Storm Food

StormFood2“Is there anything to eat?” my son asked, staring for a long time into the empty refrigerator.
“Look in the freezer,” I told him. “There might still be some storm food left.”

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?”
“Ick. No.”
“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?

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10 thoughts on “Storm Food

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    A great photo. You show me how you take care of yourself, Robin. I love it. I freeze soup and have all the ingredients for a couple of other kinds in the cabinets and cellar. I have an ample supply of smartwool wool socks and wool mittens and an extra pair of wood stove gloves so my hands don’t get mangled when loading firewood.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      You probably have more opportunities to be snowed in than I do. Living where you do, you really need to take care of yourself for the long winter. A cellar of stored veggies is so appealing to me as I live in a house on a slab, no basement. And your soup – well, I still remember how cheering it was to come home from hiking and have your minestrone. I agree about the SmartWool socks, for sure.

      Reply
  2. Lynne Taetzsch

    I always make more of a dish than I eat at the time, and then freeze the leftovers for another day. It is very comforting knowing it’s there. I just came back from a 10 day trip, and didn’t get in until 7:30 pm. My supper was waiting for me in the freezer!

    A beautiful essay, Robin!

    Lynne

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yeah, that is exactly what storm food does. It waits for you to return home tired and hungry. It wait for you to fell stuck at home. It comforts you just knowing there’s some back-up care when you need. I guess if you cook regularly, freezing the leftovers is the better way to go. For me, I need to make a whole intentional production of cooking. My regular is to eat whatever I find in the fridge, in a hurry (raw), standing over the kitchen sink. So if there’s to be any decent meal, it has to be choreographed in advance. Cheers!

      Reply
  3. SusanB

    Oh Robin, I felt warm and fuzzy and completely connected to what you wrote. Especially love the nourishing of your son’s heart, and through your writings your own sweet heart just becomes more apparent. I’m looking up Moroccan lamb stew. I shared this to my FB page.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thank you, Susan. It was actually called Moroccan Harira, a one-pot meal. Let me know if you can’t find a good recipe and I’ll look up the one I used. Hugs to you.

      Reply
  4. [email protected]

    I agree… There’s nothing better than knowing we’re as prepared as we can be should a storm hit. Thank you for including my Pork Pot Roast in your lovely collection of nourishing, healing recipes…

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Oh that Pork Pot Roast – yum! I’ve got the pears ready for another batch. Thank you for the nourishing, exciting, heart-healing recipes, Annie.

      Reply
  5. Annette Corth

    Another great photo! How would you nuke the storm food in a power outage? My answer to your question is chocolate in any form, preferably milk. I admire how you keep coming up with these stories and photos. Write on! Love, Annette

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Storm food is not quite emergency food, Annette. But chocolate definitely qualifies for storm food AND emergency provisions. Anyway, in a power outage I’d eat my storm food raw – it’s that good. Thank you for the compliments. I think as long as I’m living I will come up with stories and images. Even though on some days it’s difficult to wrench them from my head onto paper or computer.

      Reply

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