Here we go again, Mainers! Snow is in the forecast, the third time this week where I am, Waterville, which is smack between Bangor and Augusta on the highway and on the television weather map. Here are some strategies for the upcoming “event.”
Below is the chili they serve at Gritty McDuff’s Brewpub:
IF YOU HAVE POWER, SO FAR:
- PIZZA: while you DO have power, cook up a couple of pizzas, wrap them in foil and keep in the fridge. If you lose power, take them out, let them come up to room temp and enjoy. Store-bought dough is fine, throw on a bit of tomato sauce (Mario Batali uses Pomi right out of the carton) and some shredded Mozzarella cheese. It’ll remind you of the single days, when you ate leftover pizza right out of the box you left on the counter because you were too tired to wrap it and stash it in the fridge and you knew you’d eat it for breakfast anyway.
- STEW: You can concoct a darn good stew if you have a couple of hours. Use chicken instead of beef, to make sure your protein is tender. Beef can take forever.You can buy cooked chicken in the deli department. Speed things up.
- CHILI: you might have everything on hand to make chili, but if not, hightail it to the grocery store and get ground beef, a few cans of beans, a bag of pre-chopped veggies, like onion, peppers, even some cubed butternut squash and throw them in that crockpot with all the usual spices. I make a great vegan chili using all of the above minus the meat. I even put in cubed sweet potato. If you live in a zone where you just know you’ll lose power, I would get either of these going on the stove and ramp up the cooking process. The veggies can be roasted in the oven before putting them into the pot, or get canned.
- BEER: okay, you’re not going to have to cook beer, huzzah!
- WINE: ditto, another huzzah.
IF YOU KNOW YOU WILL LOSE POWER
Yes, you might lose power, and if you do, I suggest buying the following items to have on hand, in case you can’t cook at all:
- High-quality, low sugar cereal, granola or muesili;
- Popcorn: pop up a huge batch, season and place in plastic bags;
- Peanut butter or almond butter, or any nut butter you like, as well as a low-sugar jelly or jam. PB and J’s got us to where we are today. Slather on your favorite bread;
- Fresh or canned fruit, preferably the former. Apples, bananas, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe…healthy and delicious;
- Salad greens and healthy dressing (I like Tessamae’s). you can lose 3 pounds while you watch the plow guy do the driveway again. Just try not to add up how much it’s going to cost by the end of winter. It’ll drive you to the chocolate bars you hid in case of just this type of emergency;
- Okay, chocolate bars. They keep almost forever, come in hundreds of varieties and if you buy 60% cocoa, which means they contain less sugar, they’re actually healthy.
Best of all, a blizzard forces us to just-slow-down. Turn off the cell phones, gather around the table and play Scrabble or any other board game, even it’s by candlelight. Be thankful that you are safe, have heat or wood for a stove fire and each other.
And if you know someone who might need help, an elderly neighbor, check on him or her. It could mean the world to someone.
That’s all from here. I’m going to fill a couple more buckets with water and get my fish stew cooking. You never know. That’s another thing a blizzard teaches us: we really don’t control much of anything. I’m grateful for a cozy house, a wood stove, lots of books to read, a journal to write in. Oh, then there are my kids and two grandkids this year. Endless gratitude.