We've had quite a problem with power outages in Connecticut these past few months. First Irene and then that blasted Nor'easter; some people had had to live without power for 3 or more weeks! I consider myself lucky, we only lost power for a day because of Irene. The freak winter storm had no effect on us, thank goodness. But even still, that one day without power provided us with a challenge; and while I could have done another day or two, we were happy to stop eating grilled hot dogs.
So here are a few tips and ideas to get you through the next power outage - it can't be far away with the REAL winter weather still to come. Plan ahead, bundle up and tell CL&P to go screw when they want a rate hike.
There are plenty of things we can eat without refrigeration or cooking. Fresh fruits, breads, cereal (dry cereal won't kill you), cookies, crackers, candy, nuts, dried fruits - you get my point. Why not have a few boxes of extra cereal in the cupboard? Buy things on sale and then stash them away.
Own a grill! We have a little grill that uses disposable propane tanks. That thing was a dream to own that day we didn't have power. My husband boiled water for my tea on it, we grilled hot dogs and mini-potatoes. We felt pretty civilized for two people without power. Definitely a great investment. Don't use it indoors!
As soon as the power goes out (or before if you somehow know it's going to happen) take all the perishables you can out of the fridge and put them in the freezer. Hot dogs? In the freezer. Milk? In the freezer. Yogurt? In the freezer. Things like butter and hard cheeses can stay in the fridge for a while. Number one the fridge isn't going to INSTANTLY heat up and spoil everything. Number two those things are best eaten at room temp anyway. Use your judgement as best you can. Remember the temperature danger zone is 40-140. Don't open the fridge every 10 minutes like you usually do :)
Maybe this idea is hitting me because it's almost Thanksgiving, but why not have a frozen turkey on stand-by? Or a frozen ham or a chicken? Take it out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge - it frees up room for your hot dogs, milk and yogurt and while it's thawing it will keep the temp of your fridge down.
Keep some thermometers handy - you never want to prepare food for your family that has spent a good amount of time in the temperature danger zone (40-140), but with a little planning and smart thinking you can have a few days of real meals during a power outage. And what else are you gonna do? You can't watch television!
Fill every possible container with water. Buy ice. Make sure you have working flashlights and safe places for candles. Make sure your pets are safe. Call your local fire department if you have medication that needs refrigeration! They will help you! You really, really must plan ahead. We've seen enough disasters on television at this point in our history, you need to take the proper steps to see that you are taken care of. Be proactive. Many Connecticut residents were trapped for WEEKS in their homes without power because of downed trees. You need to be prepared if you want to survive.
And, by the way, if it's actually winter when there's a winter storm you might be able to keep your food outside (away from critters, but cold).
And while you're waiting for that to happen...try using less power. F CL&P. In the future I hope they're more proactive about tree removal and trimming. I hope they pay the shirts less and the linemen more. I hope they hire more linemen and less shirts. And I hope the next guy who runs the company is actually from Connecticut and actually gives a crap about us.
Don't depend on the government or the power company to take care of you - because they will fail, and you deserve better.
BTW - after a few days without power THROW IT ALL OUT!!! Even the ketchup and salad dressing. I mean it.