48 Hours Without Power: What’s for Dinner?

September 16th is “Dine in the Dark Day,” and our partners at FLASH and the Great Hurricane Blowout inspired me to try it — dining in the dark, that is. In fact, I simulated a power outage for 48 hours (my poor wife). I encourage you to follow along as I describe our dining in the dark experience. Then try it yourself. Test your preparedness!

Here’s the question: If your power went out right now, what would you have for dinner? What if the outage lasted a week? Do you have 21 meals ready to go in your pantry? I didn’t.

Let’s hope that you already have an emergency plan (where to meet, for example) and an emergency bucket packed for an outage, so you’re all set when it comes to flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, and the rest of the recommended emergency items. But what are you going to eat?

While it’s obvious that having a well-stocked pantry of non-perishable foods would be the best defense, most of us just don’t actively prepare an emergency pantry for an extended outage. To find out what we should be stocking up on, my wife (good sport) and I decided to do an impromptu “emergency rehearsal” by shutting off our power for 48 hours. No, we didn’t run over to the store first to stock up; instead at 3:00 PM on Saturday this past weekend we just shut down the power.

Here’s a diary of the next 48 hours.

Dinner #1 (Saturday Evening)
An easy candle-lit dinner. We had chicken breasts in the fridge and just enough charcoal for one more cookout, so we grilled chicken and added leftover rice and two peaches, our last fresh fruit except for three very ripe bananas. Cookies and our last bit of cheese for dessert. But this would be the end of perishables: even if we kept the door closed, the fridge will only hold perishables safely for about four hours. (A half-full freezer would last more like 24 hours.) It was very evident that we didn’t have much water — just one jug of drinking water and another (half-empty) of distilled water for ironing. That was it. We stacked the plates and silverware in the sink, and washed our hands with disposable wipes!

Breakfast #1 (Sunday Morning)
In the morning we hit the pantry for cereal topped with a box of milk substitute (my wife is lactose intolerant), plus prunes and raisins. And those bananas. We could have really used a nutrition shake or energy bar for some protein. We also had our last slices of bread with peanut butter and honey.

Lunch #1 (Sunday Noon)
OK, all perishables and fresh fruits already gone, what’s in that pantry? Lunch was canned tuna (me) and canned chicken (my wife) on rather fancy crackers that we’d normally serve with cheese at a party. More peanut butter. Even with rationing and very limited brushing of teeth, we’ll run out of drinking water by tomorrow morning. Snacks: chips and a can of roasted almonds.

Dinner #2 (Sunday Evening)
Vacuum packs of ready-to-eat (RTE) Indian food and rice. Other RTEs might be spaghetti or chicken-and-dumplings. Or canned soup. We sure would have enjoyed our dinner a bit more if we could have heated it up in a pot of water on the grill or camp stove/hotplate, but as it was, all we needed were scissors and a bowl and the meals were pretty good, even cold. No more RTEs in the pantry, though.

Breakfast #2 (Monday Morning)
We’re only three meals into the outage and the pantry is looking quite bare! Breakfast is cereal and our last box of milk substitute. Applesauce. Snacks: chips and a jar of olives.

Lunch #2 (Monday Noon)
Canned black beans and the rest of an opened box of taco shells. We’re eyeing the bag of old marshmallows. Bonus: we found two packages of cheese crackers (with peanut butter!) from a recent flight. This is getting sad.

The takeaway? We (barely) had 48 hours of food, and just 36 hours of water. What did we learn about what should be in our emergency pantry? That’s Part II of this blog. Check back, we’ll post it soon.

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6 Responses to “48 Hours Without Power: What’s for Dinner?”

  1. Wesley Culbertson
    September 19, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Does this site have a page on Facebook?

    • Danielle Hoff
      September 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      Hey Wesley, thanks for your question. We do have a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/kohlergenerators. There are links to our other social sites in the footer below. Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.

  2. Janice
    November 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    I was thinking about buying a generator before, but after weathering Hurricane Sandy I am absolutely going to buy one. Even though I was lucky and only without power for a short time, my fellow New Yorkers weren’t so lucky. I’m curious to know a few things more as to how the process works.
    Does Koehler visit my home to assess my power needs? Also, besides increasing my home value does having a generator have other added benefits towards, for example, lowering home insurance rates? I’m thinking that if u have power to pump let’s say water out of u’r basement that this has to be considered as mitigating your damages. Anything that u can advise here when considering a purchase I’d appreciate.

    • CindyLee
      November 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Hey Janice, thanks for your questions. We’re glad you’re safe and well after weathering Hurricane Sandy.

      Each generator installation process is unique to fit each customer’s home, but here’s a video of what you can expect: http://youtu.be/uIHgchkuqq8. If you’d like to learn more about which generator would be right for you, you can locate your nearest authorized Kohler Generators dealer using this link: http://khlr.co/b9Uy.

      In regards to your insurance rates, it would be best to check with your insurance provider.

      I hope you found this information helpful. Please let me know if you have any more questions. – Cindy

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