The least that can be said about being stuck without electricity is that it sucks. It’s horrible. Even if you weren’t watching TV, you suddenly have this strange desire to watch Kardashian reruns, there are no lights, you can’t charge your phone and everywhere is cold (luckily, your home contents insurance policy covers the food in your fridge). But worst of all… you can’t cook. We’ve all been hit by mealtime load shedding, which leaves us with about two options – eat cold or eat out.
Eating out is the lekker option, but your wallet and cholesterol probably doesn’t agree. That leaves eating cold, but cold Bully Beef and baked beans very soon lose their appeal. We, at Budget Insurance, will no longer stand for this. Thus, we’ve compiled a list of ways to still feast during these dark times.
When the lights are out, the braai burns bright. Don’t add mealtime worries to your day’s stress. Dress warm, get the fire going, and sit back and relax while your meal cooks. Whether it’s a Weber, a campfire, a build-in braai or an earth oven, fire is an excellent cooking tool. Ask any South African worth their colours – you can always cook a well-balanced meal on the fire. For protein, there is the usual: wors, chops or chicken (basically any meat you want – cook meatballs or patties on a cast iron pan or simply cover the grill with tinfoil). For veggies: roast mielies, peppers or black mushrooms as is or put a cast iron pot on and let them suckers steam. Then there is the starch: you can bake bread, put a few (sweet) potatoes on the coals or toast the much-loved braaibroodjies.
Gas or camping stoves come in very handy during these darker times. Just make sure you have gas. Also, remember only to use your gas stove in a well-ventilated room or outside. These are perfect for quickly heating milk for your bedtime coco.
Think about all the deliciousness in your fridge right now – aren’t there enough goodies in there to put together a decent sandwich? Simply, buy bread or buns on your way home from work, and let the sarmie-building begin. You can even turn it into a family-sarmie-tournament, where the best, the juiciest or the most creative sandwich wins a big BAR.ONE.
Roasting marshmallows over a candle is the perfect ending for a dark meal. Give each family member his or her own candle and sosatie stick, put out a bowl of marshmallows; and desert is served. To give it a little more oomph, put out dipping sauces such as condensed milk or melted chocolate and sprinkles such as crushed nuts or 100s and 1000s. If you have a little more time on your hands and a lot of patience, you can try to cook over a candle flame – give the viennas a smoky taste, you know.
Noticed how traffic jams just blow up when there is load shedding? Make the most of a horrible situation, use the heat of your car to cook. It’s been advised that amateurs should stick to frying eggs and bacon (or baking cookies on a hot day). However, Myth Busters put car-cooking to the test resulting in an (apparently) delicious Thanksgiving lunch. If car-cooking is a bit to out there for you, you can build your own temporary grill. All you need is a container (can, oven pan, empty flowerpot or wheelbarrow), tinfoil, a grill and coals – cover the container with the foil, top it up with a couple of coals, put the grill on top and you have your very own DIY grill. If you feel a bit more adventurous (and are confident in your DIY skills), try to build an Apple Box Oven. With this nifty homemade oven, you’ll still be able to bake all the goods for the kids’ bake sale the next day, without losing sleep.
Remember, however, to never leave an open flame unattended, and always make sure that the coals are dead, the gas is turned off, and that the candles are blown out before turning in or leaving the house.