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How We’re Eating During the Power Outage

We’ve just entered day five (5!!) without electricity, running water or heat at our house here in Fairfield County, Connecticut. As of yesterday morning, all of our family that lives nearby had also lost power, so there is no refuge. So, let’s be real about this: having no power or running water sucks. It’s hard on everyone, the kids, the dogs, the adults. But we are making do. We’re even eating hot homemade meals again.

Honestly, had I known on Sunday that we wouldn’t have school for a week (it’s set to resume Monday) and that we’d be without power almost the entire time (current projection is for our power to be restored by Sunday at 11 p.m.), I would have packed the kids and the dogs up and headed south to visit family in Florida or west to Michigan. But at this point, those drives just seem too far for a short trip.

In the meantime, we have to eat, right? So I figured I would show you how we’ve been coping with our prolonged power outage. Mind you, this is what we’re doing. Someone else is likely doing something entirely different.

First, I should say that we are extremely lucky to have a small generator that my husband bought on Sunday. It’s powering my fridge, a small space heater, my computer and the internet. It also is running one small kitchen appliance at a time. I know just how blessed we are to have this, and know how much harder it is without this.

This is our small space heater — the only source of heat in the house at present. We move it between the rooms to keep things at a not-freezing temperature. The wires criss-crossing around it go from the main generator hook up to the few things we have powered up. You can imagine how having this in the center of our house makes it hard on the kids and dogs since they can’t run or really play much with this there.

We don’t have a fireplace, so this space heater is a must. It blows hot air out of the top opening.

In the kitchen, we have one line that runs directly from the generator to the fridge and a second one from the secondary generator hook up for running small appliances. We move it between the coffee maker (thank goodness my Keurig is working again!) and this double burner hot plate. While we were okay for a couple days without hot food, we really needed this to get back some sense of normalcy in the house. Thankfully, this is something we’ll be able to use after the outage as well (perhaps I can even make some cooking videos with it? what do you think?).

We don’t have running water because our house has a well (no power means that the well pump doesn’t run). So I bought one of those jugs of water with a spigot for the kitchen. That’s what I am using for cooking water, dog bowl water and sort-of washing the dishes water. I say sort-of because without running water, it’s near impossible to really wash then. But again, I am making do.

Since our fridge is operational (a big blessing), we have veggies and cheese all ready to cook. When I went to make dinner last night, I found this assortment in the cabinets and fridge. I knew that I wanted a quick meal because it was getting dark fast, and that it needed to be an all-in-one solution nutritionally.

Some leftover Brussels sprouts also went in. I had to cut them on this plate (which I also ate off of) in order to not have to wash the cutting board. We have to use disposable plates and cups as much as possible so that we don’t run out of dishes or stink up the house with unwashed ones. Again, without running water, washing dishes is close to impossible.

Since the power went out at about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, I didn’t have a chance to run the dishwasher or do laundry. I’d been busy all morning buying groceries and other needs for the storm. So, we have limited pots and pans available. Also, we have to be careful to quickly clean everything as best we can using water and paper towels to keep it all in rotation. So, instead of a skillet or pot, I used this small pan to brown the mushrooms, cook the Brussels sprouts and assemble the sauce.

I’m not sharing the recipe for this — at least not yet — since I didn’t write it down and the results will vary when made on a normal stove in the appropriate pans. Perhaps I will remake it though and share later — the kids loved it.

So, this is how we’re eating now. We also have a grill, but it’s been buried in snow and I haven’t dug it out yet. That’s another cooking option as well — and one that I remember using back in the 80s when a similar storm struck my New York hometown.

Have you ever had a prolonged power outage? How did you cope?


Thursday 3rd of November 2011

I surely hope your power comes back soon - your entire situation with no means to cook, no doing laundry, and heating with a space heater makes you all sound like college students!

Patti Villers

Wednesday 2nd of November 2011

I second what Julia said. I applaud your spirit.

You really painted a picture of what you life has been like.

Hope the power comes back before Sunday!


Wednesday 2nd of November 2011

Wow, you're doing a great job making due, for sure!!!!