Although non-traditional cooking is a skill that survivalists, campers, and hikers cultivate, it is not always an apparent option when a sudden emergency impacts power. Even for people who live in suburban and metropolitan areas, the prospect of not having electricity will also tend to mean that food preparation becomes a challenge.
Although some methods of preparing food without an actual stove or electricity can be more applicable for certain environments, the following points can be integrated into nearly any lifestyle, to ensure health and safety during these specialized circumstances.
- Sterno cans – these can be ideal for indoor and outdoor environments, since the flame is compact and contained, and the fuel can also be re-lit after it is put out. It is necessary to make sure that there is an ignition source for the fuel, so water proof matches and igniters are also necessary.
- Camping stove – these can also be applicable for indoor and outdoor use, since the cooking surface is compact and the propane fuel burns cleanly.
- Kerosene heaters – while these are more frequently used for warmth when the power is out, pots and pans can be placed on the cage above the wick to make a good temporary cooking surface.
- Grills – many people can forget that they engage in outdoor cooking willingly, and the grill is one of the most overlooked resources for cooking without power, especially in more suburban settings.
It is important to note that using alternative cooking methods indoors will require venting. Even with clean fuel sources, the flame will consume the oxygen in the room, so for the sake of safety, a window should at least be partially opened.
Along with the heat source for making food, it is also important to have the appropriate supplies that will further facilitate making dinner without a stove. These types of items can include:
- Flame proof cookware – especially enamel cookware, which is designed for campfire cooking.
- Long-term food storage and food kits – although the above heat sources can be used to make a variety of fresh meals, cooking over sterno or a heater can be limiting. Easy to prepare foods, like ready to eat meal rations or even nuts and freeze dried foods are also handy.
- Utensils and insulation – cookware that is placed directly in the heat source can be harmful to handle, so having insulation such as oven mitts, towels, or extra clothing can keep a person from getting burned.