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Northeast prepares for storm: Hot meals with no power?

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Millions of Americans in the Northeast are at risk of losing power as they prepare for yet another onslaught of snow, ice and high winds. News agencies on Wed. reported that nearly 150,000 residences in southern states have already lost power. Many of those same Americans depend on electricity for both their cooking and heat. For them, no power can also mean no food or water.

If you have not yet lost power, there is still time to prepare.

How to prepare meals in advance in anticipation of power outages

If you have a fireplace, wood-burning stove or charcoal or propane grill, a little pre-planning can ensure you can still eat hot meals without electricity. Here’s how:

* Locate your grill and/or woodpile in an area where you will still be able to access it in deep snow.

* Make sure you have an ample supply of propane or charcoal and lighter fluid.

* If you don’t have any cast iron cookware, now would be the time to get some. A Dutch oven works for almost anything, but a large skillet will do well too.

* Prepare several of your favorite one-pot meals and freeze them.

* When you lose power, remove the frozen meals from your freezer and transfer them to a cooler kept outside. (This is to prevent you from having to open your freezer more than absolutely necessary, thus safeguarding the contents from spoilage.)

* Transfer the meals as needed to your cast iron cookware and reheat over wood embers in your stove or fireplace or on your propane or charcoal grill.

Special Note: Also be sure to buy an ample supply of potable water. Since many residential water pumps are electric, a power outage can mean loss of water as well. Save water from bathing and washing dishes to manually flush toilets.

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