January 29, 2017 11:04 PM   Subscribe

I went to go check the plumbing at a friends place and have become trapped here with my son. This is a summer house so not much food. Doubt we'll see anyone else up here. What would you do with...

In the freezer is a 2.5 lbs package of boneless chicken breasts that expired 9 months ago and some rolls. There are two cans of "seasoned" whelk in soy sauce, 6 tins of sardines in different sauces and 4 packs of bean thread noodles. A can of potatoes, a jar of peanut butter and a box of brownie mix. There is catsup mayo mustard and maybe a 1/4 lb of butter. The only spices are salt, cayenne and thyme. I know there are walnuts outside. And that's the entire inventory unless we shoot something tomorrow. I'm not kidding. We have to get through 24-48 hours with this.

I've never had whelk. Is it like anything else? The cans are from Korea.

Can you think of anything I could do with the brownie mix? Could it be turned into a drink?
posted by Mr. Yuck to Food & Drink (40 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have water? What are your available heat/cooking sources?
posted by brainmouse at 11:13 PM on January 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

The whelk & noodles sounds somewhat in the range of Golbaengi-muchim, so if you have a stove or a hot plate or something to cook with, those could combine fairly well. Think "Clam/mussel/shrimp" loosely.

Or, for just "I need to keep going", rolling a spoonful of peanut butter in the brownie mix would work.

Potato + butter + mayo and you're good to go there.

I'd hold off on the chicken unless you felt you need to, if it was kept properly frozen they'd be fine but if you can't be sure about the regularity of power there...

Water/heat/cooking sources are your highest priority and biggest constraints, agreed. If you don't have water, that's much more risky than if you needed to go without food for a day or two.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:15 PM on January 29, 2017

Are you ok? Can we help??

Depending on when the chicken was frozen I would probably still eat it. You have the stuff to make some chicken sandwiches or chicken and peanut noodles!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 11:20 PM on January 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

Yeah, the chicken breasts are a bit worrisome - I'd avoid those unless it came down to eating those or eating the kid (joking!).

peanut butter in brownie mix sounds yum! If you have cooking facilities then just make brownies but tbh I'd be eating it as ChrystalDave suggests I may be checking out my pantry after this post.

But unless you really want to embrace being trapped in the wild - and hey, could be fun - can't we send help? I'm sure someone could make a call for you.
posted by kitten magic at 11:20 PM on January 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Brownie mix is going to be basically flour, sugar, shortening, salt, baking powder. You can drink it, I suppose, by mixing it with water and heating it; it'll be calorie-dense hot cocoa with a strange texture from the flour gelatinizing. Probably not actually bad as a carb-loaded hunger-killer. Milk would be better, but you have what you have. Throw a knob of butter in there for a little richness. Baking powder will make it fizzy; don't be alarmed.

However, you can use the butter as a fat for frying the whelk.

Chicken will probably be fine as long as it's been frozen the whole time, except the texture will be less than stellar. I'd simmer it; then save the fat, shred the chicken and serve it with a side of potatoes, as CrystalDave suggests.

Toast walnuts in butter for a snake; salt and cayenne for spicing.

You aren't going to eat like kings, but calorie-wise, you're not in danger for 48 hours, especially if the chicken's good (for an old-chicken value of good).

Concentrate on staying warm and dry, and finding distractions from any hunger pangs. Plan your meals for 48 hours (i.e. ration). Stay hydrated.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:20 PM on January 29, 2017

Assuming you have clean water, heat, and cooking devices...

The rolls can be sliced and used like small pieces of loaf bread to make them last longer. Spread some with a combination of a little butter and the brownie mix and toast/bake for a sweet boost.

You can also treat the mayo a little like oil or butter and spread it on the outside of things that you're going to cook in a pan to crisp up. You can do this with the bread (crispy hot peanut butter sandwiches) but also with the canned potatoes - open, drain, cut into the sizes you want, mix with salt and just enough mayo to coat and put into a hot pan to get crispy bits.

