Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

On days when the weather is terrible, food often tastes the best. However, with limited resources, cooking in severe weather can be tricky.

The weather is never predictable.

One moment, people are experiencing the sunniest of days, perfect for serene and peaceful picnics outside. And the next, they’re met with the strongest winds and heaviest rains, flooding their cities until they can no longer quickly go out to enjoy a delectable dinner in their local restaurants. Once the winds come rushing in and rain pours heavily, people have nowhere else to go but indoors. This is true also when it snows and the cold keeps people indoors. Each season has times when the weather can affect how we manage to prepare meals. 

In the face of severe weather, one of the disruptive effects people encounter is diminished resources and access to meals outside. People are forced to stay in and cook their meals instead of purchasing or dining out in their local restaurants. Cooking in severe weather restrains them from preparing their usual self-indulgent meals and compels them to stick with what’s available in the pantry – often, the very basic ingredients.

But does it always have to be this way?

When Extreme Weather Strikes the Kitchen

Nobody wants to be unprepared during bad weather. This means doing a timely grocery check and purchasing necessities before the storm lands. But with resources gradually depleting, what should people prioritize buying to last them throughout the storm? According to the CDC Emergency standard, when people don’t know how long the weather will last, they should stock up on a 3-day supply.  Their shopping list should include non-perishable items that can be stored without a refrigerator in case the house loses power.

These foods are helpful when cooking in severe weather and won’t spoil quickly:

  • Canned food (beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts)
  • Cereal
  • Dry crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Tinned Fish
  • Instant Coffee
  • Rice
  • Dry Pasta

These are among the common and preferred non-perishables that most purchase to store for the storm.

Although they’re limited in variety and are the least mouthwatering list of food existing, concocting something delicious doesn’t have to be false hope. Utilizing these ingredients by mixing and pairing new foods and flavors can make cooking in severe weather possible and less taxing. More ingredients, tricks, and recipes for when the weather gates people into their homes are available in Generations of Good Food by Eleanor Gaccetta. She compiles nearly 200 recipes, a mixture of complex and the simplest ones, for families to enjoy through sunny days or stormy ones.

But for starters, here are some of the most straightforward recipes.

Choices to Make While Cooking in Severe Weather

There’s no saying when the storm will stop or how long resources can last. It is important to do some meal planning when the forecast is for bad weather.  Purchasing ingredients according to a plan will make the time spent indoors go by quicker and food will be available.

Chickpea Salad

This counts as a cheat recipe when cooking in severe weather, but this chickpea salad can be prepared without cooking. All people need to do is open a can (or two) of chickpeas and combine them with sliced tomatoes, preferred herbs, olive oil, and lemon juice. This no-cook chickpea salad can be sufficient for dinner or lunch for the whole family, filling their stomachs while not affecting their resources.

Tomato Soup

Nothing beats a warm bowl of soup during the storm. It doesn’t only fill the stomach but also warms people during such a cold day. What’s great about this tomato soup recipe is that it can be easily prepared using only three ingredients: canned tomatoes, cream, and onions. If cream is unavailable, maybe it can even be skipped, and all people have to do is mix tomatoes and onions.

Sardines and Toast

Cooking in severe weather doesn’t have to include complicated mixing and pairing. Instead, people can piece two ingredients together and enjoy a delightful meal. For this recipe, all they need to prepare is a crispy cracker or toast and oil-packed sardines or tuna, depending on preference. This can be a quick breakfast meal and is still adequate for dinner.


People don’t need a luxurious list of ingredients to prepare delicious pasta. In certain situations, they only need cherry tomatoes or canned tomatoes, pasta, and tuna. Pasta is easily achieved by boiling water and cooking the pasta until al dente, while the other ingredients are combined with available oils and herbs for taste. This spaghetti can be perfect for a romantic dinner despite the stormy weather.