Cooking up a storm

 

Many may remember Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and the inevitable question during its aftermath: “What’s for dinner?” 

Local author and cook Lori Adams has come up with some tasty and remarkable dishes for when Mother Nature takes us by surprise – all using items from her hurricane supply kit.  

She recently demonstrated some of her quick-and-easy creations in her home in partnership with the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. 

Delicious meals made from canned sweet baby carrots and new potatoes, couscous smothered in stewed tomatoes, black olives mixed with anchovies and capers, chick pea hummus and salmon pasta rosa were whipped up and served to foodies-at-heart in her cosy kitchen. 

The hurricane cooking demonstration provided quick and simple recipes, useful kitchen tips and a disaster supplies checklist, which was given to all guests.  

 

Keep it simple 

Adams emphasised people shouldn’t wait to buy supplies in a panic – prepare ahead of time. Go to the supermarket and choose healthy items that are good for you. Keep it simple: pick quality tinned foods and healthy ones like rice puddings, good-quality vegetables and tinned meats. Don’t end up with products you do not like, she noted. 

“Choosing the right products ensures that later on you won’t be stuck with things you do not use,” she said. 

While serving bowls of dried, cholesterol- and gluten-free nut snacks to guests, Adams related how she always keeps chickpeas in her hurricane supply cupboard as it is an easy and healthy snack. 

“I thought we were well prepared for the hurricane but found out different when salt water damaged all our stuff. The important lesson I learnt was to write names on canned goods. After the water removed all the labels, I was left wondering what was in the cans.” Left without a kitchen, and a lot of spoilt meats, cheeses and other foods due to the power outage, Adams was lucky to find her little Coleman camp stove in the bushes and this was what she used to prepare her meals. Before that, she scoured the land for firewood. She advised that if people don’t have access to a stove or grill, they should make their own fire pit. “I found my little camp stove invaluable,” she said. 

 

Pre-cooked foods best  

As Adams prepared a snack of hummus made from the chickpeas to spread on crackers, she explained that people should stock up on foods that do not need refrigeration and are easy to prepare, particularly pre-cooked items. 

Next on the table was a meal of couscous cooked with bullion cubes and topped with stewed tomatoes and spinach leaves. “What is good about these recipes are they are super easy because most of the food is already cooked,” she said.  

Guest Googie Stone liked all of the dishes. “They were yummy. My kids should be thrilled when I go home to try them out. By the way – my kids think I am a dreadful cook,” she laughed. 

My favourite dish was canned new potatoes, sweet baby carrots, parsley and chicken pieces stir fried in butter. Chicken for this meal was cooked once supermarkets re-opened after the hurricane and the Adamses could purchase fresh goods.  

Adams said these days there are a lot of items in the supermarket, such as seasoned tuna fish, packaged salmon and noodles to give variety that was not there before Hurricane Ivan.  

Some of the dishes were so good, I wondered if a few were handed-down traditions. According to Adams, they were all handed down from Hurricane Ivan. 

She said it took her years to get over Ivan, the ninth anniversary of which is marked in September. She hopes to finish the hurricane recipe book, which will also chronicle her family’s experiences during the storm, by September 2014. 

“Hopefully, by the time 10 years rolls around, I won’t be crying so much and will be more humorous,” she said. 

Adams is a life member of the National Trust, which welcomed her sharing of her craft and knowledge with other members.  

Danielle Vernon, National Trust development and marketing coordinator, said, “The class served as an important reminder of the essentials we need to stock up on during this time as well as fun and tasty ways to dispose of all of your leftover hurricane supplies at the end of the season.” 

Cooking-up-a-storm-Cayman-Lori-Adams

Lori Adams serves a guest a bowl of chickpea hummus. PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY

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