No Power? No Problem. Real Vegan Eats After Irma
Originally posted on 9/27/2017 for Huffington Post
Hurricane supplement. We’re heading into Labor Day weekend. I hope it’s sunny days and clear skies for you. But all of us on Florida’s east coast are bracing for Hurricane Dorian. Stay safe and nourished, fellow Floridians.
We love our devices, laptops, cellphones, lights, stoves and especially in Florida, air conditioners and refrigerators. But for generations, we did without them, because they didn’t exist. We got along, anyway. After Hurricane Irma knocked out the state’s power grid, most of Florida got a taste of what those days were like. They didn’t taste good. I’m not advocating a return to a simpler, unplugged age— I’ve been as hot and cranky as everyone else. I am, though, advocating a return to basic home cooking. because even in the stressful, sweltering mess after a hurricane — or an earthquake, fire or flood — we still have basic human needs. Like eating.
Pricy meal kits won’t help you now. The ingredients just spoil. Fast. Your usual refreshing smoothie isn’t on the menu, not without fresh produce and a workable blender. So what do we eat? What do we cook? Nonperishable food is far more than the chips, cookies and other processed food that make up most hurricane survivors’ diets . Whole grains and beans predate fast and processed food by centuries. They’re pantry-friendly, and guess what? They don’t always require cooking.
Canned beans are already cooked and convenient and like all beans, offer fiber and protein to nourish you through difficult days and sticky nights. Bulgur, or cracked wheat, just needs water to plump up and rehydrate. It’s fiberiffic and so versatile, you can change it up every meal. Bulgur porridge with dried fruit and nuts for breakfast, with blizzard of fresh herbs, chopped tomato and cucumber for a pita and tabbouleh lunch and this no-cook, no-fridge pilaf with fresh greens and canned chickpeas and tomatoes for dinner.
Get some goodness into you after Irma, throughout Whole Grains Month and all the time. And remember — we are never really without power.