Monday, October 29, 2012


I have always found hurricanes rather frightening. Superstorm Sandy (Hurricane, cum storm, with blizzards tagged on in some areas) is ravaging the East Coast of the United States as I write. It is going to affect a lot of people for a long time. One of the immediate effects is power outages for millions (8.1 million was the latest number I saw). This means no refrigeration and maybe no cooking for many. Unless you are careful, this also means more risk of eating bad food and getting food poisoning.

My son lives in Lower Manhattan (just outside the original top priority evacuation area) and he is presently without electricity. For how long, no-one knows. I tried to talk to him about being prepared, including for eating safely. But I am not sure he paid any attention. So what else is new? At least I can blog about it.

In this sort of situation, it is best to stock foods such as dates, raisins, nuts, carrots, cabbage, apples, oranges, pineapple, lemons, avocado, celery, cucumbers, bananas, and if they are on your diet - hard aged cheese, tinned light tuna (try it with chives or oregano and lemon juice instead of mayo), sardines, spam, beans and chick peas. Add a few crackers or some bread (while it lasts) and you can survive on this without refrigeration for a few days.

As for the refrigerator - the best idea is to stock it with only a few essentials and turn down the temperature a bit lower than usual while you still have electricity. Take out anything like bottled drinks and vegetables and fruit such as those above, as this will help you avoid opening the refrigerator door too often when power is off. That will give you a few extra hours with that roast chicken or whatever is in there.

But, forget the "best by" dates. Use your nose, eyes and common sense instead. Anything that is left for a few days in the non-operating refrigerator or has melted in the freezer is suspect, even if you haven't opened the door. If you are in doubt, toss it out. Having a case of food poisoning with roads and pharmacies closed and emergency rooms in overload, is not something you want. I just hope my son remembers that.

To your good health,

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