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Monday, September 19, 2011

Let's Get Cookin'

September means many different things to many different people. September signals the beginning of football season (synonymous with the end of “date season” according to my girlfriend). It’s also the time of year that we in the Valley begin to talk--if only at a whisper for fear of jinxing ourselves—about cooler weather and afternoon’s with the front door open.

Here in the Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN) offices, September is better known as National Preparedness Month, an enchanting time of year when Judy, Greg and myself strive to get out in front of the public and promote our preparedness mantra of PLAN, PREPARE, INQUIRE, INSPIRE. In other words, prepare a plan, make a kit, be informed and inspire others to prepare through action and advocacy like joining a CERT team, giving blood or learning hands-only CPR.

Just as September has come to have different meanings, National Preparedness Month is celebrated with the same variety—safety fairs, preparedness presentations, fire drills, school curriculums and cooking challenges. What’s that you say? A cooking challenge?

AzEIN is observing Preparedness Month with its annual just in case arizona Poster Contest and something new for 2011—an Emergency Kit Cook-off If you’re a fan of food or preparedness or both, you’ll want to submit your own recipe based on our 72-hour "black box" of ingredients.

“The Emergency Kit Cook-off is about doing a lot with little,” said Chef Jon-Paul Hutchins of the Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale. “It’s a good challenge for creative home cooks and a hands-on way for youths to interact with the preparedness message. I hope folks take an interest in the cook-off and invent some unique but tasty dishes.”

News from the cook-off will be posted to the Emergency Kit Cook-off webpage and Facebook ( and tweeted ( using the #KitCookoff hashtagSubmissions to both the Emergency Kit Cook-off and the Poster Contest will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 7.

Last year at this time I blogged about a trip I took to Yosemite National Park and the monetary cost of creativity. I included a picture of a flashlight stickered with a QR code and a promise to continue “to transcend traditional ideas … and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods and interpretations.”

We believe the Emergency Kit Cook-off is an result of that promise. We look forward to tasting your 72-hour recipes!

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