August 30, 2011

CF121 – Hurricane Food

CF121 – Hurricane Food

Show Notes for Episode 121

This is Jeff Young, the Catholic Foodie at and you are listening to episode 121 of the Catholic Foodie: Hurricane Food.

Welcome, Folks, to the Catholic Foodie, Where food meets faith! I’m your host Jeff Young and today is August 30, 2011. Yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and just a few days ago, Hurricane Irene barreled up the eastern seaboard. Since Hurricane Season does not come to an end until November 30th I thought it might be appropriate to talk about hurricane food today, especially in light of a tweet I received the other day from Fred Kiesche. I’ll you more about that in a bit.

My friend Marcelle Bienvenu wrote a great article about Katrina and a cook. I’ll tell you about that. And about two recipes too: Oysters Lafitte and Shrimp and Grits.

And what do a fussy baby, a beautiful sunrise, and Mary have in common? They are all tied to this week’s Mary in the Kitchen with Sarah Reinhard.

All this and more right here, at the Catholic Foodie, where food meets faith!

As we start this episode I want to thank our sponsor, You will find all things Liturgy of the Hours at Of course, the Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Church, and it is prayed several times a day by priests, religious, and laity all around the world. It is a treasure-trove of grace, and a rich education in prayer. If you have never prayed the Liturgy of the Hours, I encourage you to give it a try. And makes it very easy to do so. You will find the Hours available there in text format, and also in audio. You can subscribe to the podcast version, or download the iPhone or iPad app. There’s even an app for your iMac or Macbook. And now there are apps for your Android and Nokia. But the most important thing you will find at is a living community of prayer. So, come join us in prayer. At

Hurricane Food

Just last week, as it became apparent that Hurricane Irene was planning to travel up the east coast, Fred Kiesche, sent me a message on Twitter asking if I had any food advice. He was looking for a good recipe to keep his mind off of Irene’s impending visit. Unfortunately, I did not answer Fred right away. I was in the midst of my own preparations for a big event in our parish, and I didn’t notice the tweet until later. Sorry about that, Fred. I hope all is well with you and yours now that Irene is gone.

But, I have to say that Fred’s question has stuck with me. And since we do still have another three months of hurricane season, it might be a good idea to think about food in a hurricane.

When we talk about food in a hurricane, we are really talking about three phases: preparing for, surviving during, and enduring the aftermath.

Truthfully, these phases are not mutually exclusive. There is some bleeding over the lines here. Still, let’s start by talking about preparing for a hurricane.

Hurricanes bring power outages. You could be without power for a few hours, or even a few days. Or, as we saw with Katrina, you could be without power for weeks. So you have to keep that in mind as you prepare for a hurricane. What are you going to do with food you already have on hand, perhaps in the fridge or freezer, and what kinds of food are you going to purchase to ride out the hurricane?

You know, Louisiana is known as the Sportsman’s Paradise. I have friends who have hundreds of dollars worth of meat or fish in their freezers. Whether it’s deer, or grass fed beef, or bass, speckled trout, or flounder or catfish, you want to protect your food assets. If you really do have a stockpile of meat or seafood in your freezers, then you really want to consider getting a generator. Or inviting the neighborhood over to eat before the storm.

I remember for Katrina that my father-in-law was particularly concerned about his wine cellar. He has quite an investment in that cellar. Normally, it is climate-controlled. But, you can’t do that without power. Fearing that he would lose power during Katrina, he purchased a generator ahead of time. In the end, that generator saved him tons of money. It saved his investment, because they ended up without power for over a week. Now, that means NO air-conditioning. In August. In South Louisiana. You talk about hot! It’s unbearable. Especially for a delicate, well-aged Cabernet, Bordeaux, or 1961 Chateau Latour.

When Katrina hit, we evacuated to Baton Rouge. In retrospect, we did not evacuate far enough away. But we were with family, and that made it better. Actually, several families were together. And I remember eating pretty well for the first several days. Anticipating the loss of power for an extended period, lots of folks who evacuated packed their freezers into ice chests. Ice chests work for only so long, so we kept dipping into those chests and pulling out steaks and roasts, catfish and bass. I have to tell you, it was some good eatin’. Thank God for propane grills and burners. You have to be careful though. If you cook more than you eat, then it has to go back into an ice chest… unless, of course, you have a generator.

But, besides what’s already in your freezer, what do you need to buy when preparing for a hurricane?

Bottled water, flashlights, and batteries immediately come to my mind. Ice for ice chests. Filling up the gas tanks before the gas stations run out. Cash from the ATM. Those are some of the first things I think about when a hurricane is approaching the Gulf coast. Oh, and then there’s the required rations of beer and other adult beverages. You know, there’s a reason why South Louisiana is known for throwing hurricane parties.

But, aside from all of that, what about the food?

I recommend stocking up on food that will keep. Not junk, but food that you won’t have to worry about refrigerating. Canned tuna comes to mind. Crackers, because they keep longer than bread. You could probably stock an ice chest with a few days worth of meat, if you are evacuating to a place where you will be able to cook. Or even if you are staying put at home and riding out the storm. There’s nothing wrong with stocking up your ice chests, as long as you have enough ice on hand. Don’t forget paper plates. Washing dishes by hand in the dark is not fun.

Here is some practical information on food safety from that I found to be very helpful. You will find a link to this information in the show notes over at

Hurricanes and Food Safety at

Marcelle Bienvenu

My friend Marcelle Bienvenu who is a food writer, journalist, and cookbook writer just published an article last week in the Times-Picayune, New Orleans’ local newspaper, about a determined cook who is hand-copying her recipes that she recovered after Hurricane Katrina. I found this story fascinating and I want to share it with you.

Read the article here: Determined cook is hand-copying her recipes recovered after Katrina.

Michele Montalbano shares a few of her recipes with Marcelle for this article. Two of them really caught my eye: Oysters Lafitte and Shrimp and Grits.

I also want to mention that I had Marcelle Bienvenu on the show here at the Catholic Foodie a couple of years ago… back in July of 2009. It was episode 30, entitled “Give Me That Louisiana Cookin.’”

In addition to that episode, I also reviewed a cookbook that Marcelle co-edited with Judy Walker of the Times-Picayune. The cookbook is called Cooking Up a Storm. And it was a labor of love. After Katrina, Louisianians who were displaced, all over the country, and who lost their cookbooks and recipes, were missing their Louisiana cuisine big time. They started to write to the Times-Picayune from all over asking if the newspaper could send them this recipe or that. That sparked a new initiative at the paper… a new column called “Re-building New Orleans One Recipe at a Time.” That project eventually yielded a cookbook: Cooking Up a Storm. I did a video review of that cookbook back in July of 2009. You’ll find a link to it in the show notes over at

Mary in the Kitchen

Thank you so much, Sarah! That was Sarah Reinhard, folks! You can find more of Sarah’s work, including her recently published Advent book, Welcome Baby Jesus over at A big thank you to L’Angelus for allowing us to use their Ave Maria in the show. You can find L’Angelus at

This brings us to the end of the show, folks. I certainly hope you have enjoyed it.

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Until next time… Bon appetit!

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