By Melissa Dean – Special to the Navarro County Gazette

Downhome Downtown

I mean, who knew?

I sure didn’t and I try to be superbly overly and just a pain in the butt about being prepared for these instances.

It sure caught me off guard, though. I didn’t expect to not have electricity and water both. And then one, and not the other and vice versa.

It was just pandemonium.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you may have seen my post about 2021 being 2020’s drunk uncle.  I stand by that. I mean, it’s time for him to go back to the house from which he came.

I guess, I should say this for sure. I am thankful for a nice home that we were able to stay comfortable in when so many didn’t.

I am thankful that I have been sleep deprived for so long that I was able to slumber peacefully through most of the last two days, when so many did not have a warm place to land.

I am thankful that Carey Dean and I were able to laugh, love, and enjoy our time together, no matter the circumstances.

Melissa and Carey. Courtesy photo

It could have so much worse.

We had food.

We had shelter.

We had plenty of warm clothes.

And, most important, we had each other.

However, being the foodie and chef that I am, our menu choices, without electricity and water were few and far between and just not up to par. However, we made it work.

But I did want to throw my chef’s hat in the ring, and provide all of you readers with some staple items that you always need in your pantry. Just for these such emergencies.

But let’s get something straight right off the bat.

This is my list. I own it, so to speak. And I stand by it. So, don’t judge.

  1.  Plastic and paper EVERYTHING! I will never again be caught without plastic knives, forks, and spoons, paper towels, napkins, and plates and definitely plastic cups. Without water, the dishes piled up and piled up and piled up and it was almost more than I could keep up with even when the water did come back on. I am thankful for water to boil.

I am thankful for water to boil.

I am thankful for water to boil.

  • Chips. All kinds of CHIPS! Tortilla chips, potato chips, Cheetos, cheese puffs, sour cream and onion chips, barbecue chips.  ALL KINDS OF CHIPS. Because stress snacking is real.
  • Salsa. To go with the tortilla chips, of course.
  • Cans of soup. ALL KINDS OF SOUP. Now, I know you are probably scratching your head and thinking to yourself, what if there is not electricity. Think hard. When the electricity is on, you can heat cans of soup and quickly and efficiently in the microwave to have at least one hot meal. I mean, the rolling black outs at least allowed for that.  And the other intermittent outages, the same. And honestly, the grocery stores keep some excellent varieties of soup stocked on their shelves during non-snowmaggedon times. 
  • Bread. Okay, I know. Everyone has bread. But honestly, they don’t. People don’t always stock up on bread. I have recently started buying an extra loaf every time I go to the grocery store. I just put it in the freezer, but it truly doesn’t last long in there before we are taking it out to eat! And I know this goes without saying, but I can used of so many other things besides just boring old sandwiches. French toast most-assuredly tops the list and could be really fun during something as uncertain as what we have going on right now. So, when life gives you electricity, for ever how brief, make French toast.
  • Assorted nuts. An excellent snack and they can and will last through even the heinous of zombie apocalypses.  And snowmageddons.
  • Cereal and granola bars. Always. Have the bars. There are so many different varieties and so many fun versions and in times like this we all need a little fun!
  • Little Debbie Snack Cakes and Hostess Twinkies and cupcakes. Not only should you just have these anyway, but oh my gosh, it’s Little Debbie and Hostess! We have a whole tray of them that I have started keeping for us to snack on throughout the day, much to my chagrin.  Nutty Bars, chocolate Swiss rolls, Twinkies, fancy cakes, and chocolate Swiss rolls, oh my!
Snack cakes and sweets of all varieties – Courtesy photo
  • MICROWAVE POPCORN. I repeat. MICROWAVE POPCORN. Yes, I know it requires electricity. However, it literally takes a minute and half to come to life. So, I suggest that you when the opportunity presents itself, you take hold of that opportunity and run with it! Pop away!
  • And last but, not least, boxed cereal. An excellent meal, with or without milk.

Look, I know some things didn’t make the cut. Ranch dressing, tofu, H-E-B sushi (which I partook of last night), frozen pizzas, frozen anything, anything that can be nuked, etc. Milk, bottled water, diet coke, Dr. Pepper, etc.  But, again, stress snacking is a real thing that we need to deal with in this country. And by this country, I mean Texas.

And you’re welcome.

You should really consider adding this list and any of my other cool top ten lists to some kind of binder!  I can see it now.  Melissa Dean’s Top Ten Lists, right there on your bookshelf, next to Tess of the d’Urbervilles and your original copy of Gone with the Wind. Let’s make it a thing.

(Yes, friends. I will start working on it now. Another book in progress….)

I wish you a warm bed, a hot cup of coffee and lots and lots of snacks!

Oh, and don’t forget the plastic forks, spoons, knives, paper plates, paper towels, etc…. I mean it! You will thank me later!

Happy Snowmageddon 2021.

Sweet M

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