What is there about an impending storm that makes me want to cook? I just found Pintrest and I was up before dawn looking for recipes that are adaptable to storm cooking. I was particularly interested in crock pot cooking. That may seem silly, You do, after all, need electricity to use a crock pot. But I have found that a cast iron dutch oven can double as a crock pot, no problem. I am making a dutch oven chicken this afternoon. My plan, as I fear we may lose power before we eat, is to get the dutch oven hot, sear the chicken on both sides, reduce the heat to low on my gas stove, cover the chicken with a mixture of Italian dressing and brown sugar and let it simmer. If the power does go out, my stove still works and the chicken will continue to cook. I will serve this with brown rice and kale. I found a recipe for baked apples on Pintrest that calls for cooking in a crock pot. I’ll adapt those to a cast iron skillet version with the apples chopped rather than whole.

Sometimes we get bogged down with recipes. I suppose there are some fussy things that require exact measurements and cooking techniques but most plain cooking is flexible. My mother rarely followed a recipe (bad example-my mother was a dreadful cook)-let’s say my mother-in-law rarely followed a recipe and her food was always delicious. Now is the time to experiment. Everybody needs their own cookbook with their own recipes adapted for available ingredients and cooking options. As the climate becomes more unstable we may all face periods of no electricity or disruptions in food supplies. You need to know how to cook with the food you have stored or preserved. I’ll bet there are families out there right now looking at #10 cans of dehydrated corn and wondering what the heck to do with it. I went through Pintrest looking for recipes I can adapt for use with stored food. Alright. I also found recipes for some decadent drinks and fancy desserts but for the most part I was looking for plain food. Isn’t today the perfect day to spend with your favorite cookbooks or recipe sites and a notebook?

I did want to put a plug in for Sharon Astyk’s new book, Making Home. She sent me a copy a few days ago and it’s a gem. I don’t say this lightly. There are a lot of books out there on adapting to an energy constrained fututure and this is about the best. It’s is quintessential Sharon, elegant and literate, down-home and wise. You won’t get advice on choosing solar panels but you will find a direction for making your house home in good times and bad. I plan to order copies for each of my children and donating one to our Sustainability Library.

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