Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Top 10 Hurricane Must Haves for the Kitchen

September 1st, 2010 · 11 Comments

Let’s cut to the chase. Get these things now!

Hurricane cocktail

And – print and save this article if you’re planning ahead for impending hurricanes – please say you are!

1. A full tank of gas for your gas grill. You won’t need much more if you have canned food.

2. Water. Lots more than you think you need – you never know. And it won’t go bad. You can live a long time on little food – but less than a week in extreme heat with no water.

3. Canned food. Go for protein, low-sodium eats  – beans, pouched chicken and tuna in oil for flavor. Fruits – in juice, not syrup. Sweet stuff makes you thirsty. Nut spreads (almond, peanut butter).

4. Hardware: A manual can opener. Matches, garbage bags, and extra coolers for ice if you get it. Paper plates and utensils. Anti-bacteria wipes.

5. Green bananas – they’ll ripen and you’ll have to eat them, but they’ll last a while longer and you need potassium. Dried figs, apricots and prunes are excellent for potassium, too.

6. Multigrain flatbread and whole grain crackers. (Or, instant whole grain oatmeal. If you have said grill, you can make oatmeal and don’t need to worry about grains.)

7. Shelf-stable bacon, or hard salami and pepperoni – to add to other canned foods for flavor. It’s really good.

8. Canned pudding – it provides one creamy thing your mouth will eventually crave, and this satisfies it.

9. Boxed milk. Make a creamy tomato soup with it, or make mac and cheese for the kids on the grill.

10. Tea, instant coffee, fruit juices – avoid sweet sodas and alcohol.

Don’t buy: salty snacks, beer, soda, perishable dairy or meats, salty premade soups or canned casseroles. Avoid salted stuff all around. Get fresh veggies that will last and that you can eat raw – carrots, turnips, radishes – they will last a few more days than soft veggies and fruits. Apples will last; citrus will not.

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11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anne Hersley // Sep 1, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Jan – I thought the Hurricane “Must Haves” for the kitchen was very clever and relevant! I don’t worry much about hurricanes anymore, since our move to the Carolinas, but I still found the list to be of value. Thanks!

  • 2 ksteinhoff // Sep 1, 2010 at 1:16 pm


    The list is good for just about any kind of natural (or unnatural) disaster.

    One warning: don’t cook indoors with a gas grill or charcoal. Carbon Monoxide poisoning can sneak up on you before you know it.

  • 3 Dan Oliver // Sep 1, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Don’t buy beer???!! That’s the only thing that got me through the last three hurricanes!!

  • 4 Jan Norris // Sep 1, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    It’s documented somewhere that most of the severe injuries and deaths that occur during hurricanes happen in the aftermath, and usually involve chainsaws – with alcohol-fueled twits running them. And there’s the other problem – hot beer. No ice – no beer. Hot beer’s good for one thing only: making bread. Guess you could bake it on the grill, but….

  • 5 gina Messina // Sep 2, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Being a hedonist, I would add a 10″ battery driven fan (CVS 14.99) old style stove top coffee perculator (Ace hardware) & porta chef (BBQ Grill Stores) And, if you are a lunatic like me, 2 large coolers which will be filled with ice blocks made in advance from all the tupperware in the cabinet. Blocks last several days. One cooler to store goods from freezer (and beer/wine) & one for daily use/storage. Porta chef runs on butane cans for indoor use. We have 3 & set up stations like a hotel buffet for fab gourmet meals. Also have coleman oven for baking on grills once storms pass & electricity is out. We could last a good two weeks…then have to resort to lizard cerviche…

  • 6 Jan Norris // Sep 2, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Absolutely: Empty the freezer of big roasts now!!! Don’t buy anything you can’t cook and consume in one day. Load up the freezer now with jugs of water (pour out 1/2 cup for expansion). They serve as both clean drinking water and ice blocks – which do indeed last longer than cubes. A full freezer stays cold longer, but prepare ahead!
    Lizard ceviche – hilarious – and I’m stealing that one. (I’ve eaten fried iguana, but that’s another story.)

  • 7 ksteinhoff // Sep 2, 2010 at 10:24 am

    The best investment we ever made was a generator.

    I bought a 3K unit after Hugo and didn’t use it until 10 years later, in 2004. It had enough power to run the refrigerator OR a small window shaker AC unit and a couple of lights.

    By the time the second storm hit in 2004, I upgraded to a 7.5K unit, wired my breaker box so I could drop it off the power grid and could hook it up to the generator. I can’t run everything in the house, but I can have lights, ceiling fans, fridge, etc.

    I also bought a conversion kit so the unit will run on gasoline, propane or natural gas. It is SO nice to be on natural gas and not have to worry about running out of fuel or having gas go stale.

  • 8 Dan Oliver // Sep 2, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Dearest Jan,

    Alcohol fueled twits? I’ll have you know, I don’t need alcohol to injure myself with a chainsaw. It just comes naturally, which is why I don’t own a chainsaw. Better advice? Sell your chainsaw, get some ice and sit back and have a couple of cold ones while John Matthews tells you of the coming Armaggedon that never materializes. The other tips are good though. 😉

  • 9 ksteinhoff // Sep 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Five years ago, people in New Orleans were wading water.

    Six years ago, we were wondering if Hurricane Francis would ever move on after pounding us for 12 hours.

    Here’s a video worth watching done by two New Orleans journalists who used their bikes to get to their own neighborhoods as the water was creeping into their homes:


  • 10 Charles Keefer // Sep 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Better yet, tickets to Las Vegas.

  • 11 Anjelica Pellegrini // Oct 19, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Hello! I’ve been following your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!

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