• Sharing Mayo Clinic

    Tasty Tips For a Hurricane or Other Disaster

I woke up to a sound I had been dreading – rain. And lots of it, hitting the window of my bedroom. With the steady downpour of water and swaying trees, it was clear that Hurricane Irene had officially arrived in Jacksonville, Fla. What a day to start my internship at Mayo Clinic!

I hurried my customary morning routine as I knew I had to leave earlier than planned to compensate for potentially hazardous driving conditions. And although I arrived on time – albeit a little wet – little did I expect that my first task as an intern in the Public Affairs Department would be appropriately related to the hurricane and disaster preparedness.

Within the first hour on the job I found myself side stepping massive boxes of cooking oil, cereal, tomato sauce and more, as we visited the pantry at Mayo Clinic to talk to Ron Stone, the assistant director of nutrition, who shared tips about how to make nutritious and tasteful meals out of canned goods. He also shared recipes created by Mayo’s dietetic interns that had my mouth watering. Who would have thought you could create quesadillas or chocolate peanut butter pie without electricity?

Despite being from Pennsylvania, where I’ve lived through more than one natural disaster, I was almost looking forward to our next power outage. Some tips I learned are below.

First, while it may seem obvious, it is important to eat the food from your fridge first, the freezer next, and after that move on to foods you may have stocked in your pantry. Do not discard frozen and refrigerated foods right when the power goes out. I was surprised to learn that foods from a well-stocked freezer will last up to 48 hours!

Second, make sure you have a manual can opener. Although it seems obvious, it is easy to forget that your electric can opener will not work.

Finally, stock up on some tasty condiments and seasonings. Certain condiments like mustard, ketchup and relish are good for days with no refrigeration. And these will help you spice up the usually bland pre-packaged foods.

Oh and one last note – grab some powdered milk. Even if you’ve forgotten the hand cranked can opener, you can always just add water and have the breakfast of champions anytime of day.

By Autumn Roth, intern