Thursday, January 21, 2010

Disaster Cooking For Lots of People

Another lesson to learn from the Haiti earthquake is that with a lot of people in distress there will be a need to feed them. Even if the food from the stores are looted a lot of that food needs to be cooked in some way. Especially things like rice and beans, which take a lot of water and heat to cook.

75% of American homes have a grill in the backyard. This means that most people have a backup cooking system in place already. After about a day without power you are going to need to cook any uncooked meat from the frig as it will be getting too warn in there. You may get a couple of more days before you have to do the food from the freezer.

A typical 20# bottle of propane will run for about 10 hours depending on the output of your grill. An important thing to do is to conserve fuel. Cook as much as you can in one go. If you can't fill the grill, you can always add a pot of water to boil to make safe drinking water.

If you have a side burner you can just use that and it would use a lot less fuel because you have the heat focused on one pan.

If, like me, you are part of a group preparing for a disaster and you have a place you can setup as a shelter you may end up trying to feed hundreds of people. Then the equation chances. To give you some perspective try the Manual of Army Cooks and Manual of Army Bakers.
These are old manuals from before WWI, which would be close to the level of technology we would have after a major disaster.  They even have plans for field expedient ovens.