Cooking with Gas by
(309 Stories)

Prompted By Floods

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Cooking with Gas

“Now you’re cooking with gas.”,   my grandmother used to say.  I thought of her after Hurricane Sandy hit New York on October 29, 2012.

Although we live uptown,  our proximity to the East River puts our apartment building in the city’s infamous flood zone A.  When Sandy made landfall that day,  rain and river water surged down a ramp and flooded our building’s basement,  the force ripping an oil tank from the wall.  The tank crashed on the cement floor and split,  and the toxic mix of water,  oil, and raw sewage made the building unsafe.  We were all evacuated.

My husband and I moved three blocks north to the Marriott Hotel on E 92nd Street,  and from our room we could actually see our building and some of our own apartment windows.  And from that hotel room a few days later we watched the election returns and cheered as Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney for his second term.

At first our apartment building had no electricity,  no heat,  no working elevators,  no water,  plumbing or phones,  but gradually most services were restored,  and so after two weeks at the Marriott,  we moved back home.  The only thing we still didn’t have was cooking gas,  but our super said it would be back in a week.

On the appointed day I tried the stove – no gas.  “It’s just your apartment line,”. the super said,  “we’re working on it.”

But after another week of restaurant dinners and take-out,  I said to the super,  “To tell you the truth,  life without cooking gas suits me fine!”

”What do you mean?”.  he said,  “Your gas has been back since last week,  haven’t you been trying your stove?

I had to confess I hadn’t.

“Don’t tell my husband.”   I told the super.

– Dana Susan Lehrman 

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Hurricane Sandy, New York City
Characterizations: funny


  1. Laurie Levy says:

    I love how you wove humor into a disaster, Dana. Hurricane Sandy was a close call for you. It could have been even worse, although I agree with you that an extra week of no cooking was a gift. I especially appreciate it after endless days of staying at home and trying to create meals with what we can scrounge up from our freezer or stores depleted of many things.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Great story, Dana. Turning lemons into lemonade — even if you didn’t really have those lemons the last week. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Marian says:

    Love this, Dana. I’ve had anxiety dreams of our refrigerator going out, but you’ve definitely illustrated the lighter side.

  4. Suzy says:

    Great story, Dana, with your trademark punchline at the end. Thanks for giving us a laugh!

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    We had a long-planned wedding in lower NYC about 10 days after Sandy. They had to improvise, but somehow it all worked out (old Brandeis friends, too). But I like your story. Like you, I rarely cook, tho will use my cook top for scrambled eggs. So I need my gas for that. Otherwise, I could go weeks without. But I won’t tell Danny!

  6. A classic Dana story from that perfect opening to your trademark punchline…thanks!

  7. A fun story about a possible crisis with a warm chuckle at the end.
    Our flood occurred when I poured water over the stove top that sank down under the heating coils to short circuit the wiring. We have been waiting for to the a replacement for about three weeks. It still has not arrived. While Anna is off to the East Coast, I am learning to cook corn, oatmeal, scrambled eggs in my microwave. Thank goodness for Chef Google. My daughter is coming up Monday night with a meal! With her company, we will laugh.

  8. Jim Willis says:

    I loved the punch line in your story, Dana. Why ruin a good thing when you’re enjoying eating out? I wouldn’t have bothered to check the gas either! Good story.

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