I have been trying to think through the logistics of meal preparation in the event that something should happen and I am not able to use my stove. I could have to leave the house or the utilities could be unavailable, or I could just be camping, but whatever the issue, if I no longer have access to my stove to prepare a meal, what will I do?
I have talked to some people and they are looking at using propane or kerosene stoves. I like propane stoves and have used them while camping as they are really convenient, but one of the draw backs to the stove is that they require fuel. If you are planning on cooking on these stoves for an extended period of time, then you will need to have stored enough propane or kerosene to be able to run it for hours at a time for two or three meals a day.
If you are going to cook on the stove, then you need to have some pot or pan available to hold your food. Depending on the kind, these will need to be washed which means you will required hot water. If there is one thing that we should know, it is that dirty items will breed bacterial which will make you sick and cause you a lot more problems than not cooking in your house. You can heat the water in your dirty pot or pan, but that is not always recommended as you will need to deal with the aspect of soap. You do not want to leave soap on the items that will be cooking your food as that will cause more issues with your stomach.
When I camp, depending on the size of the camp, I use two metal buckets that can be used to simply heat water with but there are plastic wash basins that you can buy so you only have to heat one large pot of water. Now when looking at heating water, we now require you to use more of your stored fuel so that means you need to store even more fuel.
The easy alternative is to use a campfire or other similar container that can handle either a wood or charcoal fuel fire. Wood is nice in that you can generally find it anywhere but make sure you have some way of starting the fire. Solar ovens are also a good alternative and you can build those yourself.
When looking at cooking, you are going to need a heavy pot or pan that can stand up to the intense flame of an open fire. Cast iron pots work great here. They can retain the heat well and will heat evenly. They do not require washing with soap so that is a bit easier on your stores. You will still need to wash utensils, so don’t think that you are off the hook with being clean.
When we prepare for disasters, we need to be thinking about the daily activities that we will need to continue to do in order to survive. Cooking is something that we need to take seriously and something that should be practiced before you need the skill. Similar to gardening, it is fine to plan on what to do but if you have no practical experience, you are more likely to fail at the task. You should trying cooking over an open flame or over your camp stove. See what it takes to cook the meal and clean it up without using the luxuries that your house might provide. It will help you identify areas in which skills need to be developed or refined.