Let’s face it, cooking is a pain in the butt. Not cro-magnon-I-have-to-kill-a-mammoth-first pain, but it is certainly a distraction from things I would rather be doing. So, luckily for day-to-day survival, my wife is the primary mammoth hunter of our clan. Not to say I don’t do a good deal of cooking, cleaning, and prep-cook work, but she’s the top chef. When she’s gone, dinner becomes an issue… yeah, I know it’s always an issue, but I mean an issue for me.
To make it easy to care for our kids, when my wife is gone for the evening I will sometimes turn off the lights, light some candles, and pretend there’s been an earthquake or some other catastrophe. Not only does this lead to entertaining apocalypse conversations with the kids, but this means that we get to eat Spam and freeze dried stuff! As an added bonus, I can say I’m training them for if there’s ever a real event.
For the simulated catastrophe I use our stove. It’s cheating, but the whole point is to keep it simple, right? In a real apocalypse I have my barbecue with plenty of propane on hand, as well as our two-burner propane camp stove with plenty of propane bottles. If you ever do have to do this, cook outside due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In addition to fryin’ up some Spam, we’ll try out various Mountain House freeze dried meals or just ransack the pantry for some canned peaches or something. If they’re lucky, maybe I whip out the Bisquick for some flap-jacks. In any case, we eat in apocalyptic style.
She does not leave often, and is usually not gone for more than a night or two, but she just left for a two week trip. On the way home from the airport we stocked up on some essentials we may need before it gets too dog-eat-dog out there.
Ok, now for the end-of-the-He-Man-episode-lesson-learned message. In all seriousness everyone should have an emergency kit. There are many sources out there with recommendations for what you should have and I recommend you spend some time researching the topic yourself. But, for some basics, according to the American Red Cross, you should have a three-day supply of food and water per person if you must evacuate, and a two-week per person supply on hand in your home. I consider this a bare minimum. Also, consider keeping your 3-day supplies (or at least a smaller kit) in your car. You never know when you may end up stranded in your car, or disaster striking when you’re at work.
Red Cross Minimum Recommendations
- Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Flashlight [Available on the Red Cross Store]
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit [Available on the Red Cross Store]
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket [Available on the Red Cross Store]
- Map(s) of the area
- Check out their page for more items
I think it’s important to add to this a book or two and some easily transported games. Many games can be removed from their unnecessarily large boxes and placed in Ziploc bags. This keeps them dry and makes them easier to transport. Some of the games I like for easy travel are, Carcassonne, Saboteur, Marrying Mr. Darcy, Snake Oil, Munchkin, and the potentially appropriate Zombie Dice. There are many more small, yet entertaining games. If you have a favorite, buy a second copy to keep with your go-bag. Games are a great way to keep you and your family members’ minds active and off of whatever mayhem may be transpiring.
So remember, kids, it’s better to be prepared than sorry, and, if the clan’s top-chef is ever out of the house, you’ll be set for up to two weeks. More, given that you can eat the missing spouse’s food!
Check out other GeekDad posts on emergency preparedness.