We’ve had our first dump of snow already which, going on the previous couple of years, suggests we could be in for a long drawn out winter. If it’s anything like last year we need to consider that we will at times be stuck in our houses lamenting the fact that the roads are clear but our stingy councils can’t afford to grit the pavements so getting to our cars or doing any form of walking is near on impossible.
I read this week that Tesco have been training their staff how to drive snowploughs which I assume is to clear the car parks rather than to bolt onto the front of their home delivery vans, so in preparation for the days stuck at home I have put together a guide to what food you need to have in stock. Tell the country that they need to prepare for staying at home and the Supermarkets will immediately run out of Pot Noodles, Baked Beans and Ready Meals. People panic and think that being stuck at home means you need to eat like a poor student, when you absolutely don’t. When the weather warnings come I suggest the following.
In times of crisis, it would be very easy to slip into vegetarianism as there are not too many options for canned meat, but I am going to avoid that. Instead, remove those oven chips from of your Freezer and make sure you have a good selection of frozen meats. I suggest a couple each of beef mince, lamb mince and chicken thighs. If you love fish then add some also, but if not, then add more meat of your choice. Also in the freezer pop a large stem of ginger. It is incredibly easy to defrost and will add fresh flavours to your dishes rather than using the powdered versions. To finish off the freezer fill all remaining room with bread.
Into your cupboards, make sure your herbs and spices are topped up. This will be the difference between your food tasting bland or not. Remember stock cubes.
Into the fridge the key is to have a few small cartons of milk. When you open a large carton it is going to go off quickly whereas smaller cartons will stay fresher for longer unopened. You could get long-life or freeze your milk, but I personally find they both taste horrible. Eggs and Cheese are fridge essentials along with butter. I always have about six jars of pickled Jalapeños in my fridge but that is my personal choice. I would normally never suggest you used this but have some ready to go garlic in the fridge. It is never as good as the real thing, but I know I personally couldn’t go more than a couple of days with no garlic in my food. When it comes to salad, unless you are willing to dine out on soggy brown lettuce you can forget about it.
What you have in your cupboards is critical. Throw the beans away if you need to make room as I am about to go a bit Delia Smith on you (remember her “How to Cheat” series?). What you need to have is a selection of canned vegetables. I’m talking peas, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, carrots etc. Load them up. Having these in reserve will mean you essentially have all of the goods you would have in the fridge, which would go off, ready to go at any time. They won’t taste as good, irrespective of what Delia says, but you will at least be eating real home cooked food rather than ready made rubbish. Finally don’t forget tins of chopped tomatoes and puree.
Dried goods wise I suggest you have a wealth of rice, lentils (you have the ingredients for a lovely dhal), sugar and flour. If you are stuck at home you will almost certainly at some point crave sugar and with the butter you have in the fridge you can now make a sweet.
Food wise you are now set and all you have to consider is that you have enough tea bags, washing powder and a cupboard full of red wine (optional).
Being stuck at home can be cosy and fun, but miserable if you feel you are going without – so make sure you don’t.