Snow Day!

Here in Hampton Roads, we have a yearly ritual of preparing for hurricane season. Hurricanes have a fairly long lead time as emergencies go, so there is time to refill medications, get canned good, fill your gas grill, buy flashlights and batteries and bottled water. While many of us use the beginning of hurricane season to do these things, some people wait till a hurricane is on the way causing a rush to the stores to stock up before the storm. However, that is nothing compared to when snow is forecast in this part of Virginia. It is a phenomenon that is unmatched.
Those of you who live in the north, or anyplace where winter snow is a part of everyday life would laugh, yea scoff at the chaos that an inch or so of snow causes in our area. Scores of fender-benders, school and business closings, and excitement way out of proportion to the event result anytime Jon Cash shows a Snow Hope Index over 5 (10 is 100% chance of accumulating snow)

Having set the stage, I have to admit that I was excited when 3-6 inches of snow was in our forecast for this holiday weekend. What can be better than snow when you have no place that you have to go (sorry for you health care workers and others who have to work no matter what!)?

So what does all this have to do with food? Simple. Here in Hampton Roads, a high Snow Hope Index coincides with crowds- in particular at grocery stores and movie rental stores. I have to admit that Saturday morning, as the snow approached, we, too, braved the crowds to make sure that we were not snowbound without something that we just had to have. As we stood in lines that snaked halfway back through the stores, I paid attention to what others had in their carts to give you an idea of what people in Hampton Roads had in their carts to help them prepare for a possible blizzard. here are the things that appeared most:

Milk - have to have that for coffee, cocoa, and to dip cookies in after making your snow angels or to warm up before going out to brave the cold.

Beer - I am not sure if this was inspired by the impending snow or football championship weekend, but nevertheless it was in about half of the carts in line.

Bread - How can you make warm cinnamon toast or a grilled cheese without this?

Soup - Tomato, chicken noodle, and vegetable beef were all very popular

Batteries - Like me I think most people were buying AAs to power cameras (have to take pictures of the snow, which is a not so common event) or, like us, making sure we had sufficient power for our Wii remotes to keep the young savages from getting cabin fever!

Magic gloves - These are the gloves that will stretch to fit (almost) any hand. Many people in this area don't normally have either gloves or boots, so the rack at the Food Lion provides that opportunity. I usually have tons of these in black since boys or girls can wear them and then you don't have to search for the one blue or pink glove, you can always make pairs if you have enough.

Ground beef- Chili, duh!

Snack foods - Also could be affiliated with pro football, but you know it takes a lot of calories to make snow angels or pull a sled up a hill, or shovel the walkway, and besides, snow immediately suspends all diet resolutions until the snow is nothing more that black piles on the side of the road, so nachos, chips and dip, and homebaked cookies or brownies are all fair game on a snow day.(photo, left c/o fringehog on flickr)

Wine - Self-explanatory- Kids off school...stuck in house,...cabin fever....remember all those guys who bought beer?.... they have wives!

Cocoa and coffee - A must-have during cold weather (you may also see a run on marshmallows or marshmallow cream)

Firestarters and Firelogs - Many houses have wood-burning fireplaces, but because our temps are usually, well, temperate, many do not have wood for them. But really, what is better than a fire when snow is falling outside?

So what did we buy? Batteries (camera and Wii), eggs and milk, cheese, wine (to go with the cheese), cocoa, tortilla chips, and chicken parts for 40-clove garlic chicken (recipe in a subsequent post), and a baguette (those of you who have had this chicken need no explanation!) We did not head to the movie store, since when we checked the Redbox ($1/night new release rentals- it is our new favorite!), scores of people had beat us to the punch and no movies that I wanted to see were still there.

So what about you? Whether you face a real snowstorm or would just like to fantasize, what would you brave the crowds to go out and buy?


