Ike and Other Windfalls

Friday, September 12th found our household in a mostly normal state. A few things were out of the ordinary: I had off from work and my husband had no class or rotations to attend.

We also had the radio on in our house, and for good reason. Dire hurricane warnings were being blasted from every device capable of communication in Houston and every store in a 20 mile radius was out of ice. We know because we looked. Unlike the rest of the city of Houston, we weren’t looking for ice for our food but for our fish tank.

We have a 150 gallon salt-water fish tank and if there is no power in the house that means the chiller for the fish tank doesn’t work. Without a chiller to keep the water at a certain temperature for the fish, we could end up with 150 gallons of tropical fish soup.

I’m all about bulk cooking but that’s not usually what I have in mind.

Husband and I were not too concerned about the whole thing; we laughed at the non-event for Houston that was Rita and our lawn got a nice sprinkle from Gustav. We figured we would be without power for a few hours and then life would go on.

Since we couldn’t find ice, we filled up plastic baggies with water and put them in our outside freezer to freeze.

We crowded our patio furniture and decorations into the living room and we settled in for the storm.

With not much to do and cookbooks in my reading stack , I decided to cook a few things from our freezer lest we lose power.

I started making pork for tortas ahogadas.

Since the preparation for that dish is lengthy, my dinner that night was not any delicious pork. Instead, I grabbed something out of the freezer to eat.

That’s right, I ate a Hot Pocket.

I was just doing my part to continue emptying the freezer. Hot Pocket by Hot Pocket.

The power went out at 11:30 pm after the pork finished cooking. I still could have kept trucking with my gas stove, though.

Our house was pretty dark. See Exhibit A:

I moved the pot o’pork to the freezer for safekeeping and was happy I did not start making birote (the bread) for the tortas ahogadas. My stove is gas powered, however my oven is not.

The next morning we surveyed the damage to our house. It was not much; we lost a little tree in the back yard which almost took out the AC unit, but other than that we were still in shipshape.

Although we did not suffer any structural damage, we did not get power back for 6 days and lost almost all of our perishable food.

SIX. DAYS. Those little baggies in the freezer were sure laughing at us.

For 5 days we stayed with friends who got their power back within 24 hours. We transported as much of our frozen food over to their house as we could. Even with the food relocation, we had over $250 worth of steak in our freezer which partially thawed and was the cause for much sadness.

We did managed to save a lot of chicken, and the tasty pork was reassigned to nachos one night and carnitas another night.

I was sad that I didn’t get to finish making tortas but the grocery stores were circus-like, so I made do.

My refrigerator and freezer and still not fully stocked yet and I’ve managed to run out of non-perishables since I brought most of them over to our friends’ house.

Usually I do my fun baking and slow cooking on the weekends, along with all grocery shopping for the week, but Mr. Ike has thrown a wrench into things along with the fact that my weekends are pretty busy now.

I managed to land a part-time job at a restaurant here in Houston and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

The reviews on it are wonderful and the chefs intimidatingly creative and good. I feel like getting all Julie Andrews on you and singing ‘I must have done something gooooooood!’

It’s hard work. I worked in retail for a long time so I can deal with the standing up for long periods, but it’s keeping all of the orders straight which makes me a bit cross-eyed.

I get orders called to me without being able to see a ticket so I better be able to keep 7 orders of salads or desserts in order without missing one. It’s difficult but I enjoy it and I’m learning alot.

I’m proud that I’m in there and I already have a lot of food and technique knowledge I just need to work on my plating and balancing flavors.

I’m a slave to recipes something I’m trying to come away from but one thing at a time right?

For now I’ll worry about restocking my larders and not forgetting anyone’s orders on the weekends.

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