The weekend of Jan. 22 through 24, the Reisterstown, Owings Mills, Glyndon area, along with most of the East Coast, saw what meteorologist Tony Pann of WBAL called a "once in a lifetime storm."
Epic storms of the century don't happen all the time. But whenever we see a snowstorm of any kind, my thoughts go back to the days of my youth, when snow days meant a day or more home from school, playing in the snow with my brother and our friends, and Mom's wonderful comfort foods.
Foods are a powerful trigger for people. The smells of your favorite dish cooking can bring forth all kinds of wonderful memories. For me, the smell of French toast and sausage cooking reminds me of snow days as a kid when Mom would get up and turn off us kids' alarm clocks so we could sleep in. Then she'd wake us up with the smell of her wonderfully fluffy cinnamon and nutmeg French toast, the savory smell of sausage cooking in the frying pan, and the wonderful aroma of fresh coffee brewing. Just writing about these amazing smells has my mouth watering and makes me wish my mom were still alive so she could make what has long been my favorite breakfast for me.
Lunch time, of course, would be my personal favorite and something that reminds me of childhood to this day: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bowl of chicken noodle soup with crackers. Even as an adult, this meal is one my all-time favorites and still my go-to lunch; it is definitely a comfort food for me.
For dinner, Mom would make a pan of homemade baked macaroni and cheese or a pan of her baked fried chicken. Yes, I said baked fried chicken. Mom would mash up crackers, corn flakes and seasonings into a bag, skin the chicken and coat it in this mixture before baking it. With it she would make homemade mashed potatoes and glazed carrots, and because she was home as well, she'd bake a cake or brownies for dessert. Cakes, brownies, cookies and other desserts on snow days are truly comfort foods because they are usually baked with love.
Mom's comfort foods are still food items I have in my home for weather events. Things like chicken noodle soup, crackers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, baked fried chicken and, of course, a baked cake or other dessert, are always on hand in case of a weather emergency.
When I hear on the news that storms and other weather-related events are heading for our area, I make sure I am prepared. Being prepared for a storm, whether it's an epic, record-breaking storm or your ordinary one, means having certain things on hand for you and your family. Yes, I know that we Marylanders are known for running to the store for milk, bread, eggs and toilet paper. But, despite the bad rap we get for it, there is some sense to that.
When I heard this storm was going to hit, I went to the store and purchased bottled water, fruit, yogurt, bread, milk, eggs, sausage, chicken breasts, noodles, vegetables, and everything else we needed to be snowed in at home, including things like tuna and peanut butter and jelly so that if the power went out we would have something to eat. Of course, I made sure that I had plenty of cat litter, cat food and kitty treats for my fur babies.
In addition to food, I went to the library and got a couple of books I have wanted to read; I picked up a few movies, as well.
I purchased a bag of ice melt and my boyfriend made sure our snow blower was in good working order and that the snow shovel was out and easily accessible.
I also made sure we had candles and lighters and that the warm blankets were washed and out of storage so that in the event we lost power we had them to keep warm.
I made sure that our laptops were fully charged as well as the cellphones.
Most importantly, I made sure that my boyfriend and I both had enough of our daily medications on hand.
But regardless of what kind of storm comes to the area, even in the summer with a hurricane, I see it as a chance to relax a bit and slow life down with my fur babies and some of my favorite foods.
Terry Chaney is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at