Culinary Emergency Preparedness

This casserole gets classed up a bit for company with tarragon, cognac, fingerlings and peas.

by Karin Duncker • Member { View Profile }

A week ago we had a record-shattering blizzard. Three months ago, the “storm of the century.” Considering the meteorological walloping the East Coast received recently, it’s no surprise a lot of people are thinking preparedness. Water, batteries, generators and the like are hot items. Even my local coffee shop is stocking DD batteries right there on the counter next to the sugar and coffee stirrers. A frenzy of milk and bread buying ensues at the mere mention of the word “storm.” All of that is good. After what we’ve been through, “better safe than sorry” isn’t a bad idea. But what about being prepared for less climatic and climactic events? That’s when a box mix and a covered dish come into play.

I once pooh-poohed the idea of always having a prepackaged mix around as a pantry staple too. I laughed when my friend told me of her mother’s advice to always have one handy for emergencies. In my mind, box mixes were relegated to the same bucket as TV dinners — maybe when I was a kid, but that was before I actually learned to cook. That was, until I found myself in a situation where I really needed one. It’s not all that uncommon. Kids let you know they promised the teacher they’d bring in cupcakes for class tomorrow, just as you are tucking them in? No worry if you have a box-mix, (and you didn’t need that extra hour or two of sleep anyway). Want to invite that cute and single new neighbor moving in to drop by for coffee when he’s finished unpacking? If you just happen to have something fresh out of the oven to nibble on you definitely up the odds of future nibbling. And what if you find out last-minute you need to coerce colleagues to come in an hour early tomorrow for your new pet project? Mention you’ll bring some baked goods from home, because if you feed them, they will come.

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