When The Lights Go Out

With the great East Coast Earthquake behind us and Hurricane Irene fast approaching, it’s about time for some disaster preparedness here at ES. This weekend I suffered one of the scariest things that can happen to a food lover…the dreaded dark fridge.

It was Sunday morning when I realized the freezer wasn’t working. Water was dripping from the ice box, the M&M’s ice cream cake a friend brought over the night before was a mess (possibly the best thing to happen from all of this), and the tequila was near room temperature. There was much frustration in the household. The BF and I are not practical grocery shoppers, we’re menu-specific shoppers. If we need ingredients we tend to buy them for the meal we’re going to cook. But this Sunday we wanted to go out and do a full shop, for the coming week or two. A lot of the items on our shopping list we were going to freeze, so we decided it was best to hold off, reset the freezer and hope for the best.

Ten hours later, upon our return home, the power in the fridge was gone too, the beer was warming and the butter was soft. What to do?

We had no ice, it was late and we didn’t have a cooler at hand. We reported it to our landlord, opened a beer, then another and another — it may have been a Sunday but I wasn’t letting those Buds go to waste. That’s right, I said Bud.

The next day I was readying to throw out the condiments, but Bonnie Benwick over at The Washington Post informed me that most condiments will last up to three days. Since mine were primarily vinegar and soy-based, with little dairy, we were good. Salvage possible. We lost butter, cheese, milk, cream, eggs and some greens, fewer victims than I had originally thought. Tuesday I picked up some ice and threw what was left in a cooler. The repair guy scheduled for Wednesday, but I knew the fridge wouldn’t be ready for at least another day, a near week without the cold box.

Our laziness was a blessing. If I was a more active grocery shopper we would have lost a great deal of food, not just wasteful but costly. Have you been in a similar situation? What tips do you have for saving the contents of your fridge?

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  • PlethoraOfPinatas August 26, 2011  

    You lost the butter? It doesn’t need to be refrigerated! I keep a half-stick of butter in a covered tray on the counter for spreading on toast. It will go rancid in a hot room, but it takes days or weeks to do so.

    The same thing with eggs. As long as they aren’t broken, they should last a few days unrefrigerated.

  • Russell Warnick August 26, 2011  

    @PlethoraOfPinatas it seems I need educating on the art of salvaging goods, I’ll be sure to research a little more should this happen again.

  • ML August 26, 2011  

    Thank god those Buds didn’t go to waste…..

  • PlethoraOfPinatas August 26, 2011  

    @Russell – ML is right, you saved the MOST important items 🙂

  • erica August 26, 2011  

    i don’t keep a lot in my fridge, though at the moment it’s full of garden produce waiting to be canned or given away, and four jars of fermented cabbagey-things for the winter… i worked hard to make that spicy turkish fermented cabbage and would cry to see it spoil, BUT with my new canning skillz, if the fridge died i could still boil the jars (even if on a camping stove) and preserve the contents, sans probiotics.

    and THAT a large part of why i cherish my ever-growing collection of home canned food. no refrigeration needed! the food didn’t go to waste! hooray!

  • erica August 26, 2011  

    that *is* a large part, i should say.

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