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They’re getting ready for Y2K or even if Mt. Ranier might erupt

RENTON, Wash. (BP)–The “fun” part is just a bonus.
Cooking with “Lodgepot” Dutch ovens builds community, camaraderie and an element of control over an uncertain future. At least, it does if a recent mid-winter Lodgepot Cook-off here is any indication.
About 25 families from Trinity Baptist Church in the Seattle suburb of Renton have been meeting monthly since last July to discuss appropriate preparations for potential disasters.
At that first home meeting, men in one room talked about generators and being spiritually prepared; the women in another talked about food co-ops and the needs of people in general.
“Y2K was the impetus for this,” said organizer Nancy Montgomery, referring to the date-related computer glitch that might be affected by the calendar changing from 1999 to the year 2000. “But when you think about where we live, you realize there are many disasters that could easily overwhelm us if we weren’t prepared.”
Mt. Rainier is overdue for an eruption, she said, also citing floods, fires, chemical spills, airplane crashes and terrorist bombs.
“I have a 72-hour pack,” said one of about 30 people who showed up one blustery January Saturday in a Renton neighborhood park for the Lodgepot cook-off. “I keep enough warm clothing and supplies in it for three days. If there’s an explosion, I can just grab it and run.”
With just that much preparation, she could not only take care of herself but be able to help others, Montgomery observed.
“This is really what it’s all about,” she said. “If we’re prepared when disaster strikes, we won’t have to spend any time getting prepared. Instead, we can use that time to help others.”
Friendship and evangelistic encounters grow out of helping others, said several at the cook-off.
“This is exactly how Trinity has grown,” said Kathy DuMont. “At first there were just one or two families who homeschooled. But they told others, who came and told others, and now probably 90 percent of the congregation — at least 80 percent — homeschool.”
If there is a connection between homeschooling, thrift and self-reliance, it holds true at Trinity Baptist Church. There was much discussion at the cook-off of how to do more with less. One woman passed out gifts of dryer lint mixed with candle wax dregs that are every bit as effective a fire starter as the commercially produced kind.
Paul Lindberg knows it takes precisely 12 charcoal briquettes to raise the temperature in his grill to 150 degrees. Every two briquettes raises the temperature 25 degrees — as long as no one opens the lid to sniff his wife’s hand-kneaded, stone ground bread and lets the heat escape.
A 50-pound sack of charcoal briquettes sells for about $7, he said. That’s a week’s supply for someone who’s an efficient cook.
Lindberg, a former Boeing engineer and now self-employed, brought a full-size grill to the cook-off. Near him was Gregory DeJarnette, using a charcoal lighter cylinder he’d bought for $25. Its sole purpose was to get the briquettes burning evenly.
Diane Gelotte brought a few flat bricks she’d picked up somewhere, a number 10 can minus top and bottom (in which she first ignited her briquettes) and two stacking Lodgepots.
“This is really cheap,” she said. “My only cost is for the briquettes.”
She made Pineapple Dr. Pepper Beans in the bottom pot; an herb quick bread in the top. Both were done in about 45 minutes.
The cook-off was really more of a “how-to” session for those who had bought the pots when they were on sale at a local store last fall but had not yet used them, Montgomery explained.
It took place outdoors and in January to prepare participants for January 2000 if Y2K doomsayers are correct who say electrical power may be in short supply for a time.
But mostly it was a fun activity, to get people together and to raise their awareness a little bit more about being prepared, no matter what the disaster, in order to be a help and not a hindrance.
“We had a lot of unknowns,” Bill DuMont said. “How hot will it get; how long will it burn; if it would cook and, conversely, would it burn?
“Everything worked fine,” he said. “At the end I said, ‘That wasn’t too hard.'”
His wife, Kathy, agreed. “It’s like going camping, except without having to leave home.”