The Daily Meal’s Guide to Cooking Through a Natural Disaster

Helpful tips and recipes to help you stay well fed during a natural disaster

With Hurricane Sandy quickly approaching, many of us living in the coastal towns of the Eastern Seaboard are preparing for the arrival of strong gusts of wind, heavy rainfall, and potential flooding. Staying safe is on the top of the East Coast’s list of priorities right now, and so the Cook editors at The Daily Meal want to do their part in making sure everyone stays well fed throughout Sandy’s attack, and through any other natural disasters that might come our way.

One of the biggest threats of a natural disaster is power outages. Strong winds can cause power lines to go down and stay down for multiple days, and not having power takes a huge toll on our kitchens and cooking capabilities. Everyone has a natural disaster checklist to run through when preparing for a storm, but there are a few key things you can do to prepare your kitchen.

Water supply is one of the most important things to keep in mind when preparing for a storm and its after effects, so make sure you’ve built a good supply with bottles of water and filled pots and pans. As always, stock up on nonperishable items such as canned and dried foods and organize them somewhere in plain sight so that they can be easily found when there’s loss of electricity. Prepare for easy cleanup by gathering any disposable tableware you have to eat off of, such as plastic utensils and paper plates and napkins, and make sure garbage bags are nearby. For those with gas stoves, keep matches and a flashlight nearby to assist you in carefully lighting your stove top in the event that there’s no power, and make sure your fire extinguisher is close by and working. Camping supply stores can be your best resource in these times, as they sell equipment such as outdoor camping grills and non-electric portable stoves that can help you put food on the table in the dark.

As Sandy approaches, we hope everyone is taking all necessary measures to stay dry and safe over the next couple of days. Use our checklist above as well as these helpful guides and recipes we’ve gathered from The Daily Meal to help you prepare for Sandy and any other hazards that might stop us from working in our kitchens.  

Pantry Items

The number one tip for surviving a natural disaster is making sure your pantry is well stocked. Here is our guide to the 12 most essential pantry items to have on hand in any event, hurricane or not.

Click here to see the 12 Essential Pantry Ingredients Slideshow

Quick and Easy Recipes

With the storm coming, there’s not a lot of time to be preparing four-course dinners that are expensive and time-consuming. This roundup of quick and easy recipes can be your resource for stress-free, last-minute meal ideas to whip up before a storm hits.

Click here to see 20 Quick and Easy Recipes


Salads are great to make in the event of natural disaster because they only require one perishable item. Other salad staples like onions, vinegars, oils, and dried fruits are nonperishable, making them easy to eat when there’s a loss of power or if you’re stuck in one place for a few days.

Click here to see 7 Ideas for Fall Salads

Quick and Easy Pasta Recipes

While you’re building your water supply, boil a few batches of pasta to keep on hand for you to make some of these easy pasta recipes.

Click here to see the 6 Quick and Easy Pasta Recipes 

Stocking a Smarter Pantry

Our guide to stocking a smarter pantry provides lots of good tips and recipes that can help you get prepared for the storm as well as put perishable items to good use.  

Click here to see how you can Stock a Smarter Pantry



Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce