On Hurricanes, Refrigerators, and Wedding Ice Cream

Right now there are a lot of people without power across the United States. Are you one of them? I am.

No, I am not in Texas, but apparently Ike took a hike all the way up through the Midwest, causing huge windstorms along the way. Power lines are down, street signs are snapped, and stoplights dark all across my city. And of course, there are plenty of fridge casualties.

This isn't new to me; I lived through three hurricanes in one summer in Orlando, but I didn't expect them to follow me to the heart of the Midwest!

So I'm brushing up on my safety lessons. What do you do when your fridge goes out all night, and stays out? (We probably won't have power back until Wednesday.)

Here are the Red Cross guidelines, quoted from their website.

• If your freezer is fairly full and you know it was not longer than 24 hours, the food should be OK. There will be loss of quality with refreezing, but the food will be safe.

• If the refrigerator was out for more than 2-4 hours, you are best to discard the perishables.

• Temperature specifics: If the food in the freezer has ice crystals and is not above 40 degrees you can refreeze.

• Perishable foods in the refrigerator should not be above 40 degrees F. for more than two hours. Use this chart to see what has to be discarded and what can be kept.

• Direct link to the Red Cross guidelines: Safety Chart and Food Safety Guidelines

Regular readers know that I'm baking my wedding cakes and churning homemade ice cream for my wedding coming up this Sunday. This obviously throws a wrench in things - but you know what they say! Terrible weather around a wedding means a start to a great marriage! So we're soldiering on - thankfully there was no ice cream made yet, except a test batch, and just one chocolate cake - which will keep. We'll need to pitch out all the good organic milk we bought for ice cream, but we're taking our chances on the 11 dozen eggs; they are usually OK without refrigeration and they'll be cooked anyway.

Are you reading from the office and without power at home? How is your refrigerator, and any tips for folks eating, staying cool, and living without power in their kitchens right now?

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