Will Hurricane Sandy cause people to re-think too small?

columbiascNovember 4, 2012

As I watch news coverage of people in New York City digging through dumpsters searching for food and asking "when is the Government going to get here" I have flashbacks of several small homes (apartments/condos) featured on Small Space Big Style where the occupants proudly proclaimed that they had no need for a kitchen of any kind because they always go out for food. I'm wondering if Sandy will cause some of them to re-think practicality and self sufficiency.

Yes, I understand that the power is out so they couldn't cook any stored food but if they had some freeze dried or dehydrated food and a little Jet Boil kit like the hikers carry it would sure make life a whole lot more tolerable right now.

On a grander scale, I hope everyone around the Country is seeing this and making a mental note to follow FEMA's well publicized message, "Get A Kit, Make A Plan".


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I think the main thing right now is not just having food but the freezing temperature at night that dip down to the thirties..I think that takes precedance over food...I'm in NJ (near Philly) and luckily we did not lose power but I couldn't imagine how cold these people are... And yes I think a catastrophe will make most people rethink practicality/self sufficiency...

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:37PM
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Yes we are as prepared as we can get. You never know what miracle of nature is going to hit. We already have been hit with a 100 year flood. We do have a three burner stove on the front porch that runs on propane and we have a couple hundred gallon propane tank at the ready if needed. We also have a propane heater that does not require electricity to work. Many states do not allow these heaters.

We have a food store dry and canned and frozen that would easily last three months and longer but it would start to get pretty boring. We have lots of LED lights and candles if needed. Stove top coffee maker. Water for the town is artesian (SP?) so we all should have water. Not a lot of it and every one would have to conserve.

since we do not live on the coast or any where near. I would hope our house would still be standing. Even after the flood and FEMA telling us our house was destroyed beyond repair we still had some thing left to rebuild. My heart goes out to all suffering from Sandy. I know all too well how it feels. It is not good and hope the people will also get some mental coaching for the after effects of PTSD. It will happen. I also had it even though I thought NOT ME. Please urge the people to take the coaching the Red Cross will give out. Right now they are running on empty but when the feelings start to really come back it is a double whammy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flood damage. Been there done that. Hugs to all. So sorry.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:31PM
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"the occupants proudly proclaimed that they had no need for a kitchen of any kind because they always go out for food."
I think that is an extreme and I could not imagine not having a kitchen. I've seen what passes for a kitchen in some newer apartments. The 2 cabinets are slapped against a wall with the fridge/stove squished next to each other. How could you relegate the most important room in the home to an afterthought ?
You can still cook when the power goes out NYC has mostly gas cookers. I was able to cook during the last big blackout.
I am happy to live where I can walk to everything--the gas disruptions are causing people to lose control(there's been violence on lines). I went out yesterday morning and couldn't believe the line of parked cars in line for the station to open.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:16AM
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I personally have never read anything about anyone not wanting a kitchen at all. Even the most fervent non-cook likes to have a drink of something close at hand or a few cookies to munch on.

I have a large kitchen myself, and I cook almost every meal at home. Nonetheless, when we lost power for a week-long ice storm, my kitchen was useless -- except for storage. We ate sandwiches and snacks. We went out. I took my crock pot to work and plugged it into the electricity there. Having a big kitchen vs. a small kitchen was neither a help nor a hurt in that situation. Having a pantry full of ready-to-cook food wasn't particularly useful.

When a hurricane comes our way, we do prepare: We buy plenty of junk food that can be prepared without real cooking. We buy bottled water, and we fill the tubs so we can use that water to flush the toilets. We charge up our cell phones /extra cell batteries, iPad, and Kindles. We gas up the cars (and don't park them side-by-side so the same tree can't take them both out), fill the gas cans for the generator. We check our stash of batteries and candles. We do lots of things to prepare.

I am with you on one topic: Every household should prepare itself rather than waiting /hoping that the government will show up and save the day.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:16AM
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"...I have flashbacks of several small homes (apartments/condos) featured on Small Space Big Style where the occupants proudly proclaimed that they had no need for a kitchen of any kind because they always go out for food."

