The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread, stones, and ice...

amazonium's picture

Bread, stones, and ice...

I live in northwest Arkansas and we were hit last week with an ice storm that knocked out the electricity for around 200,000 people- me included. My power was off from Tuesday morning until Saturday night and, as the strong independent (hard-headed) woman that I am, I elected to stay in my home with my cat and try to ride it out until the electricity was restored. Thank goodness I have a gas grill with a side burner and had an almost-full tank of propane. I was able to make bread, apple crisp, grill steaks, make brats cooked in beer with caralmelized onions and German potato salad- well, you get the point- nothing stopped me from my passion of COOKING. The bread-baking was a little dicey, and I was beginning to have withdrawals from the house filled with the smell of bread baking when the power finally came back on. I was reared in the country on a farm where we made-do with what we had. My mom's house was drafty and the bedrooms were never heated, so my mom took large rocks and sat them in front of the stove to warm, wrapped them in newspapers, and tucked them under the covers to warm our beds. I was wracking my brain trying to figure a way to NOT have to get into an ice-cold bed when my sister, via telephone, reminded me about the heated rock thing- "Don't you have any bricks or rocks in your yard?" she asked. No, but I do have quarry tiles and a pizza stone- wooooohoooooo! I put them on the gas grill, warmed them, wrapped them in towels, and voila! a snuggly warm bed throughout the night. One word of caution- towels are flammable, and hot tiles can give you hot buns in more ways than one.....Even Alton Brown would be proud of my "multi-tasking." And by the way, I love this website- I have learned so so much in the last year from you guys. You rock. And so do my oven stones!!


dmsnyder's picture

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

Thanks for your story, amazonium. Lots of folks under those circumstances would have just gotten stoned. No bread, brats, or the rest.


LindyD's picture

I admire your creativity and independence.  Great qualities.  

Living for days without electricity sure is an educational experience, isn't it?  

We don't use rocks for bed warmers here (they're all under four feet of snow).  We grind rice, put it in a muslin bag which is sewn closed, and that goes into a flannel case.  Toss it in your microwave for a couple of minutes and you've got a great bed warmer.  Super for pulled muscles, too.  And it won't smash your toes if you drop it on your foot.  ;-)

Paddyscake's picture

how many of us flip the light switch when the power goes off? How many times will you do it before you remember that the power is off? I appreciate your positive attitude during bad weather. I grew up in New England and have weathered power outages during hurricanes and snow storms. A three dog night is a reality, great way to keep warm.. and the group wasn't bad either..if you're old enough to remember  ;   ) 


PaddyL's picture

During the big ice storm of 1998, we had only the fireplace in the living room where all three of us, 3 cats and a rabbit, bedded down for 10 days and nights.  We cooked over the fire, including bannock which was dull but okay with butter.  I admire you for staying in your house; people tried to get us to leave ours and go to a shelter, but we stuck it out.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Live in Northwest Arkansas.  They made use of the fireplace, slept in the living room and grilled outside cutting up tree branches that the ice storm brought down.  Mom said,  "candlelight is very romantic."   I'll bet there were many families that got a chance to "bond" during the power outage working together and discovering different ways of doing things.  Neighbors watched out over each other and helped when needed.  I am especially thankful when people help each other and share with one other. 

Thank You, to all those who needed help and those who helped, even in the smallest of ways, you made a difference. 


summerbaker's picture

I'm going to officially quit whining about the fact that my okinawa spinach and malabar spinach (fake spinach-like plants that can take summer heat) froze when it got down to 18 degrees last night.  I live in north Florida and we tend to get grumpy when the temperature goes below freezing.  We get all put out when plants freeze even after we cover them with sheets.  I feel like a spoiled brat for fretting over ways to keep my sourdough cool enough for slow rises during the summer!