Stormy Weather: A Disaster is Bad Enough, but a Disaster Without Rum? S.O.S.

Boy, that was a doozy. Nothing like stuffing yourself in a closet with five other people plus a dog to put apple pie and mopping floors in perspective. (Of the former: Life's short and I should eat more; of the latter: extremely overrated when your house is about to get blown off its foundation.)

Sirens blaring in the background, reminding me of human's insignificance to Mother Nature, I rushed around the house putting shoes and socks in a bag, then went to the pantry for a few nonperishables. And rum. Then it hit me: How could I be out of rum? What horrible planning! Back in the closet depressed and thirsty, I made myself a promise to never be that unprepared for a disaster again.

Speaking of marriage counselors, Sailor Jerry's rum is ours. And this year the company that makes this spiced concoction is celebrating the 100th birthday of the real "Sailor Jerry," Norman Collins, with three commemorative bottles that highlight the tattoo master's most iconic "flash" art pieces. Mermaids, swallows and a patriotic eagle, all Collins originals, are artistically displayed on the labels of each bottle.Check it.

But, speaking of not skimping, just because we were precariously on the verge of catastrophe, my nonperishable food options blew like the 60 mph wind gusts. I'm not a big fan of canned pork and beans in good times, much less when I'm stressed out in bad times. Which made me think of Ciolo Food's Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese on jalapeño cheese bread, all from Whole Foods. It gives whole new light to safety room snacks.

Since you mentioned rare birds, after my area got the all clear I cranked up the old tele to watch the events unfold to the west. The weathermen had to be exhausted at this point, but I think the control room was downright loopy because the size of hail written on the weather maps went from "golf ball" and "baseball" size to "hen eggs" and "teacups." What? Hen egg? I'd say the hail at our place was more like the Indonesian citron-crested cockatoo egg. And teacup? I suppose that depends on the type of china we're talking about, but I don't think any of my teacups would smash in my car windshield.

They also switched from softball to grapefruit. Oh! Wait! I get it. Duh. They were hungry in the control room. Someone needed a spot of hot grapefruit tea with a bit of quiche, no? For the famished weather watchers, here is some grapefruit tea. I suggest they stock up.

Speaking of beating me down with a big ol' stick, all this reminded me of a Martha Stewart episode I watched about disaster readiness. I must have been locked in a waiting room somewhere because the affluent buffet of hoity-toity crap she put in her disaster bag, which no one I know on this planet would have lying around the house in the first place, was absurd.

And just to entertain you kids, I found something similar on Martha's website. Here's her "Home safety stock up kit."

There's a nice PDF to print out and take while you drive to every gourmet food store in the area to complete the collection. Oh...tired...head. Just to give you an idea, the list starts with anchovies and ends with sun-dried tomatoes. Honestly, how do you figure that in? If there's a disaster and all that I have left to eat is what's in my emergency food kit, I want Twinkies and Dum Dum's (and, of course, the aforementioned pimento cheese and rum behind locked glass). Let's vote, raise your hand if you think Martha needs rum in her kit.

All joking aside, yesterday evening, as this was all popping up, I saw a storm cloud like I have never seen before and it was the first time in a long time I've been really scared. I want to say that we should all take a lesson from Joplin and other cities hit recently. As I write, the tornado sirens are going off right now in Kansas City. But there's just not a lot you can do about a potential tornado, especially in an area without basements. Part of the fear for us comes from feeling like you're a sitting duck. I suppose all we can do is help the victims however possible and be thankful of the roof over our heads.

Should probably go ahead and make a kit too.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.

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