Don't you think there may have been a tad bit of hyperbole served up as these those oh so savvy city hipsters spoke to the cameras?
Everyone needs a snack now and then, everyone needs refrigeration, and everyone needs a way to boil water if only for their neti pot.
They may not have a stocked, functional kitchen sufficient to prepare Thanksgiving Dinner but IMO they have some small appliances tucked away somewhere.
Otherwise the "Oh my God how will you ever resell this home?" pearl clutchers would have eaten them alive :)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:17AM
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"Oh my God how will you ever resell this home?" pearl clutchers would have eaten them alive :)

LMAO !!!!
"resell resell resell" "I'm doing it for resell."
I've looked at many properties and the items that people add for resale usually are a turn off. I want the original1920's/1930's bathroom or kitchen not the "modern" rehab that developers slap into older buildings. Yes I would not even mind the 50's "gray boomerang" vanity or pink/blk tile. as long as it has heat and hot water.
I read on kitchens that someone stated that they would never buy a house that did not have a garbage disposal. It seems that those little strainers in the sink are toxic to touch. On a scale of 1-100 of icky things I rate squashing a roach on my beautiful counters ahead of dumping the strainer. but that's just my experience. and it's not a pleasant one.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:42PM
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'items that people add for resale usually are a turn off"

same here. I cringe at some of the stuff people on hgtv are told to do in order to make their homes ready to resell.

and that strainer thing on kitchens left me shaking my head. gads, just take a piece of pt and wipe it up - or out of the strainer into the trash. how many rolls of pt to equal the cost of a gd?

I'd think everyone needs some sort of a kitchen. My old one wasn't much of one. A fridge, small counter oven, hot plate, mw and sink. But I survived with that for 14 yrs. I don't cook much but I am happy to have what will be a REAL kitchen (some day soon when the fridge gets over here). That doesn't mean I'll be cooking up a storm or regular meals tho. It does mean it'll be easier to cook up a pot of chili and put most of it in freezer containers to eat in the following weeks/month or so.

Don't those people ever have leftover take out? get sick? I get a take out dinner that makes 3 meals for me. Need the fridge to store it and mw to heat it up! And when I'm sick I'm sure happy to have a can of CN soup on hand to heat in the mw too. I always try to keep several cans of CN and CofM soup on hand. I sure can't depend on getting out to eat. i've gotta have stuff here in case I get sick and can't go anywhere.

There are some good freeze dried food out there too. I got a sample pkg of potato soup and since I've hated potato soup since a kid I gave it to my sister. She made it up (her dh even tho it's 'just add water') and he chopped up a real potato into it - and it was really, really good. I started out tasting about 1/8 of a tsp of it (I disliked it that much) and then moved up to a tsp of it... took home enough for several bowls of it. They liked it so much that she wasn't real thrilled to send so much home with me - lol!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

All I can tell you is there are quite a few kitchens that end up in green demolitions that are from these very fancy homes where it looks like the appliances were only ever dusted....a kitchen for show, not for using. A friend of mine bought one of the kitchens and he said the advantium oven still had the plastic and the user manual on the inside...never used. Go figure.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:22AM
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Many people are just too darn lazy to cook a decent meal for themselves. That's all it amounts to. Unless someone is physically disabled to the point they can't do for themselves there really is no excuse. The excuse of having "no time" is bogus as well. We all make time for what is important to us. I raised a large family, kept my home nice, and also worked outside the home. My children were not forced to eat take out or frozen dinners from a factory.

It is certainly easy enough to cook something from scratch that does not involve hours in a kitchen. Healthy meals can be made ahead and frozen or home canned for times of illness or convenience.

We've lived very comfortably during extensive power outages due to bad storms and hurricaines. We have a small generator to keep refrigeration going, and a gas range enabling us to cook. For those that do not have a gas range there is always a charcoal or gas grill. How about a nice wood campfire in the back yard for those that have one? I've cooked on those too. If a time came that refrigeration could not be kept going during a power outage, then I would choose to home can, using a pressure canner when necessary, for all our stocked foods, rather than just for some of them.

