I write this from Greenwich Village, as Hurricane Sandy (or Blizzard, or Nor’easter or Frankenstorm or whatever) rapidly approaches.
What you’re seeing is a photo taken from my living room window about a half hour ago. A mighty wind gust — the strongest I’ve heard since the storm began — knocked this tree down, and onto Houston Street, blocking what little traffic was still on the streets. For those unfamiliar with Manhattan, Houston is a major east-west artery.
I will be honest: although I am an armchair natural disaster enthusiast, I did not take this storm very seriously. An inattentiveness compounded by another factor, which is that in recent months, I have not troubled myself much with the use of my kitchen. (Turns out that a combination of dating, writing about food, and living in Manhattan means that you almost never have to cook your own food.) So prior to yesterday the inventory of my fridge was precisely this: diet tonic, skim milk, a selection of fine cheeses and chocolate truffles.
The single girls guide to survival requires a little more than this, though. And so yesterday, I stocked up. I am now the proud owner of a whole bunch of bottled water. Several cans of tuna. Tomato soup. And Nutella, and peanut butter and good bread. Granola bars. A whole box of mini black and white cookies. PopChips, barbecue flavor. Gourmet crackers, for the cheese. Bacon. (If the power goes out, I will cook it all on my gas stove and eat it, piece by piece. There are worse ways to go.) I panicked last night and ordered a whole bunch of sushi, now in my fridge. Which I will eat for dinner tonight or when the power goes out, whichever comes first.
The problem is that instead of sensibly ignoring this food supply unless and until I need it, I’ve been playing a variation on the drinking game, as I’ve had the news on in the background all day.
Every time they say “not since 9/11,” referring to the stock market being shut for two days in a row, I go to the fridge and open the container of black and white cookies. Sometimes I eat one, sometimes I don’t. Every time they say “storm surge”, I go to the cupboard and look at the bag of PopChips. I might have opened it. It may be almost empty now. I can neither confirm nor deny.
I guess this is called stress eating. I have heard about this before, from travelers who have gotten stranded in hurricanes, although they are usually on a Caribbean Island, and therefore on vacation — no one expects those people to behave sensibly. But when one is home there is something extra stupid about eating one’s survival stash because one is stressed out.
Learn from my mistakes, people. I sure hope I won’t have to.
Alison J. Stein
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