Dec 12 2007

Cooking without electricity

The ice storm that has gripped the central part of the country has really got me thinking:

If our power goes out this winter and it is unsafe to travel, what shall we eat?

Without electricity of course, we won’t be able to use the refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc.

I don’t have a grill (well, just a little George Foreman). But, I do have a little fondue pot-esque ceramic baker that could probably do the trick:


This handy little cooker was a wedding present. You just stick a little tea candle underneath, and pretty soon, the contents are heated.

I wouldn’t want to cook raw meat to an acceptable temperature in it, but I could use it to whip up an emergency hot meal, such as:

-heating canned soup

-heating canned chili, combined with a little Velveeta, and eating with corn chips

-heating canned vegetables

-I bet I could even cook oatmeal in it, if I wanted to

In addition to using the little cooker, we’d eat whatever perishable foods we had first.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, but storing canned goods for emergency use could save you a lot of headache (and tummyache) later.

You know it’s good to save a financial emergency fund for a rainy day–why not save an emergency food and toiletry stash for when it floods (or blizzards, ices over, etc.).

What other ideas do you have for emergency cooking? What supplies are in your emergency stash? What will you cook with?

If you’ve lost your power or have been affected by the latest ice storm, I hope you’re doing ok!

12 Responses to “Cooking without electricity”

  1. It’s really pretty too. Just make sure you have a hand canopener or you won’t be able to open anything!

    I went to CVS yesterday. I’m trying to figure out my savings. I think I might be counting my $6 savings twice.

    I bought a cadbury bar that was on sale for 99 cents and my fusion razor for $9.99. I used my $2 of $10 and $4 manufacturer. With tax it came to $5.22 and I got a $6 ECB

    I then got 4 12 packs of Diet Coke which totaled $12. I used another $2 of $10 and my $6 ECB. With tax I paid $4.36 and it gave me $3 ECB.
    Scenerio 1
    If I add what I paid = $9.58 minus $3 ECB = $6.58 spent.
    Scenerio 2
    If I do each separately $6 ECB minus $5.22 means they paid me 78 cents and $4.36 – $3 ECB = $1.36. Add the two = 58 cents paid.

    I’m ususally good at math but for some reason I can’t get my brain around which of these is correct!

  2. Way to go, Judy! The math does get confusing, and I don’t know if I’m right half the time with it.

    When I calculate my CVS totals, I like to keep my unspent ECB separate, since I’ll use them later.

    In your two transactions, the total you spent out of pocket is $9.58. You had to pull that amount out of your purse to pay for everything, even though you used your $6 in ECB.

    You have $3 to spend in the future. I usually figure that amount on my next purchase.

    Without coupons or extra care bucks, you would have spent $22.98 plus tax. Quite a bit of savings!

  3. You can use more candles under it for a little better heat! Or if you are really a candle freak, I mean collector, you could put 8 or 9 together and either hold or devise a holder and cook pretty well and get a little bit of heat, too.

    If you don’t have city water and a storm is coming remember to fill the bath tub! Then you can use the water to FLUSH, water the dog, etc. This is a big problem if you live in a house with an electric pump!!!! I also keep a big jug of sealed drinking water just in case.

    Remember, too, to close off as many rooms as you can in a storm to conserve heat!!

    We live rural and the fools who built our house [and the fool who bought it!! :)] didn’t bother with a fireplace!!!

  4. My parents heat their house with a woodstove, and they use it to cook quite often, heating chili or soup. When the power would go out, my mom would make hot chocolate and eggs and toast or oatmeal on the woodstove. But like you with your chafing dish, they never cook raw meat on it.

    If you live in an area that has lots of storms and you lose power a lot, you might want to invest in a camping stove that uses those sterno things, or little propane tanks. Or even if you camp a lot. Then it could do double duty.

    I can’t even stand just having a stove top and not an oven, so I think I’d be terrible in a no stove situation, lol. I might have to insist on having charcoal around all year, just in case.

  5. We have a camping stove that runs on propane- it’s a handy thing to have for emergencies. You can pick up a small one for around $20 at walmart- we were given ours by my sister- they were upgrading. :) I love hand me downs!

  6. When the power went out for a whole day a month ago, my husband was outside in the dark cooking hamburgers on the grill with a head lamp on his head. It was the funniest thing! He also has a little emergency stove and lots of other handy things since he is an Eagle Scout. His motto is “always be prepared.”

  7. I have a gas stove, so I can at least cook. It does have an electronic ignition, but I bet I can use a match to light the burners if need be. I have a gas grill and will grill food about 10 months out of the year. I guess if push came to shove, I’d use the gas grill.

    Water is a different issue, living in the country on a well, if the power goes out, the water goes out. I keep a couple gallon jugs of bottled water for me and the dogs. If the storm is supposed to be severe, I do fill the tub up halfway, as others have said, at least I can fill up dog water dishes, flush the toilet, and use the water to rinse my plates.

    I do keep a supply of candles, matches and various food stuffs that don’t need tons of cooking in the cupboard,(instant oatmeal, instant soups) just in case.

  8. As for the perishables, I suggest going out side to get a big chunk of ice and put it into two bowls. One for the fridge and one for the freezer.

  9. If your house or yard gets plenty of sunshine, it might be worth building or buying a solar cooker/oven.

  10. I always stock up on charcoal when it goes on sale at the end of the outside grilling season and we usually have a rack of wood. If you have a wood burning fireplace, I recommend a few cast iron cooking pans (Dutch oven with lid, fry pan and the footed rack to put the fry pan on). Just be sure to practice with it first – maybe on a family campout. You work with live coals, not flame, with cast iron cookware.

    I can even bake in a dutch oven – quick breads like cornbread or biscuts. I would do meat on the outside grill, though – due to the greasy smoke.

    A couple of large coolers are a good idea – for saving the freezer contents (we’d just got out yearly meat order when the weather hit) but our power was pretty stable and the limb that came down missed the power line.

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  2. Festival of Frugality-Holiday Edition at Mommy Gets PAID
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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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