A stress eater’s guide to surviving Hurricane Irma

Here is a list of the food I bought in preparation for Hurricane Irma: 

  • Nutella
  • Chickpeas
  • Amy’s Organic gummies
  • Stuff to dip into Nutella
  • Two bottles of Malbec

From this list you can see that I have absolutely no idea how to shop for a hurricane. Sure, I got a few pallets of water and some tuna. I even bought some evaporated milk because the nice lady on the news recommended it. But what kind of meal was I planning for here?

Though I am not a Hurricane Andrew vet, I am not necessarily a hurricane newbie, either. 

But Irma was different. The combination of the words “Category 5” and the images of Houston under water from Hurricane Harvey got Miami — and me — in a serious frenzy. I had friends evacuating before they heard an order from the mayor. People were swarming Costco and fighting over bottled water. I waited in 30-minute lines to fill up my gas tank twice, only to be told that there was no gas to be had. 

I fielded calls from family and friends from up north. “When are you leaving?” “Why haven’t you evacuated?” “Do you need money for a plane ticket?” “Are you insane?”

All this is to say that Hurricane Irma had me stressed as we prepared for what could be The Big One.

Obviously, I could have used this hurricane as an opportunity to jump start a raw food diet. But when you are faced with nature’s uncertainty, you don’t want to be all hangry. And the moment my sister-in-law showed up with her two sons and a trunk full of provisions, it was apparent she knew what she was doing. Hurricane prep is basically like stocking a vending machine. No Cheeto left behind.

Before the storm and while we had power, we had to cook all the food that could go bad, so our Friday night meal included: 

  • Shrimp in a tomato sauce
  • Sauteed Alaskan cod
  • Avocado salad
  • Trader Joe’s Dumplings
  • Trader Joe’s Cheese sticks
  • A giant vat of oatmeal (to use up all the milk)
  • Two-day old rice
  • Two-day old mac n’ cheese
  • Half a container of yogurt
  • Half a loaf of two-day old banana bread for dessert

We paired all of this with a few bottles of Prosecco that had to be consumed before the barometric pressure dropped, which according to the internet could make bubbly alcoholic drinks spontaneously pop their corks. So wasteful.

As the winds picked up and the power went out, I started stress eating my way through the industrial size Nutella container. I began dipping sliced apples (the healthy choice). Then pretzels. Later, tortilla chips became my Nutella delivery system.  Sunday’s winds whipped my windows and my mango and avocado trees’ roots held on for dear life. I know because I watched this from behind my impact windows dipping a Kind bar directly into the Nutella container. 

By the time the worst of Irma had passed, I had sampled every flavor of Sun Chip and eaten all the pretzel shapes in creation. I developed a sommelier’s palate for Amy’s Organic Gummy flavors (don’t bring me Berry Patch when I asked for Summer Fruit).

There is no more Nutella in my house. 

Monday morning, we began our clean up in earnest. There were a lot of fallen tree branches and palm leaves to pick up. And a lot of empty Cheetos bags. 

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