During the ice storm of 1998, we filled up plastic bags with snow and stuffed them in the freezer. When the snow melted, we put in fresh snow. We did not lose any food. Anything that thawed, we ate. We even made jam from some strawberries that had defrosted just so we would not lose them.

When I was a child in the 1940s, we had an ice box that took a big block of ice that had been cut from the river in winter. We kept three big blocks of ice in a clean oil drum, packed with lots of sawdust — over, under and in between each block. None melted, even in summer. Even the ice blocks stored in a big warehouse were packed in sawdust. The blocks of ice were delivered to various customers in town.

So, during a long power outage, instead of throwing food out, get sawdust and use it to keep things frozen. If no sawdust, use plastic bags full of snow. Or, if it is very cold outside, keep stuff frozen on a back porch or somewhere safe outside. That is better than losing everything.

That is what I did when my refrigerator broke down and I had to wait for three months for a new part.

Gabrielle DeMoras, Lewiston

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