The sardines are awesome. They're great protein and the different sauces will give you variety. For the plainest ones, drain (reserve the juices, you can cook other sardines in it if it's oil, or use to flavor the noodles if it's water based) and mash. Mix a little mayo and a good dollop of mustard. You can spread this on the bread, it'll be like tuna salad. You could also mash the potatoes together with some of the more flavorful sardines and form little patties. Bake them and you've got sardine croquettes. Sardines in tomato sauce if you have them are good if you make them spicy, so you could simmer them with a little cayenne, eat with noodles to soak up more of the sauce.

You can just eat spoonfuls of peanut butter, by the way. Permission granted.
posted by Mizu at 11:28 PM on January 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

I'd chop the whelks and mix them with the cooked noodles, I bet that'd be good. You could also add some peanut butter to the liquid in the cans to bulk it out.

You could do sardine noodles too.

Peanut butter on the frozen rolls as a sandwich.

Also, roll sandwich of sardines with the mayo and mustard, but check the mayo's expiration date.

You could also make sardine salad (like tuna salad) if the mayo is ok, and also potato salad with the canned potatoes. Add the thyme. You could also mix walnuts into any of these.

Mix the butter, peanut butter, and brownie mix, you could make sort of peanut butter balls.

I think, with that many sardines, you should be ok.

(Also... what on earth HAPPENED?)
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:28 PM on January 29, 2017 [5 favorites]

Oh, you could mash sardines and the canned potatoes and then fry them in butter as patties, if you have access to heat.

If you have access to water but no heat, you can soak those bean thread noodles and they will be fine to eat.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:30 PM on January 29, 2017

Assuming you have an oven, substitute three tablespoons of mayo for each egg called for in the brownie mix and bake as normal.

Make peanut butter sandwiches using the rolls.

Take the soy sauce from the cans of whelk and use it to flavor the bean thread noodles.

Or, you know, call for help.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 11:35 PM on January 29, 2017 [5 favorites]

If you're trapped someplace (I'm assuming you're snowed in or something) with a child and not much edible food, that sounds like an emergency. If you can get online to post on Metafilter, can't you contact somebody to rescue you?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:52 AM on January 30, 2017 [38 favorites]

If you have clean water and no one with medical issues like diabetes that require regular food intake to control, 48 hours with a limited (or no) amount of food should be very easily survivable. It'll be unpleasant, but water is the important thing. Unless you're anticipating that you might need to last for longer than that on what you have, it shouldn't be a major issue with what you have.

Also, assuming you have an oven and a vessel to bake the brownies in, butter should be a relatively acceptable substitute for oil when preparing the brownie mix, though you may want to reduce the water and increase the butter a little bit.
posted by Aleyn at 12:53 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

(If the batter requires eggs, upping the water and butter a bit more should make it bakeable, though it'll have an odd texture.)
posted by Aleyn at 12:55 AM on January 30, 2017

I have accidentally drank brownie mix once or twice, thinking it was cocoa, when I was on camping trips and mixed up the two bags of brown powder. Word to the wise: don't drink brownie mix. It's awful.

You can, however, make scrambled brownies in a frying pan on the stove that are quite tasty.
posted by colfax at 1:22 AM on January 30, 2017 [8 favorites]

I have lactose intolerance and forgetful grocery-buying skills so am here to reassure you too: you can indeed make those scrambled frying pan brownies that colfax suggests by mixing them with water.

All the rest sounds pretty good really, nthing the whelks in the noodles. I'm imagining the noodles just cooked in water, strained, and then stir-fried (you can use any type of pot/pan as a makeshift stir-frier) with the whelks and a dash of mustard. Mustard usually has a smattering of fat in it and if you use just the right amount, it will blend with the whelks rather than overwhelm them. It's actually one way whelks are served in France. I would give an amount for the mustard but I live in France and our mustard is very different... the tip of a spoon can suffice for us, but you might need a touch more if it's American mustard.

