Safely Prepare Meals

steak cooking on a grill over an open fire

When bad weather brings with it a loss of power, we’re often stuck wondering what to do for our family’s meals. Sam and Ellie, during today’s episode of Summer Snacks with Sam & Ellie , are discussing alternatives when you have no power to cook your meals.

PLEASE NOTE: Please plan ahead and KNOW what type of cooking stove and fuel you are using. There are many that ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT be used indoors. Don’t add to the already challenging situation you’re in by using a fuel that causes Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Remember, you can’t see or smell this gas. If you’re not sure, get a small, battery-operated, CO detector with an average price of $20. Place it in the area where you’re cooking to be sure you’re safe. Better yet, cook outdoors if possible or find a fuel that’s safe indoors and possibly slightly open a window near the cooking area.

CLICK HERE for the pdf transcript if you like to read along while watching our video.

There are several types of stoves available today:

  • small ones that would easily fit in a backpack
  • alcohol-fueled
  • butane-fueled
  • propane-fueled
  • canned heat (like Sterno)
  • wood or charcoal
  • candles (yes, it’s slow but it can help when you have no alternative – those little ‘tea candles’ can certainly heat a can of soup or boil water for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate!)

cooking over a small backpacker camp stove

Do your research. Some are safe indoors. Others are not. Be prepared and remember that baking soda poured over a grease fire will help put the fire out. Again, do your research.

Practice for Preparedness

Most importantly, take a weekend and have a ‘pretend’ emergency situation. Have the entire family take part. Maybe even try 2 or 3 different stoves – indoors and outdoors. Give everyone a task. Make it fun and enjoy your meal!  When the family practices in this way, an emergency situation will not feel so scary. You’ll be prepared. Each family member will be able to help. Action helps us feel as if we have some control over the situation, which in turn, makes everyone feel more positive about the emergency at hand.


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Between us, we have over 100 years of experience, and Sam’s only 40!
If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to
sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.



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