Monday, August 29, 2011

When Life Throws You A Hurricane, Throw A Hurricane Party!

As you ALL know Hurricane Irene slowly trodded it's way up the Eastern Seabord of the US yesterday. I think it is still hitting Canada. The excitement here in New York City began Thursday when I was with a co-worker who excitedly decided to take Friday off in order to purchase one of the only generators making their way into the tri-state area before the weekend. By Friday there was talk of a subway shut down and I decided that DH and I should get to the supermarket early instead of waiting until Saturday morning when it was forecasted to already be raining.

No one was sure if Irene would be a category 1 or 2 by the time it made landfall in the US. But everyone was sure it was coming. There was no spinning out to sea scenario. And the community responded. Lines at the checkout counters at grocery stores boasted 30-60 minute lengths. The line at Target was equally as long. And the energy in the air was a restrained frenzy. I was certain the the kids had picked up on the emotions wafting in the wind because they were buzzed with unusual excitement, not to mention stubborn crying fits and all out public meltdowns.

DH and I hit Fairway at 3pm on Friday. The parking lot was packed like the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I made a list for my usual Fairway items. I tried not to buy more food than we needed just because I was anxious about the storm. I did not buy eggs and milk or meat because we would be going to the farmer's market in the morning before the storm got too bad. Unfortunately, after we had returned from the store, I got an email from a friend alerting me that all NYC Greenmarkets would be closed for the weekend to keep anyone from getting injured due to falling trees or debris. I was very uspet, and of course I was lacking in milk and eggs. Still, there are other stores within walking distance of my apartment. So DH and I agreed, the 4 pound grass fed pork roast that was taking up way too much room in the freezer was getting evicted, and what better way to weather a massive hurricane than by drinking beer and eating pork tacos with good friends? We had just planned a hurricane party!!

But while the paty was fun, the pork was good and the beer was cold (the tortillas were unfortunately not my best, but at least we didn't run out), I write this post to remind all that our choices in food are subject to our situations and availabilities. I was unable to get my wonderful milk this week. And so I had a decision to make. I could choose conventional milk that had been conventionally pasteurized or I could choose organic milk that had been ultra-pasteurized. I knew my kefir grains would not be able to thrive on UHT milk. And I don't think highly of UHT milk, nutritionally speaking. But I was concerned about the conventional milk. While many dairy farmers do not use growth hormones and some do not administer unnecessary antibiotics, I the consumer have know way of knowing if that is the case for this jug of milk, for me, today. I decided that I would buy both. I bought organic for the kids. One week of UHT milk will not likely hurt them in anyway. And I bought conventional for the kefir and my own coffee. It isn't enough to say 'eat this, not that', different people have access to different foods for various reasons. And I found myself faced with store closures and flooded roads. Sadly, my milk example is trite. How long would any of our food ideals hold up when faced with shortages, hunger or true natural disaster? So we make the best choices we possibly can, with what is available to us.

The storm was not a bust. The rain we got was torrential. And personally I am supportive of the way the city government handled the storm. No New Yorkers were killed during the storm and likely only minor damage was sustained because people reacted responsibly. The eye made landfall around 9am in Coney Island and by 9:45 I saw a strage patch of sun on the horizon in the direction of LaGuardia Airport and Yankee Stadium. Then I watched that patch of sun march up I-87 until it kind of blended in with the surroundings. Creepy.

I haven't left my apartment since 10am Saturday morning. I am itching to get out and so are the kids. What a crazy wet weekend!!

If you got caught by Irene this weekend, what did you do in the storm?

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