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People May Say Milk, Bread & Toilet Paper, But None Top My List

The weather outside tomorrow is supposed to be frightening. Snow, ice, gloom of night….the whole deal.

You don’t need the weather channel to tell you this. Just go to a grocery store. For the 11 people in Ashburn who weren’t there around noon, well, we missed you. But everyone else was stopping by to pick up “just a few things” in case we’re snowed or iced in for a few days. You go in expecting to spend $25...but wheel out a cart filled with over $100.

Traditionally, we all make fun of people rushing to buy milk, bread and toilet paper, but that isn’t a need for us these days. Milk certainly is, but it’s not the No. 1 item. Bread is something we tend to buy in bulk when it’s on sale and stash extra loaves in our second freezer in the basement, so it’s doubtful that’s ever an emergency purchase. And toilet paper? Well, thanks to warehouse clubs or Amazon forcing you into a subscription to save another 5 percent, we’re usually closer to having 28 rolls on hand instead of one.

But if there’s bad weather, there are things you HAVE to have. These would be my top 5 products I would feel very bad running out of in the middle of a snowstorm:

  1. Coffee Creamer. Let’s face it, there are millions of people out there who fashion themselves as coffee connoisseurs because they waste hundreds of dollars going to Starbucks. Truth be told, coffee is just an excuse to have something in a cup they can pour some sweet creamy substance over. My vice is Coffee-Mate’s Sweet Italian Cream, and since they make a sugar free version of it, I can tell myself I’m not really doing anything unhealthy when I pour one-fourth of the bottle into a mug of fresh ground dark French roast coffee. I had three bottles in my refrigerator this morning, but with the threat of snow, upped my inventory position to 5 at noon time. Some things are not worth playing around with.
  2. Doughnuts. If the snow is going to create a holiday, then you need to make it feel like a holiday. Ever since I first got married, a snow day meant a trip to Krispy Kreme to reverently peer at the “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign and then go get a variety of two dozen doughnuts. Part of it was due to “because we can” as we bought a four-wheel drive soon after getting married, and there was a certain specialness to being on the road when you shouldn’t be, prevailing against the elements to get a heavily glazed fresh jelly doughnut. And if it got too bad, we always found quite a few local law enforcement folks at the doughnut shop, so it’s not like we were going to end up cold and alone. Sadly, Ashburn doesn’t have Krispy Kreme, so we have to settle for a wide variety of either Entenmann products, or whatever fresh doughnuts Harris-Teeter and Giant have in their cases.
  3. Dog food. Trust me, there is no worse feeling than realizing there’s a foot of snow outside and then looking in the pantry and seeing only one can of dog food. Our pooch is a bit on the spoiled side to begin with, and she’d certainly be glad if we just fried her up a couple of steaks in the interim before the road to the grocery store is passable. But that’s not really a healthy, reasonable options, and she can’t live on pizza crust for three days. So right now we have 8 cans in 8 flavors of Pedigree dog food ranging from filet mignon to New York strip steak, and another 8 tubs of Cesar Classic, also in flavors you would normally find in better restaurants. I don’t know (and never WILL know) if the food truly tastes like the label, but if so, the old pooch has it a lot better than her old man.
  4. High-Sugar snacks. If Little Debbie makes it, we now have it. If there are snowballs outside, we have Hostess’ Pink Snowballs INSIDE. Are they necessary? Of course not. Do they bring back memories of when we were 8 and our moms had us bundled up like the Michelin Man for fear somewhere out in the frozen tundra we might get a chill? Definitely yes. Which is what you want on a snow day.
  5. Hydration. Buying provisions in anticipation of snow is the physically hardest thing you may do all year because all of those drinks and beverages are HEAVY. And if you end up outside a lot shoveling snow and helping out neighbors, most of the time when you come inside all you wants is a cold beverage and 15 minutes of sitting still. So iced tea, Mountain Dew, bottled water, anything that tastes good cold….goes in the basket.

The rest, honestly, we pretty much have because we tend to buy on sale and freeze some of it. This morning I pulled out ground beef, chicken breasts, hamburger buns, etc. that will all satisfy meals for a few days. I have in the past ordered a couple of pizzas the night before a storm when there was a 50-off deal at Papa Johns and put them in the fridge. You’d be surprised how if you put them on a pizza pan and bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes the next day how well they taste. I’d argue the crust is better with the second baking, and the rest tastes the same. So your family can experience take out pizza during a storm when you can’t get to where they’re selling takeout pizza.

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