I hear many excuses, but in reality, anyone can be prepared if they really want to. People survived for centuries without take out and grocery stores.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:40AM
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"People survived for centuries without take out and grocery stores."
I agree about the takeout but I still need groceries since1)I have no land(yet)for farming2)I have no generator(fire/explosive hazard)

I say
turn off the t.v and start cooking, the more you do it the better you get, like sex.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:04PM
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As long as a generator is located outdoors while it is running, it is not a fire or explosive hazard. There are small ones that can keep a refrigerator, freezer, and a well pump operating for water, when needed, and maybe one light and a ceiling fan, and can be purchased from Lowes or Home Dept. It was under $500 at the time. It has saved thousands in food and kept us comfortable. We used it for years while living in a subdivision with all the restrictions and "proper" ways of living. I haven't blown up yet:) And my house didn't burn down either. We lived to sell the house and move out in the country (HATE subdivisions). In fact, we still use it during power outages sometimes.

I've rented apartments in my youth where I grew many vegetables in containers, and though the backyard was the size of a postage stamp, I also grew tomatoes and peppers and some green beans. Enough to have leftovers to blanch and freeze. Cooking herbs and spices grow very well in containers.

If you can get the zoning changed, where restricted, a couple of chickens are no more trouble,less noisey, and take up no more space than raising and having a dog for a pet. They lay an egg a day most of the year, and eggs will keep you alive.

You do not need a farm.

We got rid of T.V. during the previous election and have not missed it. Not once.

It does take a few years of prep work so that you don't need a grocery store very much. All I buy there now is laundry soap. I get my milk, cheese, just about everything in fact, from my back yard or a local farmer. Cheese is very easy to make from fresh milk, and when I need ricotta for lasagna I make my own. I buy a whole beef cow and put it in the freezer. It lasts us about two years. Not only is the quality excellent (100% grass fed)..... it doesn't taste like a feed lot where the cows have been eating chicken manure. Ditto with the chickens we buy. We drink fresh milk from from the same farm. I won't touch food from a store any more. It took us 3 years to get in this place in our lives though. It does not happen overnight. One step at a time.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:46PM
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Hi sandy- good tips but I live in an apartment so no backyard(window boxes w/ herbs & wheat grass though)and no generator and no chickens.
I did get an undercounter KA fridge for the overflow from my coop & the farmer's market. I cannot fit an extra freezer in here for extra storage. and since I have no generator that's way too risky. I can stir fry or make soup quick but not that much meat..
By grocery stores I meant the food distribution chain which includes coops and farmer markets.
BTW the cows have moved on to more tastier items than manure...see article

Here is a link that might be useful: article about candy & cows

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:21PM
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Part of the reason we are moving out to the country is because we are sitting ducks where we live in FL. 80% of the county would flood if a Cat 5 hit. There would be nowhere to shop, work, get gas, etc. Since the whole county of nearly 1 million people is served by bridges, the only way in or out could be boat if the bridges were damaged or submerged.

Generators are great- if you can get fuel. In our area, that would be a problem. Food with a long shelf life is always a good idea, and we are prepared to last quite a while without outside resources. Once we get established here in SC, we should get much closer to self-sufficiency.

Off topic- I have not been able to access GW for a couple weeks, and no one knows why. It seems to be something with my air card I use for Internet. For some reason, it's working today!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 4:22PM
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there are good solar generators available now. more expensive I guess but no need to have gas around to run them. The one I've seen is small (and close to 2,000) but can be moved around inside - and used inside since it's solar. i'd love to have one of those. It won't run a whole house (I'm sure they make bigger ones but the price would be also).

Raising my kids, they thought a pot pie was a treat - we very seldom had them. Don't think I ever bought any other type of frozen 'meal'. and we lived out in the country so we seldom ate out or had take out. maybe a few times a year.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:16AM
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flgargoyle-you are doing what I am considering...I don't think people understand what is ahead. No amount of preparation however will protect us if the grids go down.(can you say solar storm)I mean yes you will be able to survive but what will be happening to us as a community will be devastating.
Our entire structure is tied into electric, including the nuclear power plants. Just look at the location of the nuclear power plants across the country...They are only about 15ft above sea level...near me, where Sandy hit.
I'm getting a little annoyed with these posts on other forums telling people to just can your vegetables, buy sacks of powdered milk(yuck) and buy bulk meat and you'll be fine. I mean I can't even get people to call the Gov. to stop hydro fracking, man w/o water you're dead. But no I should live on $1.99/day by buying non nutritious, "cheap" food in bulk. Food is not supposed to be cheap, what is the true cost of the $1.99/lb chicken cutlet ?As Joel Salatin says, why shouldn't I too make a "white collar" living ? This was said after someone who was driving a merc ! complained about the price of his eggs.
Glad your air card is working !!!(is that like prepaid internet?)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 6:57AM
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ERF Cracking up about the Resale Pearl clutchers. They would choke themselves looking into our house.

