Everyone I spoke to last week agreed that storm food was a good idea.
“What’s storm food?” one friend had asked. “You mean the non-perishable, no-cooking-necessary stuff you keep in the cupboard for when the power goes out? Like powdered milk and canned beans?”
“You mean comfort food. That’s what I want in a storm,” she’d insisted.
“Not exactly. I’m thinking hearty stews and homemade soups that you freeze for emergencies, for when you can’t cook or get out of the house. Like turkey chili or Moroccan lamb stew. It should be healthy and delicious. It has to feed body and soul,” I had told her, trying to sort out the difference between storm food and comfort food. “Comfort food is too high in sugar and carbs; it’s more about nostalgia than nourishment.” I then listed a half dozen dishes, like the Curried Lentil, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup at the Finger Lakes Feasting website; and the Pork Pot Roast with Pears at Ciao Chow Bambina’s; and Alton Brown’s Sauerbraten recipe. There were five Sundays in November and I intended to make five different stews.
Storm food is purposefully and lovingly prepared, and then stashed away for future catastrophes. The packed freezer and individual-sized portions of nourishing foods provide a feeling of wellbeing similar to that found in comfort food. Each meal that finds its way to your table in a time of turmoil is like a care package.
Even before my daughter died, every fall I stored food to help weather winter storms. A storm could be a blizzard, a level-4 hurricane affecting the entire East Coast, or simply a headache. Once in a while a storm appears in my son, coming home hungry, looking pathetic like he hasn’t seen food in a year. Feeding my son a bowl of care brings even more joy than quelling my own storms.
“Really, look in the freezer,” I told him. “It only takes ten minutes to nuke up a storm food. How about turkey chili from last December?”
How do you weather a storm? What special things do you do to take care of yourself and the ones you love during a difficult time?