Crisis Gourmet, Or How I Survived Ike, Part Two

Posted by in The Coffee Shop

Even though it sounded reasonable to do nothing but drink during the outage following Hurricane Ike’s visit, eating real food was necessary. Lack of electricity and fresh supplies did present challenges, and the occasional fresh perspective.


Canned goods. Lots of people who know me will be surprised to learn that I LOVE them. Being of the Savory ilk, there is nothing better than the comfort of knowing that, when the going gets tough, the tough can open a can of Smoked Oysters in Cottonseed Oil. On the right cracker, they’re heaven!

So when hurricane season arrives, it’s a great opportunity to stock up on salty delights.

Spam is always at the top of my list, as is beef jerky, deviled ham, and salted nuts. The Vienna sausage supply is quadrupled. For the short-term, packaged lunch meat, like Danish ham, smoked turkey, and corned beef will always be welcome. Chips, both plain and flavored (but only to offer periodic variety) round out the menu.

But as much as I love that stuff, I just can’t go totally unhealthy. Just before the power went out, I bought a pack of frozen chicken breasts and cooked them on the gas grill the night after the storm. They turned out pretty good, I think, for Crisis Gourmet:

Baked potato, cooked on the ill-fated coals of Part One, and Pull-Tab canned lima beans round out the plated meal:

As difficult as it was to keep food fresh in the house, I did it. Bags of ice kept cooked and packaged meats cool enough to last a few days. Bagged greens served double duty as individual salads and sandwich toppings. And, thanks to my sister, I learned that a few extra packets of mustard and mayonnaise from Chick-fil-A would go a long way!


With the kitchen essentially shut down, there wasn’t much to do. Dishes and utensils that hadn’t seen the light of day in years were carefully hand-washed, rearranged, and were promised to be used Next Time. Blocks of packaged food became a skyline of Delicious Hope that the power would soon, soon, soon return.

Did you know that Libby’s Regular Vienna Sausage has less fat but more sodium than Chicken Vienna Sausage? What about the fact that Harvest Creek Curry Flavored Chunk Chicken has more calories but less fat than Regular Chunk Chicken? And how realistic is it that a normal person would only eat 1/4 cup of Lightly Salted Dry Roasted Peanuts per serving??

Oh yes, how I wanted the power to come back on, so I could fill my now-sparkling-clean refrigerator with food, food I wouldn’t think twice about cooking and eating.

But for now, I would fish the package of Buddig Deli Ham out of the cooler, rip open a package each of Chick-fil-A mustard and mayonnaise, and make the most delicious sandwich ever.