I have not been to the other posts about preparation. I used to can so much of our foods. 200 to 300 quarts or more a year. Plus what I froze and we used to run two freezers. Now it does cost a lot more to do the canning and we would get tired of all of it and then later I would have to toss some of it. All that work. Sigh.

Like you we have a gas stove. Ours is outside and needs to be run outside for safety but we have the covered porch. I do not think we would ever consider not having a kitchen if we were even thinking of moving. I am too much of a cook it at home person. We have a small expensive cafe here in town and did take out one time in four years when we were into our move and I had spent the last day at the sold house cleaning for over 8 hours and I was hungry and exhausted and not really set up here to cook much yet.We had been here three days. If we want eat out we eat it out.

I have made lots of jerkey in my husbands hunting time. That will preserve meat for a long time. Should the electricity go out it can be done on top of the porch stove to save the frozen meat. Not as easy as using the dehydrator.

I do believe people need to be prepared for at least a month with some things extending further. We were fortunate friends offered us their homes when we were flooded. We were out of our house 2 months while we were doing repairs, the temps had dropped to zero and below. And we had no heat at the house until we had a wall to hang the heater back on and our geothermal heat was lost in the flood until we could get the pipes back in to bring the hot water from the hot spring but first we had to get a new septic tank and lines approved and back in not to mention the foundation back under the house.

I do not understand people wanting huge kitchens when they do not even cook. Worse I can not imagine not having at least a sensible kitchen. Our kitchen is 11 foot by 12 1/2 foot with lots of counter and yet I do 90% of my kitchen cooking work on a three foot wide counter. I have had much smaller kitchens and always made them work. We could have a much smaller kitchen but then I loose some of the storage space for the bulk items we do buy.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:54AM
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Shades-- I must give credit to cearbhaill for the excellent observation...

"I do not understand people wanting huge kitchens when they do not even cook." I agree with you Shades.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 6:50PM
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My sister in law lives in a part of Long Island hard-hit by Sandy. She still doesn't have power. She has slept in her dark cold apartment, even tho there are shelters/warming stations abailable. I have offered to go pick her up and have her stay with us 9also on Long Island but we had no flooding-just lost electric for 22 hours. She said no. Her gas stove is permanently shut off because it was leaking gas. So how does she eat? Well, she got a few cold box meals from a nearby FEMA station (in walking distance) . She also takes the bus from her town to another town nearby that has electric and open restaurants. And she eats daily at her nearby seven-eleven store. They have hot coffee, packaged sandwiches and salads, microwaveable meals and a working microwave. So she is "existing" without a working kitchen for now. Oh, she is moving out of Long Island permanently next week.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:17AM
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I recently watched a hgtv type show (raising a house?) where they go from the dream to completing it in 30 min (fast forward type scenes).

The couple in this one were building a HUGE 3.000 sf (or more) nantucket type home in IL. they might have had a teenager still home. She said she wanted a big fancy kitchen even tho she didn't cook. Maybe she had someone come in each day to cook for them?

my X was raised having a cook/housekeeper. My MIL had a housekeeper in her elderly yrs too. She came in once a wk to tidy up (was never really messy there) and cook something up. Otherwise my MIL had deli and frozen things there to eat. She could cook if she wanted to tho. She often had dinner at the country club with a friend or 2. or 'luncheon'.
We always knew when Mrs S had been there to clean - all the pictures were crooked - lol! My X would go around and straighten them.

I plan to store some of the packets of freeze dried food in containers on an upper shelf in the pantry and / or in my closet. It'd probably be better it isn't too handy or I'll end up eating it rather than go to the store - lol!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 5:41PM
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