Hurricane Irene and What We Ate: Observations from NYC

Hurricane Irene and What We Ate: Observations from NYC

Stephanie Barlow
Aug 29, 2011

Many folks in New York City weren't exactly sure how to prepare for this weekend's potentially huge hurricane. Since my apartment wasn't in an evacuation zone, I planned on staying inside all weekend and catching up on some projects and cooking. However, when I remembered I have an electric stove, and when I didn't stock up on ingredients in time, I joined the masses stocking up on...well...junk food.

When I ended up going out to dinner with friends on Friday night instead of grocery shopping, I prepared for long lines at my local market Saturday morning. But I didn't prepare for my market, along with Whole Foods and many other food shops, to be closed.

At the stores that were open, my fellow last minute shoppers were armed with food that college freshman would pick: chips, peanut butter, soda, and vodka. I'll admit, I picked up a bag of Snyder's buffalo wing pretzel pieces without much of a fight: Why follow my usual food habits, this was disaster I was preparing for! Sure, I grabbed bananas and apples, too. But after my boyfriend and I finished eating chips, pretzel pieces, and frozen pizza Saturday night I thought: If the power goes out, this food is going to make me feel a whole lot worse than living without power.

I'm sure anyone who has experienced a hurricane before could have told me to start preparing before Saturday (and they did). I filled up my bathtub, prepared flash lights, and stocked up on foods that wouldn't perish quickly. And fortunately for much of the East Coast, the storm fizzled out quite a bit before it even got here. But it's a lesson I'll remember: prepare early and rather than revert to college food habits, use what I've learned in the years since then to come up with creative and nutritious food.

Do you find yourself stocking up on junk food when preparing for bad weather?

Related: What Are the Best Foods to Prepare Before a Hurricane?

(Image: Christopher Robbins/

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