Packing and cooking ……… for a tropical storm or hurricane

I keep 6-8 cases of water in the garage all summer and fall now, so in the pandemic we do not have to run into crowded stores.

The minute I hear a ‘watch’ is up for our area, these are the first precautions I undertake:

  • Inventory the freezer and refrigerator;
  • Reorganize the freezer and refrigerator – if the power goes out certain foods can be quickly accessed;
  • Begin organizing condiments and designating coolers that can be used: dairy, meats, produce, snacks, etc.;
  • Buy triple the amount of ziplock freezer bags and sandwich sized plastic baggies. Freeze butter and cut into cubes and place in baggies in the dairy cooler, if the power goes out;
  • Plan out the first 4 days of meals. They should be able to be reheated on a grill. (Buying a plastic French Press for coffee and a cast iron griddle pan can do wonders on a grill.);
  • Paper products- biodegradable are best but in this pandemic without a dishwasher best not to cross contaminate;
  • Stock up on ice — if you have extra room in the freezer;
  • Purchase smaller plastic containers of almond milk or other nut milk; 
  • Also, hard salamis and hard cheeses last much longer;
  • Store eggs in a plastic container – label and date.
  • Anything that comes in cardboard will fall apart so think plastic mason jars.

When the storm becomes a Warning!


Get emergency kits ready;

A blender that works off your car charger for smoothies’;

Make sure everything is labeled and dated. 3- day rule for meats, prepared foods once open and homemade foods.

If possible, pack a set of cast iron pans.

Clean the grill and have extra propane.

And, check with neighbors – especially the elderly – include everyone in meal delivery. (Neighbors may even have extra freezer storage space.) Collaboration and community are vital at times like these.

And remember… 

Plan to eat main meals at lunchtime.

Involve children in the process. (Let them make the snack bags.) 

Think healthy – stock up on masks, gloves, antiseptics…and follow guidelines.

Top items to make:

French toast or waffles (reheat in pan on grill)

Mini quiche and frittatas

Flat breads for individual grilled pizzas

Pasta, cook up two different types

Chicken parmesan with pasta one night and

Chicken parm hoagies & pasta salad the next night

Morning Glory or bran raisin muffins for extra fiber

Smoothies – either bottled or prepare and place in plastic mason jars with lids.

Flour tortillas for sandwiches and quesadillas on the grill

Fresh fruit and some produce 

Everyone wears gloves so make sure you have plenty.


A graduate of Johnson & Wales, Judi has managed restaurants and owned restaurants in the northeast and was the founder of a successful dessert company. Today, she is a sought-after restaurant consultant, TV cook on the ABC affiliate in her hometown, and culinary editor of a city magazine. Her personal passions are culinary travel to exotic places and holiday cooking in her home for huge gatherings of friends and relatives. Her guilty pleasure? Bruce Springsteen concerts. “I follow him around the country and have for years,” she admits. “But, in every city where Bruce sings, I do check out new restaurants and talk to up and coming chefs. I want all the food news I can get.”

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