Saturday, September 3, 2011

How To Judge a Storm by Your Waffles..or a Goose

I blame Irene.

The extent of my cooking this week was comfort food like spaghetti and sausage and Shake and Bake chicken with Stove Top stuffing. Comfort food that I do not think you need a recipe for. So what to write about for Weekend Cooking?

All in all, we here along the Jersey coast made out fine in Hurricane Irene. Some trees are down, yards a mess, covered in leaves and acorns and branches and some flooding inland, some collapsed houses. But nowhere near the flooding you see in North Jersey and NY State and Vermont. And we were only without electric for less than a day, from Saturday night to Sunday evening.

Still, to start the day without a nice cup of tea...or even a glass of milk...since we could not open the frig and let out that cold air, is shocking. Ok, shocking is a bit strong. But in times of trouble, a warm meal and a cup of Joe can be comforting. Something, it seems, from an article in the Wall Street Journal, the people at the Waffle House restaurants understand. They have a very strong emergency plan to get their restaurants up and running as soon as possible after natural disasters, even if they are without electric.
“When a hurricane makes landfall, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relies on a couple of metrics to assess its destructive power. First, there is the well-known Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Then there is what he calls the "Waffle House Index."
Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.
"If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?" FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has said. "That's really bad. That's where you go to work."”
A recent study found the Waffle House is one of the four companies in the US, along with Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe’s, with the best disaster plan, because when things go bad, what you need is a sausage biscuit and some coffee. Then off to Home Depot for plywood and a pump.
Sadly, we in NJ are not blessed with any Waffle Houses, the nearest being in PA and Delaware.

Here, I judge a natural disaster by the Wawa stores!
Wawa is a chain of convenience stores out of Wawa, Pennsylvania, that are open 24/7/365..except for some stores that close a few hours on Christmas Eve. Otherwise, they are always there, with coffee, made to order sandwiches, ATMs, gas, ice, cold beverages, ice cream...all the essentials of life.
And Sunday, after the storm, the Wawas were closed! Oh my, this must be serious!
If you look in the picture of the Wawa sign, you will see the sign for JoJo’s Italian Restaurant, which is next to my local Wawa and that had their electric back and were open by Sunday afternoon. And I was there, foraging for lunch and cold beverages, and watching people pull into the Wawa parking lot, hoping for a miracle, looking at a rare sight, a locked Wawa door, lights off.

Finally, by the time I got my food and was leaving JoJo’s, the Wawa next door was open and within minutes, their parking lot was filling up. Thank heavens, Wawa is open again and life is back to normal.

A 20oz. Earl Gray and a tuna hoagie with roasted peppers for me!
And maybe a bag of ice.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. I just saw this story on Yahoo yesterday and thought it was fascinating. Who knew you could judge the catastrophic nature of a disaster by whether or not the Waffle House is open.

  2. I totally missed that story -- it really is fascinating. I had no idea some chains were so well prepared for disasters.

    Wawas are a bit east of here, but I know them well. I've never seen one closed. Yay of JoJo's!

  3. Glad to see that you weathered Irene with minimal damage :)

    I hadn't seen this story, and it is fascinating. The closest thing we have to a waffle house is IHOP and we don't have WaWa but we do have 7-11 which is open 24/7.

  4. aww...we have some 7-11s too..but at least ours can not touch the wonder that is Wawa! Lemonade Ice Tea..Hoagie-fest..clean rest rooms for a road trip. the wonders go ona and on.

  5. Come on down to see me - I'll take you to Waffle House! There's one not far from us, but we've never been there.

  6. I love this! glad you weren't hit too badly.

  7. I don't think we have a Waffle house near to where I live. I love waffles though :)

    Also a store that is open 24/7/365 doesn't really exist in the Netherlands

  8. We've never eaten at Waffle House. There's a Denny's next door to it and we love Denny's. I'm going to have to tell everyone we're going to Waffle House next time so I can check it out.
    Here's Mine

  9. I can't believe WaWa's was closed! For shame! Whenever I go with my sisters to Ocean City we have to stop at WaWa's because they carry Berger's Cookies. I can't imagine going through a hurricane, of all things, without them!

  10. No Waffle House in Podunk but we do have a Huddle House. Never been there but it does exist.

    The first time we saw a Wawa was when we visited our daughter in DE. They are all over the place. I didn't realize they sold sandwiches though.

  11. Glad you survived relatively unscathed. Great story about the Waffle House.

    I heard another story last weekend about a family-owned 24-7 restaurant that refused to evacuate because, among other reasons, they had lost the key to the door and couldn't lock up! They ended up serving all the first responders who had to be available during the storm anyway.

  12. and I am sure those first responders were very happy!
    As the articles says, it is not really a money maker for them, it costs so much to prepare, but it is about the community and the good will it creates.

    which I think is very, very smart.

  13. Glad all is well with you after Irene. I love the Waffle House story. I was in Stone Harbor NJ when Irene struck and we were absolutely stunned to find the WaWa there had actually closed on Friday - a first.

  14. I must say, having once lived in Atlantic City, there is no way I would be on a barrier island during a bad storm!

  15. OMG..this situation sounded tense when even Wawa closes briefly. Familiar with those when visiting PA.

    Glad you are ok Caite.

  16. I thought that article was a spoof ... the headline made me think that it would be about shoring up your own house with waffles, or something silly like that.

  17. Loved this post! It's Allsups for us here in Texas - if the Allsups is closed, the world is coming to an end or something! They have the best bean burritos and chicken taquitos to go in the business! :)

  18. Excellent post. I hadn't considered the planning that the stores must have in place. Up here it's more due to winter storms and how to care for the safety of your employees who become trapped at the store. Thanks for sharing this.

    We bought a portable generator 11 years ago and it has come in handy the two times in the winter when we were without power for full days. It's comforting to know it's there when we need it.

  19. It is good to know the preparedness of the Waffle House. We have a Waffle Stop, which does serve amazing waffles, but I'm pretty sure they lack a disaster plan. I'm glad to hear you've made it through the storm with minimal damage.

  20. This is so awesome! Now I really want some waffles, thanks!


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