As you may have heard, Halloween came early to New England this
weekend, in the form of an out-of-season snowstorm of heroic
proportions. It wasn't the the storm that was so bad, but the
damage it inflicted on the trees, their boughs still laden with
unfallen foliage--perfect for trapping heavy, wet snow. All
night long we heard the CRACK! of living branches ripping off
living trees, to land precariously on power lines and even bring
some down. We woke to a white world, abounding in impassable
roads, but completely free of electricity.
What does one cook without power or running water? You might
think: raw foods and salad. Or: Nothing. But the
answer is actually: Whatever needs using up before it spoils.
That means, meat first. Yesterday we ate the whole
chicken I got on Wednesday. We braised it with a scattering
of prunes and almonds, after the Moroccan fashion. It was
hard cleaning the pan afterward, with its patina of
over-caramelized onions, but an hour of scrubbing and soaking did
the trick. It's not like there was anything else to do.
After dinner, we slept for the entire 12 hours of
We'll probably be blacked out for another few days. But
our household was lucky in many ways: we have a woodstove and
plenty of firewood, a propane-fueled range, and a supply of water
form the school across the street, which has a generator.
Twice a day we hook our router up to a portable power station
for our Internet connection. We miss our oven and we're
slightly dirty, but we're pretty comfortable. The kids even
had their Halloween. We'll freeze the ice packs outside at
night and load them in the fridge during the day. The menu:
chicken, chicken, pork, lamb, beef, in order of expiration
I'll see you in a week, when I'll be back--a little grubby, but
well-rested. And very well-fed.