Taters stir-fried with salt and thyme are friggin delicious. I realized canned taters won't be a delightful texture, but the starches in them will still be around to set off the salt & thyme. Use a bit of mayo, say a tablespoon or two depending on the amount of potatoes, as your frying fat.

I would not eat the chicken since you don't know it's history. You've got good protein with the peanut butter.
posted by fraula at 2:00 AM on January 30, 2017

I thought from the title this was going to be a question about how to escape. Instead it's a "can I eat this" question?

I see you're anticipating someone coming to get you in 24-48 hours but if you can't get out, how do you know they'll be able to get in?

Like seriously I don't mean to nag, and I'm sure you have thought about this, but I would just like some reassurance that you have it covered and we won't hear from you in 72 hours that "our ride couldn't get through - what is the quickest and safest way to lure, shoot, gut and salt a caribou in order to survive the winter?" Humour me, please...
posted by tel3path at 2:35 AM on January 30, 2017 [18 favorites]

Just chiming in to say I've been stuck like this - trapped largely due to an icy driveway at a just steep enough angle up in the Sierras. We couldn't get out, and no one could really get in. There wasn't all *that* much snow, the weather already hadn't lasted, and snowplows were out (plowing and salting) but weren't likely to get to our place for a day or two. I'm assuming it's something similar, which is to say, I'm assuming they really are fine (as long as they don't eat the chicken).

Hoping you guys are ok - this sounds like something that will be a great story after the fact.
posted by jrobin276 at 3:02 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

We have a normal kitchen and water. We were only supposed to be here a few minutes but a tree I can't put my arms around fell across the private road. It's going to take us a day or two of hard work with the tools that are here. I have one of the few vehicles that can get up here in winter. We could walk out if we had to but it would suck and if we left at dawn we wouldn't make it anywhere good by dark. Boy is fit but short.

There is another house we can burgle if it comes to that.

I never would have thought to use the mayo in some of the ways you guys have suggested.

Scrambled brownies for breakfast!
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:35 AM on January 30, 2017 [16 favorites]

I never would have thought to use the mayo in some of the ways you guys have suggested.
Scrambled brownies for breakfast!
posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:35 on January 30 [+] [!]


But seriously, good luck. You have enough food. The sardine and potato croquettes actually sound pretty good to me. Just take plenty of breaks working on that downed tree. Fatigue, cold, and hand tools (or even worse power tools) are a bad combo, but you already know that. Do something fun to break it up. If it were me, I would start a bonfire or something.
posted by Gotanda at 4:04 AM on January 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Just jumping in to say not to eat or drink the brownie mix without cooking it enough to gelatinize the starch. Raw flour cannot be digested.
posted by slkinsey at 4:26 AM on January 30, 2017 [16 favorites]

Please for the love of all that’s holy tell us that you’ve notified people you trust already so that if something goes wrong they’ll send up the bat signal on your behalf when you don’t turn up as promised?
posted by pharm at 5:24 AM on January 30, 2017 [25 favorites]

I'd saute a little peanut butter in butter to make a sauce for some of the noodles. Maybe add some salt and cayenne.

Please don't walk out with a child. That's pretty much how every disaster story starts.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:08 AM on January 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Much experience with summer house food here.

If the chicken has been continuously frozen then you can also use it, the date on it is presumably just the sell by date, and hopefully it was purchased and then frozen last summer. The owner of the place can tell you about that hopefully, since you have communication ability. Some of the flavor/texture may have degraded after that long, but you could simmer some chicken breasts in water to make chicken broth, and could combine broth with the noodles and some of the cut up chicken to make a meal (either more or less soup-like depending on your inclination), and could also add a bit of peanut butter if you want for the sauce.
posted by gudrun at 8:09 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

So after a whole lot of chopping with dull axes smartass came up with the idea of just cutting two tire-wide trenches in the tree and driving over it. The truck is a '63 F250 4wd with high clearance and I think it will work. This is why I keep him around.

