I hate talking about the weather. It seems like such a menial thing — like I can’t think of anything else to say. But over the past few days, the weather has been weighing heavily on my mind.
I’ve paid a little more attention to forecasts because there’s a storm coming. It’s a big one that could be very serious — and it may or may not hit Connecticut hard. And if it does, it could mean similar things to what Hurricane Irene and the Nor’easter of 2011 did just last year. Power outages. No running water. Intense debris clean up. Flooding.
So, forgive me if I am just a little wrapped up in thinking about the weather and preparedness. It’s reality right now.
See, we’ve been here before. One year ago, give or take a few days, we learned of a snowstorm coming our way. Snowstorms in October are rare in the northeast. They bring heavy snow, and heavy snow downs trees and power lines. So what that we have buried lines on our street? That means nothing when the above-ground lines that carry power to here are down. We were without power for a little more than five days and six hours.
Some of our relatives, friends and neighbors were without it for days longer. What made it both better (we knew what to do) and worse (we had to do it again) was that it was the second lengthy power outage in less than three months — we were still recovering from Hurricane Irene.
So this time, I’m leaving nothing to chance. I’m not waiting for what-ifs or maybes to become certainties. Instead, I have my head down, working hard to get ahead on my freelance assignments. Should the storm come and we are without power, I won’t be missing my deadlines. I’ll work through the weekend to get as far ahead as I can, while also making sure we’re ready with flashlights, gas for the generator and plans. There’s already water and some emergency food in the basement — some leftover from last year. We have enough dog food for two weeks. We’re ready.
Our town was forever changed last year. It’s evident in the emails I’ve received today from our officials, who are already knee-deep in contingency plans and readiness. Halloween — which may seem like the least of all concerns — is being discussed too. Because last year when town officials first postponed trick or treating and then cancelled it, our town rose up and said no, creating our own alternative event because we needed that lightheartedness. Should October 31 be inhospitable for traditions this year, Halloween will still go on … even if it’s a few days late and held in an alternative format again.
All this said, I am not panicking. Between our generator, space heater and hot plate, we have everything we need. We know how to survive things like this now. And even the lack of running water is no longer daunting. We know just what to do.
And in the meantime, while we wait for more concrete answers about the storm’s path, life goes on. We laugh, have family movie nights and enjoy simple delights — like this Mushroom Tomato Flatbread Pizza. It’s a quick and easy pizza for one with meaty sauteed mushrooms, sweet tomatoes and creamy cheeses. I love it on a spicy flatbread, but it’s great on wheat and other flatbreads too. It’s crazy simple to make, but so addictive too. When we had this as part of dinner recently, Will devoured piece after piece — he loved it too.
- 1 flatbread, I used Flatout's Thin Crust Spicy Italian Flatbread
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4-1/2 cup sauteed mushrooms
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay the flatbread on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread ricotta over the flatbread. Sprinkle with tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden at the edges. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing with a pizza wheel. Devour.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.