There’s an eerie calm around here while getting ready for Irene to strike. Everyone is doing their last minute preparations — stocking up on food, removing patio furniture, going to the ATM’s, filling cars with gas, trying to get in some last minute exercise and scouring the hardware stores for a back-up generator. Many of us are already indoors, just waiting for the rain and winds to begin late this evening. We’re not quite sure what’s going to happen here in the metropolitan New York area but we’ve been told to “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
For many of us, that means obsessing about what we’ll eat in the next week should we lose power. What better time to consume junk food than in a Hurricane? So, I found myself caught up in the grocery store frenzy, loading up on foods that won’t expire. I am proud to say that I passed on the Spam, opting instead for peanut butter, granola bars, canned Progresso Chickarina soup, pepperoni and tuna fish.
Cheese Whiz was probably my most out-of- character purchase. But my kids — who have only experienced the cheese of legends once in their lives — couldn’t have been more excited. They passed the bottle around, looking at the squiggly illustrations, thrilled by the notion of squirting cheese into their mouths. (Forget the crackers!) But I’ve cautioned them to keep their hands off the bottle, to save it in case of an emergency. Needless to say, my kids are excited for Hurricane Irene, and the prospect of squirting and slurping their bottle cheese. Oh to be a kid!
But I’m also taking some culinary steps that I’m a bit more proud of. I’ll be baking with my kids today before my power goes out — chocolate chip cookies, brownies, maybe even a peach pie. I’m hoping that homemade treats will pacify edgy nerves should we be stuck in for days. I’m also taking my mom’s advice and making a big dinner today that I will keep in the refrigerator for tomorrow. I’m stuffing a chicken with herbs, garlic and lemon and roasting it with potatoes, carrots and onions. Even if we have to eat it cold, we’ll have something nourishing for tomorrow’s dinner. I’m headed out to the store for non-perishable grown up treats — olives, tapenade and other dips — and then headed to Starbucks to get some coffee.
What are you stocking up on to survive the storm?
Here’s my simple but delicious peach pie filling:
Simple Peach Pie Filling
10 fresh sweet yellow peaches, skins removed and cut into thick slices
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
dash of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot and heat slowly, stirring until the mixture becomes thick. Cool and transfer the mixture to a freezer safe container until ready to fill a pie.