We just ate the whelk with noodles and I don't know if it was good or not because we were so cold and hungry. Quite chewy.

Our pants are in the dryer. People know where we are. Heard some Turkeys so there's that.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:13 AM on January 30, 2017 [16 favorites]

Maybe this is a dumb question, but why not tie something to the tree, then to your truck, to pull the tree mostly clear of the road? Your truck's engine is MUCH more powerful than you or the boy.
posted by culfinglin at 10:22 AM on January 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

My hat's off to you and the kid. I think of myself as fairly resourceful, but I have to admit that I would have drained my cell phone battery calling any/everyone for help before I took to that tree with an ax.
posted by she's not there at 10:24 AM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you can't move the tree and there's no tow/removal person in the area available, give the local fire department a call, they might be able to help.
posted by InkDrinker at 10:32 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

We just ate the whelk with noodles

he will be missed.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:35 AM on January 30, 2017 [92 favorites]

Wow, he was more dedicated to the Hannibal fandom than even I ever suspected.
posted by tel3path at 10:39 AM on January 30, 2017 [18 favorites]

It's too tall and the way it fell we'd just be jamming it up against other trees if we pulled it. We were starting to hit softer diseased wood and when we go back in 15 minutes I'm going to try pulling the truck up on it and spinning the chained tires.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:51 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mr. Yuck, why don't you look up the nearest fire station - not the emergency number - and ask for their advice? Even if you don't want to take up their time, they may have some useful suggestions for you.
posted by tel3path at 10:57 AM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Cause they're drunk. Seriously. Another reason I won't say exactly where I am but please keep in mind that it is not my home county.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 11:03 AM on January 30, 2017 [24 favorites]

This is the best question. If only you had 18 lbs of Red Leicester cheese!
posted by The otter lady at 11:05 AM on January 30, 2017 [34 favorites]

Metafilter: I never would have thought to use the mayo in some of the ways you guys have suggested.

Seriously though, the chicken should be fine if you boil the hell out of it. The mayo will make it less dry.
posted by maryr at 11:11 AM on January 30, 2017 [7 favorites]

You can burn your way through the log in a controlled fashion; keep lots of water nearby to keep the fire from spreading left or right of where your cuts are, and clear out dry brush nearby (you'll need kindling anyway). A freshly fallen tree is basically wet wood, at least in the outer rings, so the fire's not going to run away as long as you're keeping watch. If you have snow handy, you can pile snow on either side the the fire will run into it if it goes in a direction you don't want. Burn cuts in multiple places so you can cut the tree into manageable parts.

And then you'll have to cool down the coal-piles that form after your cuts-- you don't need to blow our your tires after all this.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:38 PM on January 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

In addition to cutting divots in the log for your tires, can you add rocks or shovel some dirt to make ramps on either side? Might reduce the chopping necessary to get over.
posted by sapere aude at 12:41 PM on January 30, 2017 [10 favorites]

You can probably also use peanut butter and water to substitute for the oil and eggs necessary to bake the brownie mix.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:48 PM on January 30, 2017

Hope you are good now. This happens to me all the time, but at my own house, so I'm prepared both in terms of a pantry all my relatives make fun of (it makes me look like a prepper) and a couple of good phone numbers. Last time, I seriously thought of having a chainsaw in my boot permanently, but got talked out of it - it's very dangerous machine.
posted by mumimor at 2:14 PM on January 30, 2017

It worked. Grated it down. Spun clouds of sawdust. Wheehee! One of us thought that was fun.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:59 PM on January 30, 2017 [62 favorites]

Thanks everybody!
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:34 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Be free, Mr. Yuck. Be free.
posted by maryr at 10:38 AM on February 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

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