Dear Glutton: Food for Doomsday

How to weather the storm

Texas Farmers' Market at Mueller (Photo by John Anderson)

Dear Glutton,

Being cooped up this weekend during the storm brought to light the fact that I have almost zero emergency food supplies, and to be honest it freaked me out a little. What's a good way to get ready for doomsday without buying one of those end times prep kits they're always advertising on public access?

– Scared and Hungry

Dear Hungry,

As someone who spent the storm stuck in her tiny kitchen baking more bread than she could eat and making not one but two kinds of meatballs, I feel you big time on the necessity of doomsday snack prep. Aside from extreme weather conditions and bouts of agoraphobia, sometimes it's nice to come home late from work (or a night out), and know that past you has taken one for the team and made dinner. Besides, nothing makes me feel more adult than knowing I have my pantry on lock. Well, that, and paying my own taxes, which is considerably less fun.

So let's get you started with a look at your freezer. For me, the best freezer meals can be stored in discrete and mailable units, so you can unpack and defrost according to your whims. There is a certain charm in being the kind of person who has a freezer full of casseroles, but that's big league, Midwestern mom level stuff. Unless you're very lucky, you probably don't have the fridge capacity to dream so big. Instead, start out small by batch cooking and freezing your favorite cocktail party appropriate bite-size staples. I'm thinking of the aforementioned meatballs, but also dumplings, pierogi, and egg rolls. You're probably already familiar with my love of H Mart and their dumpling wrappers, and Phoenicia has a mean phyllo dough in stock if you like spanakopita, which are surprisingly easy to make and fun to fold into those neat little triangles. It's worth perusing their extensive selection of preserved and pickled vegetables while you're there, as well.

But let's talk about the worst-case scenario. Say the power goes out for longer than the sporadic bursts of darkness we're sometimes plunged into by our overburdened electrical grid, and you're using the gas stove by candlelight. What happens now? Now, my friend, is the time for canned goods. You could go full Little House on the Prairie and do your own (and there are certain things, like strawberry jam and kimchi, that are worlds better if you make them at home), but thanks to a burgeoning artisanal canning and fermentation movement, there are countless places in Austin where you can prepare for the end of the world in style.

The first thing I'd do if I were you is take a trip to the Texas Farmers' Market at Mueller and scope out the scene. There are bigger markets in town, but the market at Mueller has one of the best selections of prepared foods of any of the regular markets, so it's worth taking some time to walk the aisles and see if there's anything that appeals to your prepper sensibilities. Get a jar of creamed honey from the Austin Honey Company, which is delicious spread on toast (maybe a loaf from the Texas French Bread stand, or GFY Kitchen if you're gluten free), and has the added benefit of being antiseptic, if things get really weird. Get a couple of bottles of nice vinegar from The Vinegar Joint, some dark chocolate from SRSLY Chocolate, maybe a little hard cider from Texas Keeper Cider. It's all delicious, locally made, and good for you, and I think we can both agree that it's much more fun to wait out the end of the world with artisanal jams than a barrel full of freeze-dried MRE kits.

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Texas French Bread, GFY Kitchen, Austin Honey Company, SRSLY Chocolate, The Vinegar Joint, Texas Keeper Cider

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