Stocking up: Gourmet eats... après le déluge
Fortunately Hurricane Irene didn't bring the rain and winds and days without power that 2003's Isabel did, nor did the Cuckoo quake leave us electricity-less. But with microbursts and Snowpocalyse-type events popping up all too frequently in this area, you know it's only a matter of time before the power goes out.
The hurricane brought the requisite warnings to check the family emergency survival kit and load up with nonperishables that don't require cooking. We wondered what else could see us through the storm besides Spam and Beanee Weenees, and asked some local food and/or survival experts what they'll be chowing down on if the power goes out.
LIsa McEwan– Hotcakes
"Think picnic," says Lisa McEwan. She'll have a baguette, cheese– "goat cheese for me, white cheddar for my husband"– and olives. Dried fruits like dates or apricots will also be on hand. Go with red wine instead of white, she suggests.
His-and-her Pepperidge Farm Cookies are another essential. She likes Genevas, while husband Keith Rosenfeld prefers raspberry Milanos.
For breakfast, McEwan suggests a Luna bar– "the salty-sweet one, which would go with cheese as well."
And for a caffeine fix for those with a way to heat water, McEwan deems the Starbucks instant coffee "not bad."
And don't forget the Clorox wipes.
Robert Harllee– Market Street Wine Shop
What wine goes best with a hurricane? We checked with Robert Harllee, and he recommends a Castelmaure Corbieres Col des Vents– "the pass of the winds."
Victory Brewing makes Whirlwind Witbier, "a nice Belgian-style white ale," says Harllee.
When pairing wine with an earthquake, he suggests Michael David Winery's Earthquake Syrah and Earthquake Zinfandel, both priced in the mid-$20 range.
"There are some earthquake ales," says Harllee, "but none seem to be available around here."
Tom "Zipper" Lippman– Vivace
"Be prepared," is Zipper Lippman's advice, and by that he doesn't mean stocking up on canned goods. When he hears there's bad weather coming, he whips up a hearty vegetable soup, "a nice batch of marinara," and meatloaf for sandwiches.
Lippman has the advantage of a propane stove, so he can easily heat up the soup, marinara, and water for pasta.
"Grab some steaks and charcoal," he adds. And at least have the charcoal for when the freezer starts defrosting.
Dave Simpson– C&O
If only we ate like Dave Simpson. "The things I like everyday are great for when the power goes off," he says.
He lists bread, lots of cheeses– "a soft Bucheron to eat before the power goes off, an aged gouda for later"– aged meats like proscuitto and Busseto dried salami, olives and pickles.
'I'm kind of a grazer," says Simpson.
And pick up some blue cheese, he adds, somewhat cryptically, "because you never know."
Vincent Derquenne– Bizou
When the power goes out, Vincent Derquenne goes to the fireplace. "There is always something we can do in winter with a fire in the fireplace, either grilled or braised," he says.
For example, braised shortribs with potatoes cooked in the ashes and crushed with butter. "It's awesome," he declares. "I will go to the store to buy potatoes for my son," he said in advance of Irene.
Use food on hand from the fridge or freezer, he advises. "We go back in the garden for herbs."
Derquenne, for one, is not disparaging a certain canned meat product. "I learned to love Spam in Hawaii," he says.
Charles Werner– Charlotteville Fire Department Chief
You know Chief Werner is ready for an emergency, and his canned good supply includes peaches, pears, and beets.
Werner also seems to be fond of sardines: "regular sardines, sardines in mustard, and sardines in hot sauce."
Let's hope he has the crackers to go with them.
Chip Harding– Albemarle County Sheriff
When the forecast looks bad, Sheriff Chip Harding stocks up– on reading material. "I've gone out and bought a book," he said in advance of Irene– UVA law prof Brandon Garrett's Convicting the Innocent. "I've got this book, and a couple of flashlights and batteries."
Harding favors peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and soup. In his well-stocked larder, he keeps an extra PB and about 50 cans of soup, with New England Clam Chowder his first choice.
But Harding seems less concerned about food than food for thought. "I get bored," he says.