The people interviewed for the AJC article talked about what they had learned: walking instead of driving to local grocery stores, making meals out of what was already in the pantry, sending kids out to slide down snow-covered hills on things people in the north would not have thought of as play equipment, and meeting and talking with neighbors they had previously only waved to in passing.
What I learned, on the other hand, is that there is only a snowball's chance in you-know-where that I could make anything edible out of what was in my pantry.
While I was housebound, I took everything out of the pantry to see what was in it. I found lots of antiques--- antique spices, grains, evaporated milk (best if used by 2005), very antique canned soups (I will not admit how old those were). I found a few things I had put in my own containers when I bought them years ago, but had not labelled, so I didn't even know what I had. Flour? Powdered milk? Cornstarch? I don't know.
And I found things that were still good, but that had been buried so deep in the pantry that I hadn't seen them in years: confectioners sugar, unopened spices and dark brown sugar. (At least I assume they are still good.)
But there was nothing in the pantry that could be combined to make a meal. Most of my adult life my husband has travelled for work, sometimes on short notice, and so planning meals a week or a month (like one of my sisters-in-law) in advance has never worked for me.
After I emptied and then re-organized the pantry, I had empty space. I still have empty space and no idea what to put in it. I bought soups, beans, pasta, sauces, different kinds of rices, tomato products galore, and still----empty space.
What I have learned from the recent snowstorm is that I am not an organized and resourceful cook, but what I have NOT learned how to be one.
note: AND I just found in my refrigerator cream cheese: use by 12 Aug 2007.
Is a personal chef expensive?