How to brighten up a dinner in the dark

By Vanessa Racine, Canadian Red Cross

A candle sitting by some fruitI live out in the country where power outages are a regular occurrence, especially during the winter. We’ve gone a few days without electricity in the past, and we’ve had to improvise several hot and no-cook meals. Here are some tips for throwing together a safe candlelight dinner.

Make sure your family doesn’t freeze 

I invested in a gas fireplace with a battery backup, which is very useful during power outages. If your heat source is a wood fireplace, never leave it unattended and make sure that the fire is fully extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.

Get out blankets and dress warmly. Fortunately, wearing a toque, scarf and wool socks indoors is on trend for the perfect après-ski look.

Think safety first

Your emergency kit should be full of supplies, such as a flashlight and flameless candles. If you set out regular candles, make sure to keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can catch fire, such as curtains, furniture, bedding, paper and flammable liquids.
A well-stocked emergency kit
The Red Cross recommends having an emergency kit at home and keeping enough provisions on hand to meet your family’s needs for at least 3 days. By taking some time now to stock up on food, water and other emergency provisions, you’ll be able to meet your and all your family’s needs. 
You can also get a kit on the site.
Buying items to put in an emergency kit may seem costly, but it can be done without breaking the bank, and they’ll be indispensable in an emergency.

Stay connected to the outside world
Ideally, your emergency kit should also contain an external battery charger. It’s very useful for charging your phone, which will be an essential tool for staying informed about the weather and road conditions (and keeping that blackout playlist on!).

The art of no-cook cooking
Cooking without electricity is challenging, but don’t even think about cheating by using a charcoal or gas barbecue, camping heater or generator inside! That’s an extremely dangerous fire hazard. You should also try to open your fridge and freezer doors as little as possible to keep your food cold and prevent food poisoning.

In spite of everything, you don’t have to settle for serving your family dehydrated food or cans of peas. For example, Ricardo has lots of tasty no-cook meals on his website.

And if you have a gas fondue set, that can be an excellent way to use up your leftover meat and vegetables. Just don’t forget to keep a small kitchen fire extinguisher handy, and never move the fondue burner when it’s lit!

Learn more about what to do before, during and after a power outage.

Don’t forget to pull out the board games to end the night with some good old-fashioned family fun. We hope you enjoy your time offline if a power outage happens at your home this winter!
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