I would have gotten the tomato soup for sure. Tomato soup and grilled cheese is the perfect snow day lunch. No need for batteries, though, I always have tons from Costco. I would have also gotten lots of water, bananas, and popcorn. Cause what fun is a snow day without popcorn?
katiez said…
The winter we lived in Ireland there was a dusting of snow over the New Year's holiday. The entire country came to a screeching halt. Being from Minnesota we were truly amazed...
Then we moved to the mountains and learned about REAL snow!
C'tina said…
Was a fun day in Tidewater for sure! We did what my husband calls "red neck sled riding"..towing the kids around the yard behind the golf cart on a sled...hold on!! Some of Susan's snickers cookies would hit he spot after sledding...and some Apple Caramel Snickers Salad.
Deborah Dowd said…
Susan-Isn't it funny how you think of so many things you "need" when you are snowed in?!

Katiez- Sounds like we would be right at home in Ireland!

C'tina- We mainly had mud in the backyard, but the last time we had snow, my kids used a snow saucer to make a "luge" run across the yard by packing the snow down and letting it freeze. Then they would get a running start and lie down on the toboggan and speed across the yard! Here in Tidewater, we do what we can!
BC said…
Wine and hot cocoa are essential!
kristen said…
wow...a whole inch! i wish that's all we had here right now, but i think there is a good foot outside my door (not counting the 4 foot drifts where the snow slides off our roof)...and a series of storms supposed to come in for the weekend. although when i do venture out in a snow storm it's probably to get milk (for allyson) or chocolate (for me)..both a life and death situation!!
Deborah Dowd said…
BC- I totally agree (as long as you don't drink them together!

Kristen- I told you that people with real snowfall would be amazed! Wish you could send some of your snow here (Molly would like it during the school week!)
Katia said…
Chocolate, wine, French bread, and butter laced with sal de mer! Great post!
Laura said…
When I was at law school at the University of Virginia we had one of those snows. It was amazing (to a northerner like me) although perhaps the most amazing thing of all was the fact that they did NOT close school and they should have--after 12 inches of snow in an ill-prepared for snow state like VA I have never seen roads so bad! We fish tailed the entire way to our classes!

I mostly just make sure I have all staples--onions, peppers, garlic, chicken stock, milk (for the hot chocolate--you are right about that one), chocolate (because if I ran out without access to it there would be h*ll to pay :) )... oh yeah and where I live a snow storm means I need salt or pet friendly de-icer (depending on whether my dogs have access to the area in question) for making sure my sidewalks aren't totally treacherous!
Margaret said…
What a lovely post Deborah. Where I live here in the UK we don't have snow at the moment (and I certainly hope we don't get as much as you). Everything here goes stir crazy when there is only a sprinkle of snow! Lovely reading about your snow survival kit.
Deborah Dowd said…
Katia- I want to come to your house when it snows!

Laura- I would have thought that Charlottesville would have been better prepared! Great to hear from you and thanks for mentioning the need for pet friendly de-icer- I would never have thought of that and we have two dogs!

Margaret- Great to hear from the other side of the pond! Even though it can be a nuisance, there is something so magical about a little snowfall!
We just had a snow day last week, 7 inches of snow, though two days later it was mostly gone. I live in the midwest where snow is not unheard of by any stretch, but even so people tend to get a little crazy, stocking up as if it were the apocalypse. I think that's part of the fun of it though, knowing that you have a chance to do nothing but nest and make comfort foods.
Becky and the Beanstock
Deborah Dowd said…
Becky and the Beanstock- Thanks for sharng- I am with you on the cold-weather nesting. I find I want to make big pots of soup or chili, bake bread or make comfort foods like bread pudding, or pineapple upside down cake!
Doodles said…
thanks for the visit to our blog......I do not, I repeat do not miss gathering my wits for an impending hurricane that is maybe about to approach. After 23 years in the "Keys" we just don't miss it at all. Dodging hurricane bullets is just not fun!!!

Great blog BTW
Glenna said…
Great list! Love the wine. A must.
Now I know I like you~ I'm coming to your haouse the next time there is a snow!