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There are a few basics everybody should lay in before a likely extended power outage caused by that big hurricane chugging toward the East Coast. You'll need water, batteries, cash, flashlights, board games, and food. But when it comes to that last one, the choices you make will really affect how these next few days pan out for you. If you haven't already gone to the store to lay in your supplies, you're a lot like us. But you can still eat well during the storm. They say to plan to go without utilities for 72 hours, which means you don't really have to rely on canned goods and dehydrated ice cream like some astronaut survivalist (those are probably sold out of the store anyway). Just do a bit of smart grocery shopping and you'll be fine.

Order two pizzas at the last minute. Just before the storm hits, get a big takeout order. Experience teaches us that pizza can survive at least 24 hours (and frequently longer) on the counter without spoiling. Presumably other standard delivery foods are similarly robust. Time it right and you'll be dining on not-too-congealed pepperoni well into Sunday.

Get ready to go raw. A lot of people will tell you to stock up on charcoal so that you can cook on the grill when the power and/or gas goes out. But if you live in an apartment, as so many do in places like New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston, you may not have a yard. Besides, you'll need some vegetables to cut all that pizza you've been gorging on. You can get some good ideas from a raw food site such as We Like it Raw, or even better, download and print the Healthy Hurricane / Disaster Cookbook.

Fresh vegetables are your friends. People in full-on disaster-prep mode are going to be clearing store shelves of canned chili and beans and beef stew. Forget that stuff (you might not be able to heat it up, anyway). Rather, buy fresh produce -- stuff that isn't quite ripe yet so you can keep it around for a few days, and wash it in advance. "After rinsing, wrap vegetables in paper towels before putting them in the refrigerator to absorb any remaining moisture," writes Pete Spotts in the Christian Science Monitor

Stretch your refrigeration. You're supposed to stock up on a gallon of water per person, per day. A good trick to keep the water, and your refrigerator, cold for as long as possible after the power goes out is to store most of the bottled water in the freezer. Then when it stops running, the bottle-shaped chunks of ice retain the cold until they thaw.

Don't forget the obvious. The power will likely go out, but even so, you may not lose your gas, so you might still be able to cook. Get some canned beans and soup to have around. Also, don't forget about pre-prepared things you can eat cold, like canned tuna and chicken, hummus, fruit cocktail. And coffee. For god's sake, make sure you have coffee and, if you don't already have one, a little plastic cone to hold the filters. Unless they cut off all the utilities, you should be able to eek out a cup of Joe. It will do wonders for morale.

Buy beer. If you're going to have to spend the whole weekend inside worrying, you're going to want some beer. So maybe you can't keep it cold after a while. You'll still be glad you bought it.

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