Every Friday through the end of 2018, the Rant will feature a dish that stands out among Lee County’s restaurant scene. Today’s a little different because you’re under curfew and there’s a good chance you don’t have power. But thanks to your studious devotion to reading the Rant, you heeded the advice of local authorities, stocked up on non-perishable foodstuffs and are sitting in a dark room “enjoying” a lunch of pre-packaged chicken salad and crackers you bought on Monday at Lidl.

Lee County so far seems to have avoided the catastrophic impacts Hurricane Flo is leaving in more coastal areas of the state – here, it’s been some wind gusts and drizzles of rain as of midday Friday – but that doesn’t mean your damn power didn’t go out. No sir. As of 11:53 a.m., nearly 2,000 Duke Energy customers were without power. And it’s not like you want to risk death by drowning or being accused of violating the curfew (still in effect, gang), so you’re probably sitting around realizing it’s just about lunchtime and that your heroic pre-planning means you actually have a number of options that don’t involve opening your fridge and letting out all the cold air. Right on!

THE DISH: Lidl’s Chicken Salad with Crackers is one of the all time classics. For 85 cents, you get 2.9 ounces of chicken salad that’s just creamy and flavorful enough to make you long for the real stuff, like you can get at the Java Express or the Dairy Bar. Elevating the dish to a level of complexity largely unheard of around these parts are six little round crackers that provide a sturdy-but-spartan vehicle for the headlining mayonnaise and meat slop. Don’t expect any of the buttery, salty goodness that comes along with Ritz or one of those little sleeves of captain’s wafers. This is a meal of convenience, and you live in the wealthiest nation on earth and are relatively spoiled compared to someone living in, say, a third world country or something, so I don’t want to hear any more complaints. The whole package comes in at about 220 calories, so it’s a good thing you bought a few of them. Wash it all down with one of those bottles of water you got at the Food Lion in what reminded you of a scene from Lord of the Flies or something. You’ve certainly earned it.

WHAT ELSE TO TRY: What else to try? Well, what else did you get? Lidl offers a tuna salad version of this boxed abomination at the same 85 cent price point, so there’s that to look forward to. That can of pork and beans you can’t remember how much you paid for would seem unappetizing if it was prepared by Emeril Lagasse, so wow, can’t wait to peel the top off that and down it cold. Hmm, here’s a box of Cheez-Its. These will definitely do in a pinch. Oh, hey! A jar of peanut butter. Now you’re talking.

In all seriousness, stay off the roads today if you can. We’ll continue to provide updates with information about power outages, shelter availability, and weather conditions as we get them. If you made adequate plans ahead of time, hopefully you’ll remember this little adventure fondly. Our fingers are crossed for everybody. Stay safe.

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