at night. The State high school basketball tournament was beginning. I knew I wouldn’t be home for two weeks, so I had no food in the house and just ate on the fly between games.
When the tourney was finally over, I made the long drive home and fell into bed. The next morning, I woke up to 36 inches of new snow and no end in sight. I had a couple of roommates who worked for various airlines, and because of conditions, they couldn’t get home, and their employers put them up in hotels. Here I was again. I had a couple of cans of soup in the cupboard and some oyster crackers, a little cheese that was suspect, someone’s box of raisin-bran ( I despise raisins!) There was nothing in the house but Ice cream & tequila, some chips and expired guacamole in the fridge. Again, it was days before they could get to me. At that time, not everyone had a plow on the front of their pick-up. This is a more recent development than most people realize.
I finally learned my lesson. Never again will I be the victim of Mother Nature. I will always be prepared! With today’s technology, it isn’t hard. I have a full weather station in my office with outdoor sensors. I get text alerts warning of potential weather episodes, and I include some of our wonderful local meteorologists among my closest friends. I will NEVER be blindsided again! Lesson learned. This is why my family often calls me “The Weatherman” just to bust my chops. Stock your pantry, and thanks for reading.