Last weekend we lost power. I documented it pretty well over on my dad blog Pop Poppa, but figured a post specifically about cooking in the dark would be interesting and hopefully useful to some. As I mentioned over there, we’ve got a gas stove, which I highly recommend both as a preferred cooking method and as a necessary piece of equipment if you live in a place prone to power outages. As you probably know, an electric stove just won’t work when the power goes out, but as long as you’ve got matches, you can get a gas stove working meaning you can cook, but you can also boil pots of water to help warm your house!
We hadn’t planned for the power to be out. The first time I heard about the oncoming snow storm was Friday as my parents were coming in for a visit. We went out to eat on Friday and decided to get pizza for lunch on Saturday as the snow started to fall. As it happened, I had a plan to make soup from my Better Crocker Healthy New Choices cookbook. It’s called African Vegetable Stew (page 198) and comes loaded with vegetables, lentils and rice which made the meal very filling. The power went out around 5:00PM on Saturday while my wife was making what turned out to be gourmet quality caramel apples. We intended to take them to the Halloween party that wound up getting cancelled, but instead had them ourselves. While she did that, I cleaned the green beans and assembled the other ingredients. I had luckily taken most of the vegetables out of the fridge before we lost power, but did have to jump in for a few things (and grabbed beers while I was in there for good measure). The key to this meal working out was a head lamp that my inlaws got for my wife and I after they wound up using theirs after a particularly long, New England power outage. You wear it like a headband around your noggin, so it winds up casting a light wherever you’re looking. Even something like this that included a fair amount of chopping (onions, garlic, carrots, celery) went pretty easily thanks to a fair amount of prep ahead of time. The soup wound up tasting really good as well thanks to the ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and other spices. Saturday night I didn’t bother putting the soup pot in the fridge. For one thing, it had been opened a few times and probably wasn’t going to stay cool for long. Plus, the soup was still warm and I didn’t want to heat the appliance up. So, the next day, I just gave it a good boil and we had it for dinner again along with the leftover pizza. All in all, it worked out pretty well. Had we lost power for long, I’m sure we would have gone out to eat, but this one meal served us really well (plus, I had some for lunch on Monday and it was still good!).